Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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Poor mental health among homosexuals caused by “lifestyle itself” or “discrimination”?

by Thaddeus Baklinski Wed Apr 04 18:22 EST Comments (33)

MELBOURNE, Australia, April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A study of the mental health of homosexual Australians, called the Private Lives 2 survey, purports to show that the much higher rate of psychiatric treatment sought by homosexuals, compared to heterosexuals, is due to discrimination and lack of societal “acceptance.” At the same time, other studies have come to repeated conclusions indicating that “the male homosexual lifestyle itself” is a primary cause of these mental health issues.

The study, which was conducted online by Melbourne’s La Trobe University with the support of homosexual advocacy group Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, as well as the Victoria state government and the Australian national depression initiative “beyondblue,” was released April 3 by the state’s Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge, and beyondblue’s chairman, Jeff Kennett.

A press release from beyondblue said that nearly 80 per cent of the 4000 homosexual respondents said they experienced at least one episode of intense anxiety in the past 12 months, and over a quarter of respondents had been diagnosed with or treated for an anxiety disorder in the same period.

The report stated that the Private Lives 2 survey was the second of its type that “explored the impact of systemic discrimination on GLBT Australians’ quality of life and their use of health services.”

La Trobe University Research Fellow, Liam Leonard, said, “While the research documents show an increased acceptance of GLBT people and marginal improvements in their general health, it also shows GLBT people continue to experience much higher levels of abuse and discrimination. A likely outcome of this is the poorer mental health participants had compared with the population at large.”

“The most common health conditions among participants were depression and anxiety/nervous disorders,” said Leonard.

The study’s causal conclusions are challenged by other research showing the same high levels of mental health problems among homosexuals in countries where homosexuality has been normalized as in countries where it is scorned.

A study by Drs. Paul and Kirk Cameron of the Family Research Institute in 2007 revealed that there is no difference in homosexual health risk depending on the level of tolerance in a particular environment.

The researchers found that homosexuals in the United States and Denmark - the latter of which is acknowledged to be highly tolerant of homosexuality - both die on average in their early 50’s, or in their 40’s if AIDS is the cause of death. The average age of death for all residents in either country ranges from the mid-to-upper-70s.

Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist and member of the Catholic Medical Association, observed that there is evidence that homosexuality is itself a manifestation of a psychological disorder. Fitzgibbons says the disorder is accompanied by a host of mental health problems, including “major depression, suicidal ideation and attempts, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, conduct disorder, low self-esteem in males and sexual promiscuity with an inability to maintain committed relationships.”

Fitzgibbons said the American Psychological Association, which is known for its support of homosexual “marriage,” ignored the evidence he presented that homosexuality presents significant danger to psychological health.

Dr. Neil Whitehead, a scientific research consultant from New Zealand and author of the book “My Genes Made Me Do It - a scientific look at sexual orientation” said in a paper available on the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) website (http://www.narth.com/docs/whitehead.html) that “Recent studies show homosexuals have a substantially greater risk of suffering from a psychiatric problems than do heterosexuals. We see higher rates of suicide, depression, bulimia, antisocial personality disorder, and substance abuse.”

However, Dr. Whitehead questions, “Does pressure from society lead to mental health problems?”

“Less, I believe, than one might imagine,” he states. “The authors of the study done in The Netherlands were surprised to find so much mental illness in homosexual people in a country where tolerance of homosexuality is greater than in almost all other countries.”

“In his cross-cultural comparison of mental health in the Netherlands, Denmark and the U.S., Ross (1988) could find no significant differences between countries - i.e. the greater social hostility in the United States did not result in a higher level of psychiatric problems,” Dr. Whitehead points out.

“Another good comparison country is New Zealand,” Dr. Whitehead observes, “which is much more tolerant of homosexuality than is the United States. Legislation giving the movement special legal rights is powerful, consistently enforced throughout the country, and virtually never challenged. Despite this broad level of social tolerance, suicide attempts were common in a New Zealand study and occurred at about the same rate as in the U.S.”

“A strong case can be made that the male homosexual lifestyle itself, in its most extreme form, is mentally disturbed,” Dr. Whitehead asserts.

“Remember that Rotello, (Rotello, G. (1997): Sexual Ecology. AIDS and the Destiny of Gay Men. Dutton, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK) a gay advocate, notes that “the outlaw aspect of gay sexual culture, its transgressiveness, is seen by many men as one of its greatest attributes.” Same-sex eroticism becomes for many, therefore, the central value of existence, and nothing else—not even life and health itself—is allowed to interfere with pursuit of this lifestyle. Homosexual promiscuity fuels the AIDS crisis in the West, but even that tragedy it is not allowed to interfere with sexual freedom.”

“Surely it should be considered “mentally disturbed” to risk losing one’s life for sexual liberation,” Dr. Whitehead concludes.

Related story:
Why Isn’t Homosexuality Considered A Disorder On The Basis Of Its Medical Consequences?

Tags: homosexuality, mental health

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New Blood for the Pro-Life Movement

by Rev. Michael P. Orsi Wed Apr 04 16:42 EST Comments (2)

 

NAPLES, FL, April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Ave Maria School of Law (AMSL) recently held two Law of Life Summits, one in Washington, D.C. and the other at our Naples, Florida campus. At a pre-planning meeting a member of the local Pro-Life Council stated how glad she was that some “young blood” was getting involved in the movement. She added, “Some of us are older than dirt and we’re getting tired.” This statement may resonate with many.

