Monday, June 25, 2012

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Illinois school district ejects homosexual activist curriculum

by Ben Johnson Mon Jun 25 18:11 EST Comments (43)

ERIE, ILLINOIS, June 25, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Illinois school district has bucked the national homosexual lobby by voting to remove books that promote same-sex “marriage” or mainstream alternate lifestyles.

After parents complained about The Family Book, which the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) recommends “to naturalize and celebrate family diversity,” the Erie Community Unit School District 1 voted to remove all GLSEN curriculum from the district. The vote was 5-2. 

Ann Schipper, the mother of three children in the system, said the curriculum “completely wipes away what my kids have learned at church and at home, and it creates confusion in them.”

GLSEN’s “Ready, Set, Respect!” curriculum, aimed at elementary school students as young as kindergarten, intentionally hopes to alter young children’s definition of family and sexual identity.

Its toolkit states: “The elementary school years offer a wonderful and important opportunity to instill and/or nurture positive attitudes and respect for individual, family and cultural differences, including diversity related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”

The guidelines recommend books like Cheryl Kilodavis’ My Princess Boy, intended for grades K-2, or Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, which introduces students to the idea of same-sex “marriage.”

Other suggested activities include having children draw pictures of “Cinderella in a knight’s armor, Spiderman wearing a magic tiara,” and other gender-bending storybook heroes.

Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, has written that the attempt to foist this curriculum on unsuspecting children is significant, because “cultural change rarely happens through dramatic, single events, but rather through the slow, accretion of little events that we ignore or dismiss as minor…Once in, they gradually increase the number and directness of homosexuality-affirming messages.” 

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GLSEN called the parent-directed vote “deeply counter-productive” and is urging fellow homosexual activists nationwide to pressure the school district to reverse itself.

“It’s tragic that selfish adults deliberately create motherless or fatherless family structures,” Higgins wrote, “but schools have neither the obligation nor the right to affirm those immoral structures.”

She wrote that since “so few public school administrations and teachers with the wisdom and spine to oppose the efforts of homosexual activists to impose their beliefs on public schools — or infuse curricula with their beliefs — the courage of the Erie Community Unit School District stands out.”

Tags: gay lesbian and straight education network glsen, illinois

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Canadian gynecologists oppose motion to determine when life begins

by Katie Craine Mon Jun 25 17:42 EST Comments (34)

OTTAWA, Ontario, June 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) said in a position statement released last month that they are “troubled” by a private members motion that seeks to determine when human life begins