The surge in pro-life activity at AMSL is due mainly to the efforts of one man, Royce Hood. Upon his arrival at the school he exhibited great enthusiasm for the pro-life cause. I was personally attracted to him because of his openness and vivacity. During his Orientation Week I asked him to be on my weekly radio show. He told our listeners that his reason for coming to AMSL was because of its pro-life mission. Then he added, “You know, I was born out of wedlock and I’m grateful that my mother had me.”

During his first year Royce joined our Lex Vitae (Law of Life) student organization. He distinguished himself by being present for weekly prayer vigils outside of the local Planned Parenthood. He also attended Lex Vitae’s annual Right to Life trip to Washington, D.C. to protest Roe v. Wade on January 22, 2010. His energy transformed the event! He was a catalyst for student activities connected with the March and gave a stirring interview on EWTN regarding the importance of the event.

In his second year Royce was elected President of Lex Vitae. He brought new zeal to the group. He sang, wrote music and began to expand the membership. One day he came to me and asked if he could have a carnival which he dubbed Vitae Fest. This would be, he said, a fund raiser to help defray the cost of students’ airfare to D.C. for the next March for Life in January. He said this could enable a larger Law School representation at the March. He wanted to fill an airplane with AMSL students.

I once had a pastor who said, “Never stifle initiative.” Although I doubted Royce’s estimates of how much money the event would garner, I felt he should be given the chance to try. After all, I thought, something is better than nothing. He exceeded all expectations and doubled the number of attendees. Royce had proven himself. I’ve never said not to him since.

This is an important lesson for all those in leadership positions─ we have to nurture the next generation. When a young person shows enthusiasm, is willing to accept responsibility and works hard as a grunt for the movement, they should be not only supported, but given a long leash for their energy and creativity. Sometimes they will take you where you feared to go. Or, perhaps even to places you do not want to go. But, quite honestly, while I can identify with both positions personally and as a school administrator AMSL has never been better with Royce leading the way.
There are certain qualities that a leader must possess.

The first is somewhat intangible─ charisma. Royce has an abundance of it. There is something so wholesome, so sincere and so open about him that, as the saying goes, “He lights up the room.” He has been elected to office and honored by his peers. People genuinely like him, young as well as old. So much so that the Naples Pro-Life Council, made up largely of senior citizens, gave him a seat on the Council, that he hopes will transfer to another law school student when he graduates this coming May.

Passion for the cause is vital. Perhaps Royce realized that his unexpected conception after Roe v. Wade put his own life in jeopardy. He is obviously someone who is glad to be alive and wants others to share this wonderful gift of life. Who knows how many others like Royce have been lost to abortion? How many parents will never know their own Royce? How bereft the world is without them! I am personally enriched for knowing him and because of him I love life more than ever. He invites others to share in his passion.

Vision is vital as well. Royce is a practical-romantic; “He sees the way things are and dreams of the way they can be.” He dreamed of bringing together pro-life leaders from around the country in order to form a vanguard for overturning Roe. He wildly exceeded all expectations convincing various leaders in the pro-life movement to gather at the National Press Club for a conference in January of 2012.

His stated goal was to begin to formulate an action plan to overturn Roe v. Wade. He even got the grand-dame and founder of the March for Life, Nellie Gray to appear at the first Summit and she gave the event her blessing. His passion caught on and Summit “2” was held on March 31, 2012, in conjunction with the anniversary of the death of Terri Shciavo. This began the process of establishing a unified voice for the many disparate groups for life scattered throughout the country.

Royce is not just a dreamer, he is a doer. He has phenomenal organizational skills. From lining up speakers, to cajoling other leaders to come on board, to choosing locations, transportation and catering, he is a genius. He has a way of putting an event together that makes everything run smoothly and keeps everyone happy. He also knows how to delegate jobs to others and makes them feel so important to the project.

Lastly, but not least, Royce is humble. He always defers to others. He respects authority and listens to concerns. He never seeks to be the center of attention. He is always willing to promote others to achieve his goals. For example, he uses me for a lot of the media attention his projects require. Quite honestly, he is more articulate than I am, but he knows a “Roman Collar” goes far for a photo-op. To be sure he has added to my fame.

But, I can honestly say, to borrow a line from Scripture, “He must increase and I must decrease.” I am glad to be used by him for this great cause.
Pro-Life leaders must be eager to identify and nurture future leaders. We can’t hold on because we think the movement or our organization can’t do without us or our personal ideas. Times do change and we have to move on. Technology and Obama will get the jump on us unless we encourage new blood to take the helm. This requires humility on our part too! With people like Royce the overturning of Roe .v Wade is inevitable.

Oh yes, one last thing; Royce is a man of prayer. Every meeting, every event begins with prayer. He cultivates a personal prayer life, composes hymns, goes to Mass and loves the Church. He knows that success will only come by God’s grace. His greatest prayer is always one of thanksgiving to God for being alive. At AMSL we join in his gratitude. He is a gift that has enriched all of us.

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Abstinence education reduces teen sex rates, study shows

by Ben Johnson Wed Apr 04 16:30 EST Comments (6)

 
The abstinence-based curriculum delayed the onset of sexual activity.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 4, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – As states from Utah to Illinois debate the content of their public school’s sex education courses, a new study finds an abstinence course reduces teen sexual activity and reinforces healthy attitudes.

Researchers observed more than 1,100 ninth graders in Georgia who used the Choosing the Best (CTB) curriculum in 2009-10.

“Data demonstrated significant impact of CTB at the end of 9th grade on commitment to abstinence, pro-abstinence beliefs and attitudes, intentions to maintain abstinence, and lower onset of sexual intercourse, and at the beginning of 10th grade on pro-abstinence attitudes,” the study‘s authors found.

Drs. Lisa Lieberman and Haiyan Su of Montclair State University said CTB uses “medically accurate” information to emphasize that “abstinence from sexual activity until marriage is the best way to avoid teen pregnancy, disease, and possible negative emotional consequences, and is the best way to help students focus on academic and other future-oriented goals.”

The abstinence-only program delayed first sexual behavior and improved attitudes in only one year, although it is designed as a multi-year program beginning in the sixth grade.

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, told LifeSiteNews.com that expression can be misleading. “When a study reports their findings delayed the onset of sexual activity, that’s how they describe the overall finding as averaged across the entire population they are studying,” he said. “What that may mean is that there are some students who are abstaining until adulthood or perhaps even until marriage. When you average that across a population, the ones who are abstaining and the ones who don’t, it comes across as a later onset, a delayed average.”

“Some kids really do take these messages to heart and do abstain,” he said.

The authors noted girls tended to hold more strongly pro-abstinence views than boys. There was no racial or ethnic difference in onset of sexual intercourse.

“The negative outcomes associated with early sexual activity are much greater at the younger ages and then decline the older a person is when they begin sexual activity. So, there is definite value in encouraging someone who is 13 to wait until they are 16 or 18 or 21 to have sex, even if they don’t abstain all the way to marriage.”

Prior sexual activity most affected the program’s effectiveness. “Among pretest virgins, there was a lower onset of sexual intercourse by the end of ninth grade,” according to the conclusion published last month in the SAGE Open journal. “Among students already sexually active, there was a short-term treatment effect on intentions, but not sexual behavior.”

Lieberman and Su surveyed participants at the beginning and end of ninth grade and again at the beginning of tenth grade. More than one-quarter of the ninth graders who participated were already sexually active.

They recommended the program be observed after being offered over several years, beginning in the sixth grade, when 95 percent of students have not yet had sexual intercourse.

Sprigg said while “advocates of so-called comprehensive education advocate teaching very explicit information about sexuality at very young ages – younger than most kids would even be thinking about sex, I would think by 7th or 8th grade it’s a time when the issue should be addressed, because unfortunately kids that young are becoming sexually active in some cases.”

The study’s success reassured Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA). “This new study adds to 22 other peer reviewed studies showing SRA [Sexual Risk Avoidance] education has a positive impact on student sexual behavior,” she said. “This rigorous research design adds an important exclamation point to the efficacy of abstinence-centered education.”
 
Meanwhile, researchers say the Obama administration stonewalled releasing another report that showed abstinence attitudes positively impact teens. In 2009, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), funded a study of more than 1,000 young people aged 12-18 but refused to release the results until 2011, even following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. It found that parental and peer attitudes do more to shape teens’ views of sex and abstinence than “adolescent exposure to sex and abstinence topics in a class or program.”

“Their anti-abstinence position is just as political, if not more so, than the pro-abstinence position of conservatives,” Sprigg told LifeSiteNews. “The liberals often claim it is conservatives who are anti-science, but when the research and the science goes against their ideological position, they are very eager to suppress the findings.”

“Anyone who opposes SRA abstinence-centered education must be honest in their antagonism,” Huber stated. “They can no longer say that the approach ‘doesn’t work,’ but must admit that their opposition is simply an ideological distaste for programs that encourage teens to wait for sex.” 

CTB has been used by more than three million middle and high school students in 48 states since 1993.

Tags: abstinence, national abstinence education association, peter sprigg, sex-education

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Lack of access to abortion would ‘cheapen’ motherhood, argues Oklahoma anti-personhood plaintiff

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Apr 04 15:23 EST Comments (46)

 
Nancy Northup

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A plaintiff in a new lawsuit challenging Oklahoma’s upcoming personhood ballot initiative has said that such an amendment, by outlawing the choice to kill children in the womb, would “cheapen” the “enormity of motherhood.”

Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights related in an email to supporters Wednesday the words of plaintiff Heather Hall, who with five other Oklahoma citizens joined the suit launched by the prominent pro-abortion group last Thursday in the state Supreme Court.

Hall described how she considered aborting her child after she learned of own mother’s death. Although ultimately opting against abortion, Hall testified that merely knowing she could legally escape the stress of carrying her child at that time “saved my sanity.”

“I chose both of my children, and taking that choice away only cheapens the risks, the pain, the enormity of motherhood,” said Hall, according to CRR.

“We agree,” Northup added in the email.

“Make no mistake—this initiative seriously threatens the rights, life, and health of all Oklahoma women. It’s a violation of our constitutional rights, and we will fight with all our might to make sure it never gets on the ballot.”

The ballot initiative in question would enshrine in the state constitution the personhood of human beings from the moment of conception. Backers of the initiative will need to collect 155,000 signatures in support of the amendment by the end of May to secure a place on the November ballot.

Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, said the lawsuit was not a surprise, according to NewsOK.com.

“The opponents of personhood will stop at nothing to deny the people of Oklahoma their First Amendment right to petition the government on behalf of the preborn and ultimately recognize the most basic and fundamental human rights of the smallest and most defenseless people group,” Mason said.

Tags: mandate, obamacare

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Pro-lifers rally outside Brazilian high court as it weighs allowing eugenic abortions

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Wed Apr 04 15:10 EST Comments (0)

April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Demonstrations by the pro-life organization Brazil Without Abortion have begun outside of the Supreme Federal Tribunal of Brazil as the date approaches for a decision on permitting abortions for anencephalic babies.

Defenders of the unborn are deeply concerned about the case, which will be decided by ministers largely appointed by leaders of the pro-abortion Labor Party. The final vote is scheduled for April 11.

“I don’t see the possibility of a victory for life in the upcoming vote,” Brazilian pro-life activist Julio Severo told LifeSitenews.com, “not because I am a pessimist, but because one of the ministers has already declared that those who defend abortion for babies suffering from anencephaly will have a big victory.”

Severo also noted that all of the Supreme Federal Tribunal’s 11 ministers were appointed by pro-abortion presidents, and observed that “there are powerful government forces pushing for legal abortion.”

The case, which has been on hold since 2008, will be overseen by an openly pro-abortion minister who has stated publicly that he regards the case as a “hook” for entering into a wider examination of abortion and euthanasia as a “right.”

In an interview with Veja magazine that year, in an office surrounded by Catholic sacred images, Supreme Tribunal Minister Marco Aurélio Mello said “the topic of anencephaly is a hook for discussing more extensive and borderline situations.”

“In my opinion, cases of interruption of the gestation of an anencephalic and those of abortion in a more extensive form, when the pregnancy is not desired, have an important point in common: the right of the woman to decide about her own life,” said Mellow who added that “the principle that is at stake in these situations is the right to liberty.”

Babies with anencephaly are partially or completely lacking in upper brain matter, and are born with a large opening at the top of their skulls. The rarely survive more than week after birth, although some have lived for several months with the condition.

Although they are often regarded as lacking any mental activity, the testimony of parents of anencephalic babies often contradicts this perception.

A Brazilian girl, Marcela Ferreira, lived 20 months outside the womb with anencephaly, from 2007 to 2008. Despite the absence of most of her upper brain matter, she sucked her thumb, cried for her mother, and responded to other family members.  Her behavior was so contrary to conventional wisdom on anencephaly that it led at least one physician to deny that she had the condition, despite a diagnosis by multiple doctors.

Various pro-life organizations reportedly plan to begin a prayer vigil at 6 pm on April 10 in the Plaza of the Three Powers in front of the Supreme Federal Tribunal, which will last until all ministers have voted the following day, according to the Catholic news service ACI Digital.

ACI Digital also reports that on the same day, a pro-life Twitter campaign will be directed to the Tribunal, whose address is @STF_oficial, with the hashtags #anencefalo and #avidaporumfio.

Tags: anencephaly, brazil, eugenics, julio severo

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Gvmt minister rebukes bishops on Catholic sexual teaching: ‘You’re not allowed to do that anymore!’

by Patrick B. Craine Wed Apr 04 14:27 EST Comments (170)

 
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty with MPP Glen Murray (right)

TORONTO, Ontario, April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Catholic schools will no longer be allowed to teach the Catechism’s doctrine that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” says a cabinet minister in Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government.

As politicians debated a bill that would force Catholic schools to launch gay clubs on March 29th, Member of Provincial Parliament Glen Murray (Toronto Centre) lashed out against Ontario’s bishops over Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

“I have to say to the bishops: ‘You’re not allowed to do that anymore,’” said Murray, an open homosexual who serves as McGuinty’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, according to the Hansard transcript.

“I’m not allowed to say to the Catholics—nor should I—or to other Christians or Muslims or Jews, that because of your faith you’re intrinsically disordered,” he continued.

“I would never say to you that anything that goes on in your family with the person you love—can you imagine me describing a husband-and-wife relationship as inherently depraved?” he added.

Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Catholics said Murray’s comments “amount to a declaration of war against the Catholic Church and all people who support traditional moral values.”

“We’ve been saying all along that McGuinty wants to dictate what the Church can teach in its schools and here it is straight from the government’s mouth,” Dominic added.

Murray made the comments in a debate on Bill 13, known as the Accepting Schools Act, which seeks to impose tougher consequences, including expulsion, for “bullying and hate-motivated actions,“ but has been largely framed around the issue of homosexuality.

The bill requires all schools, including the publicly-funded Catholic schools, to start clubs for homosexual students, which can be called “gay-straight alliance or another name.”

Over 2,000 parents and concerned citizens rallied outside Queen’s Park last Thursday calling for the bill’s defeat.

Pro-family advocates charge that gay-straight alliances encourage the normalization and affirmation of the homosexual lifestyle, and promote homosexual activism by tying youth into a cross-continent network of activists.

And Ontario’s Catholic bishops have opposed the controversial clubs, saying they encourage early self-identification as homosexual, and have instead begun setting up a network of clubs under the name “Respecting Differences”.

The anti-bullying bill follows a year-long campaign to force gay-straight alliances on the Catholic schools, but activists have nevertheless been dissatisfied, charging that the bill stops short of forcing the GSA name.

As a result, Ontario’s New Democratic Party has promised an amendment that would require schools to use the name “gay-straight alliance.”

Despite Murray’s statement that the bishops are “not allowed” to teach Catholic teaching on homosexuality, in the same speech at the legislature he said: “There’s no one here that’s suggesting that we shouldn’t teach a Catholic perspective in our schools.”

“It is about celebrating diversity. It isn’t about taking Catholic teaching out of Catholic schools,” he continued. “It’s about putting life-affirming, positive images and stories around gay and lesbian children, Muslim children, kids and women of all shapes.”

Murray’s comments are the most clear public statement from the government thus far that it intends to forbid Catholic teaching on homosexuality in the Catholic schools. The right of Ontario’s Catholic schools to receive public funding while imparting the Catholic faith is guaranteed under Canada’s Constitution.

In January 2010, a Ministry of Education spokeswoman had refused to answer direct questions from LifeSiteNews as to whether the government’s “equity and inclusive education strategy” would be used to forbid the controversial Catholic teaching.

In April 2011, another Ministry spokesperson said the mandatory homosexual clubs could not help students to “reform their sexuality.”

In the fall, former Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne said the education system is the government’s “single most important” avenue to tackle “homophobia.” She said she was “very disappointed” by the refusal of Catholic school boards’ to allow gay-straight alliances but that she expects the boards “will all come around.”

Current Minister of Education Laurel Broten has labeled opponents Bill 13’s pro-family opponents as “homophobic.”

In December, Murray said that by 2013 all prospective teachers in the province, both for the Catholic and public school boards, will be required to undergo focused training in “sexual orientation” and “gender diversity.”

Premier Dalton McGuinty, who identifies himself as a Catholic, has said that he aims to change the province’s “attitudes” on homosexuality, noting it’s a process that “should begin in the home.”

LifeSiteNews.com did not hear back from Glen Murray by press time.

Contact Information:

Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Fax: (416) 325-3745
E-mail: Use this form.

Tim Hudak, Opposition Leader
The Ontario PC Party
19 Duncan Street
Suite 401
Toronto, ON M5H 3H1
Phone: 416-861-0020
Toll-free: 1-800-903-6453
Fax: 416-861-9593
Email: tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org

See related stories:

Spirited, diverse crowd at Ontario Legislature demands Bill 13 defeat

Video: Ontario Bill 13 rally outrage

Ontario faces ‘years of litigation’ if McGuinty’s anti-bullying bill passes: Evangelicals

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Vienna Cardinal overrules priest who barred open homosexual from parish council

by Patrick B. Craine Wed Apr 04 13:23 EST Comments (37)

 
Cardinal Christoph Schöenborn of Vienna

VIENNA, Austria, April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After the Archdiocese of Vienna initially seemed to back a parish priest’s decision to block an open homosexual from serving on parish council, Cardinal Christoph Schöenborn has stepped in to overrule the priest.

Cardinal Schöenborn says he had at first planned to support the priest, but reconsidered after a lunch meeting with the man, Florian Stangl, and his homosexual partner, with whom Stangl lives in a registered domestic partnership.

“I always ask myself in these situations: How would Jesus have handled it? He first saw the person,” he said, according to ORF.at.

The prelate said he has made “a decision for the people,” noting that after the meeting, he understood “why the parish gave him the most votes, because he is really impressive.”

“I think this young man belongs there and so I have taken responsibility for this,” he added.

Stangl, 26, had received 96 out of 142 votes in a recent election for the parish in the small community of Stützenhofen, but parish priest Father Gerhard Swierzek reportedly told Stangl the night before the election that the young man’s candidacy was not possible according to Church Law since he was publicly living a life contrary to Biblical values.

Normally candidates for parish council in the Archdiocese of Vienna are required to sign statements affirming their commitment to Church teaching, but that did not happen in this instance.

Father Swierzek emphasized in an interview with Kurier that he personally had no negative feelings towards the young man, but that his candidacy was simply not possible according to Canon Law.

Though parishioners pledged a fight on behalf of Stangl, the Archdiocese had initially seemed to support the priest.

In a statement, they affirmed that the “the magisterium of the Church has spoken unambiguously against homosexual civil unions,” and that parish council members are obliged to maintain a “commitment to the doctrine and the order of the church.”

Michael Prüller, spokesman for the Archdiocese, told LifeSiteNews at the time that they were investigating the incident and would seek a fair solution.

Cardinal Schöenborn then issued a statement March 30th thanking the many candidates for parish council. “Their diversity reflects the diversity of modern ways of life and faith,” he said.

“Thus even among the parish council members there are many whose lifestyles are not in accordance with the Church’s ideals in every respect,”  the prelate continued. “Considering their particular life witness and their effort to live a life of Faith, the Church is pleased with their commitment. This does not call the ideal into question.”

“In the personal conversation which I was able to have with Mr. Stangl, I was very impressed with his devout attitude, his modesty, and his lived readiness to serve,” the Cardinal wrote.

He goes on to report that the Bishop’s council had discussed the “complex case” and decided, first, that they make “no objection” to the election result, and second, that they will issue an instruction with a more precise explanation of the requirements for candidacy on parish council.

When the incident broke, Stangl told reporters that he made a point of living his homosexual relationship publicly in his small town. “After we closed our partnership before the authorities, we invited more than half the town to our home for a feast,” he explained.

Some parishioners told reporters that if their choice of Stangl was not honored, they were prepared to provoke an uprising.

Fr. Swierzek had also asked Stangl to refrain from receiving Communion, leading the young man to remark that he feels the priest has “discriminated against” him.

Contact:

Cardinal Christoph Schöenborn
Archbishop of Vienna
e-mail

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
His Eminence William Joseph Levada, Cardinal, Prefect
His Excellency Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., Secretary
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
Telephone: 06.69.88.33.57; 06.69.88.34.13
Fax: 06.69.88.34.09
E-mail: cdf@cfaith.va

Congregation for Bishops
Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
Roma, Italia
00193
Phone: 06.69.88.42.17
Fax: 06.69.88.53.03

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Chuck Colson in critical condition after brain hemorrhage – prayers urged

by John-Henry Westen Wed Apr 04 13:06 EST Comments (14)

 

WASHINGTON, DC, April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Evangelical leader and frequent life and family spokesman Chuck Colson is in critical condition in hospital after undergoing surgery this weekend.  He was hospitalized Friday after enduring a brain hemorrhage while speaking in Virginia at the Wilberforce Conference.

Colson underwent surgery on Saturday morning to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain.

“We believe that we serve a mighty God - the ‘Great Physician’ - and are hoping and praying for Chuck’s full recovery. When I visited him yesterday, I was encouraged to see that as we prayed, Chuck was responsive,” said Prison Fellowship Ministries CEO Jim Liske.

Penny Nance, President and CEO of Concerned Women for America, said in an email comment to LifeSiteNews: “We are praying that God grants him a full recovery. Chuck is one of the most influential Christian leaders of our time; he has influenced everyone from prisoners to business leaders, thought leaders, and politicians. CWA staff is lifting him up in prayer.”

Brad Mattes of the Life Issues Institute told LifeSiteNews that Colson “has been a shining example of where a Christian needs to be on the critical life issues and other moral and faith issues.”  He added, “Our prayers are certainly with Chuck and his family.”

“Colson is listed in critical condition at this point but has shown some early signs of potential for recovery,” said Michelle Farmer, Colson’s spokesperson.

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European Court to consider ‘unprecedented’ number of abortion cases in coming months

by Patrick B. Craine Wed Apr 04 11:16 EST Comments (1)

STRASBOURG, France, April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) currently has before it an unprecedented number of cases relating to abortion. Because the principles established by the Court in its case law are binding on the 47 member states, the next few months will be decisive for the respect of human life and dignity. The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), which intervenes as a third party in many of these cases, wishes to draw attention to these very important cases.

Among the cases that the European Court must now judge on, there is the case of a Polish mother who complained of difficulties in obtaining permission for her minor daughter to have an abortion. There is also the case of a woman who died during pregnancy, (allegedly) due to conscientious objection exercised by doctors. In another case, a woman who became sterile following an abortion complained of not having been properly informed of the risks. In two other cases before the Court, the women who gave birth to children with disabilities complain of not being able to have abortions. Finally, on a related topic, the Court also has before it a case involving a ban by the Italian legislature of pre-implantation diagnosis.

The ECLJ submitted its written observations on 2 April in the case of Anita KRŪZMANE against Latvia (n° 33011/08) in which a mother complains of not having been able to abort her Down’s syndrome daughter. She alleges in particular that her doctor had breached an obligation to prescribe a screening test for Down’s syndrome. Pretending the existence of a direct causal link between the absence of testing and the birth of her daughter with Down’s syndrome, the applicant claims to have suffered a violation of her right to respect for private life, a private life which includes—according to the applicant—the right to decide to have an abortion. In summary, it is a question of whether or not eugenics has become a human right.

This claim—which attempts to make eugenics a human right—may seem crazy. However it did not immediately shock the Court, otherwise the application would have been rejected for not complying with the eligibility criteria, or for abuse of rights, because, under the Convention, “no one may use the rights guaranteed by the Convention in order to seek the abolition or restriction of those rights” (art. 17). There is no doubt that the KRŪZMANE case and other cases now pending before the court are used strategically to try to advance the “rights” to abortion and eugenics. Eugenics, like abortion, is in danger of becoming a social normality; those who still see the inhumanity of these practices are becoming increasingly rare. In fact, postmodernism creates the inhumanity of post-humanity, and eugenics is one of the instruments of this post-humanity which aims at surpassing the human nature.

To assist the Court—which is faced with the danger and complexity of these cases—the ECLJ attempted to emphasize in its written observations the situation and stigmatization of people with disabilities. It also endeavors to highlight the true foundations and requirements of human rights and bioethics, with regard to respect for human life, the purpose of medicine and the prohibition of eugenics.

In the coming months, the European Court will have responsibility for defining, for the 47 member states, much of the legal framework of abortion and family issues such as eugenics and conscientious objection. This legal framework will bear the moral prestige of the Court. This responsibility is significant because the Court is conducted at developing these jurisprudential rules largely outside the framework of the Convention, as abortion and eugenics are contrary to the Convention, as it was conceived, written and intended by its authors. Indeed, there is no doubt that in 1950, just after the Second World War, the drafters of the Convention condemned those practices as inhumane, and it was inconceivable to them that some would one day claim that they are human rights.

Faced with a society that largely tends to deny the value and humanity of preborn life in favor of ending or exploiting it, the Court interpreted the European Convention on Human Rights in a manner that tolerates the practice of abortion while expressly denying the existence of an alleged right to abortion. While some “bioethical” authorities lobby for the legalization of “postnatal abortion”, the Court would fail in its mission by leaving the unborn child completely unprotected.

For the ECLJ, it is clear that the Court (which received from the Member States its duty of guaranteeing the fundamental rights of “all people”), should set limits to those practices, particularly with regard to late abortion (after the viability threshold) and selective abortion based on the characteristics of the child, including genetic characteristics (the sex and health status of the child). In its observations, the ECLJ has shown that the international law and the European Convention protecting prenatal human life do not create a right to abortion, but, instead the State has the positive obligation to protect life, including prenatal life. Even when a state permits abortion, it remains subject, in respect of the Convention, to the positive obligation to protect life and preserve the rights and competing interests. The State must thus, for example, prevent such stigmatization of people with disabilities and their families, protect the freedom of parents to not abort, make effective the prohibition of eugenics and genetic discrimination, respect the therapeutic purpose of prenatal diagnosis, respect the right to conscientious objection by medical personnel, etc.

These coming months will be decisive for the respect of human life and dignity. The Court will also have to rule on cases concerning euthanasia and “surrogate mothers”. The European Court of Human Rights has its roots in modern and humanist culture. Such applications invite the Court to sever these ties and to embrace the illusion of post-modernity, and with it, inhumanity. The danger is serious, because a “Court of Human Rights” that would recognize and protect abortion, eugenics, euthanasia and the practice of surrogacy would simply become inhumane.

Grégor Puppinck is the Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice.

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Secularism with the gloves off: Vanderbilt U’s assault on religious groups

by Albert Mohler Wed Apr 04 10:59 EST Comments (4)

April 2, 2012 (AlbertMohler.com) - Like most of America’s historic private universities, Vanderbilt University was founded by Christian believers for the purpose of inculcating Christian beliefs in its students. Vanderbilt was founded in the 1870s by Methodists and later funded largely by New York’s Vanderbilt family.

Within a remarkably short period of years, Vanderbilt had forfeited its conservative Methodist roots in order to identify with the emerging secular consensus in American higher education.

As Notre Dame’s James Tunstead Burtchaell explained, Vanderbilt serves as a case study in the secularization of American higher education — a process Burtchaell described as the “disengagement of colleges and universities from their Christian churches.” Just a few decades after its founding, Vanderbilt had transformed itself into a secular university, embarrassed by its Christian founding.

As Burtchaell made clear, this was not due to demands for secularization from outside the university. It was accomplished under the direction of liberal Protestants who desperately wanted to identify with the secular elites.

Well, if that was Vanderbilt’s goal, the university has been stunningly successful.

It is unlikely that many of Vanderbilt’s students and faculty know anything of the university’s Christian history. If they do, it would be cause for further embarrassment, mixed with relief that the university is now safely in liberal and secular hands.

In more recent months, Vanderbilt’s administration decided to push secularism to the extreme — launching a virtual vendetta against religious organizations on campus. Officials of the university informed religious groups that had been recognized student organizations that they would have to comply with an absolute non-discrimination policy. This means that religious organizations (primarily Christian) must now allow any Vanderbilt student to be a candidate for a leadership office, regardless of religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

In other words, a Christian student group would be forced to allow the candidacy of an atheist. A group of Christians who believe in the Bible’s standard of sexual morality would be required to allow the candidacy of a homosexual member. There can be absolutely no discrimination, the university insists, even if that means that Christian organizations are no longer actually Christian.

In reality, that is the aim.

The university is embarrassed again — this time by the mere presence of Christian organizations on its campus. It will deal with that embarrassment by eliminating the right of Christian organizations to operate on Christian principles. It will impose its own Stalinist definition of tolerance and freedom and deny the right of Christian students to participate in recognized campus organizations that can remain authentically Christian.

The provost of the university recently defended the policy, stating that student organizations may elect their own leaders, but may not disqualify any candidate based on, among other things, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

Last week, the largest Roman Catholic student organization, Vanderbilt Catholic, announced that it will leave the university. In an open letter explaining their decision, the group stated:

“As Catholics we believe that faith in Jesus Christ and the truths that He has revealed to us through the Catholic Church are fundamental to our identity as Catholics and our mission in this life. Likewise, as a Catholic student organization, Catholic faith and practice precede all else that we do.

“We are an open and welcoming community that people of all faiths can join, but we require our leaders to share this Catholic faith and practice. A student group led by those who do not share these things might be a very worthwhile and beneficial organization, but it would not be Catholic in the fullest sense of the word.

“These faith-based requirements for leadership are as important to the integrity of our organization as musical range is for a choral group.”

Will evangelical Christian organizations reach a similar decision? The next few weeks will reveal the answer to that question. In the meantime, leaders of those evangelical groups should look to the Vanderbilt Catholic statement as an example of courage, candor, and specificity.

Leaders of Vanderbilt University, on the other hand, should be equally honest as they explain their draconian policy. The issue is not really tolerance. If so, the university would have to deal with the most intolerant and exclusivist organizations on campus –the recognized fraternities and sororities. As David French of National Review has argued, those recognized student organizations are allowed to discriminate on any ground at all, including appearance and wealth.

As French stated:

The reality, of course, is that Vanderbilt is trying to force the orthodox Christian viewpoint off campus. The ‘nondiscrimination’ rhetoric is mere subterfuge. How can we know this? Because even as it works mightily to make sure that atheists can run Christian organizations, it is working just as mightily to protect the place and prerogatives of Vanderbilt’s powerful fraternities and sororities — organizations that explicitly discriminate, have never been open to ‘all comers,’ and cause more real heartache each semester for rejected students than any religious organization has ever inflicted in its entire history on campus.
Vanderbilt’s embattled religious organizations welcome all students with open arms; Vanderbilt’s fraternities and sororities routinely reject their fellow students based on little more than appearance, family heritage, or personality quirks.

David French’s most important point is his first — that Vanderbilt’s real agenda is to force any orthodox Christian viewpoint off campus.

What we see at Vanderbilt University is secularism with its gloves off. In the name of tolerance, it will not tolerate orthodox Christian conviction. The university now comes full circle and forces off campus the only organizations that hold to the Christian beliefs of the school’s founders.

Look carefully at Vanderbilt’s intolerance. Be assured that it is coming soon to a campus near you.

This article reprinted with permission from www.albertmohler.com

Tags: albert mohler, vanderbilt university

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Brazilian Catholic bishop sues ‘Catholics for the Right to Decide’ for ‘moral damage’

by Matthew Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent Wed Apr 04 10:04 EST Comments (9)

 
Bishop Luis Gonzaga Bergonzini

April 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Brazilian Catholic bishop has filed a $328,000 lawsuit against “Catholics for the Right to Decide,” the Brazilian version of America’s “Catholics for Choice,” for moral damage due to the misleading use of the name “Catholic.”

He has also begun a campaign to establish a congressional investigation into the funding and activities of prominent pro-abortion groups, which he claims are supported by foreign foundations with a population control agenda.

Luis Gonzaga Bergonzini, Bishop Emeritus of Guarulhos, Sao Paulo, filed the lawsuit on March 21, following a pro-life rally outside of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Sao Paulo that attracted over 100 people. Bergonzini had called for the rally on his blog and email list, for the purpose of advocating the creation of Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry (CPIs) to investigate pro-abortion groups.

“Brazilian parliamentarians cannot wait any longer,” Bergonzini wrote on his blog in a post announcing the rally in mid-March. “The international funding and murderous and hidden interests behind the campaign in favor of abortion can’t be hidden any longer.”

“We need ‘truth commissions’ to GIVE LIFE to people and NOT DEATH.  The Senate and the Federal Chamber [of Deputies] can create CPIs. The state legislative assemblies and the city councils can create CPIs to investigate abortionist entities headquartered in their states and municipalities,” added Bergonzini.

Observing that “billionaire international capitalists” including the Ford Foundation and Warren Buffett, are funding such causes internationally, the bishop affirmed that “it is necessary to discover how (if legally) and who is sending, who is receiving, and prohibit this type of activity aimed at slaughtering Brazilians. It’s necessary to confiscate that money and spend it on health care. Ask yourself: CAN WE ALLOW INTERNATIONAL MONEY TO KILL BRAZILIANS?”

The agenda of such groups is “Nazism, prejudice, and discrimination,” wrote Bergonzini, adding that “the abortionists are followers of Hitler. They want to create a pure Brazilian race, without children from poor families. ” Bergonzini contended that their activities fall under the legal rubric of “genocide” as defined in Brazilian law as actions undertaken “with the intention of destroying, completely or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group” by means of “imposition of measures to impede births…”

Brazilian pro-life activist Wagner Moura told LifeSiteNews that “it is more than time to unmask” Catholics for the Right to Decide so that “Brazilian people know they’re nothing but pro-abortion and do not have the support of the majority of Brazilian people.” The group, he added, uses “the name ‘Catholic’ to promote confusion” regarding Catholic teaching on abortion, which condemns it as a grave sin.

Bishop Bergonzini was given the Von Galen Award by Human Life International in 2011 for his work on behalf of the unborn.

* Note: See the most downloaded of all LifeSiteNews documents “The Inherent Racism of Population Control,” in Spanish and English, as well as the all-important, previously classified U.S. government document NSSM 200.

Tags: abortion, brazil, catholics for choice

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‘Humility is the key to unity in the pro-life movement’ say leaders at Lex Vitae Summit

by The Editors Wed Apr 04 07:29 EST Comments (7)

 

NAPLES, FL, April 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The ‘Lex Vitae’ or Law of Life Summit which took place at Ave Maria School of Law on the weekend, saw a flurry of activity including a personhood debate, talks from pro-life leaders, the Terri Schiavo Memorial Mass, a pro-life race for life, the closing ceremony for 40 Days for Life, and the second annual ‘vitae fest’ complete with a bounce house, dunk tank and pony rides.

Pro-life leaders who gathered for the summit at the Catholic law school on Friday stressed that unity in the pro-life movement requires humility from all those involved.  Discussion noted that the wide variety of initiatives in the pro-life movement can be a source of division if those involved in particular measures deem their activities all-important while belittling the different works of others. 

The key, said several leaders present, is to be humble enough to respect that initiatives different from one’s own are nevertheless also geared to protecting life.  Should there be disagreement over tactics, apart from gravely harmful approaches, concerns should be passed along privately without public detraction.

The Law of Life Summit saw leaders represent many such initiatives, including personhood, legal strategies, fundraising, graphic images, political lobbying, voter registration, education, side-walk counseling, pro-life media, picketing, prayer vigils, anti-euthanasia efforts, and more.

Leaders present included:

Bobby Schindler of Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network
Brad Mattes of Life Issues Institute
Fr. Denis Wilde of Priests for Life
Patrick Novecosky of Legatus
Lauren Muzyka of 40 Days for Life
Brother Paul of the Franciscan Brothers of Peace
John-Henry Westen of LifeSiteNews.com
and Ave Maria School of Law’s own Patrecia Ming of the Black Law Students Association

The pro-life leaders in attendance were unanimous in their praise for the Ave Maria School of Law students who organized the Summit and related events amidst their busy law school schedules.  The law school chaplain, Fr. Michael Orsi, emceed various events and was unabashed in acknowledging the hard work and talents of his students.

Organizers included:

Royce Hood - 3rd year, chief organizer of the Law of Life Summit
William Sullivan - 3rd year, former President of Lex Vitae – the pro-life student org.
Michael Acquilano - 2nd year, President of Lex Vitae
Jose Melendez III - 2nd year, Lex Vitae National Pro-life Coordinator

Fun, games, good food and laughs rounded out the events.  The inaugural 5km ‘Race for Life’ which organizers hope will one day see success like the Komen Race for the Cure, had 21 participants with Ave Maria School of Law Professor Alex Vernon taking first place.

Tags: 40 days for life, florida, pro-life

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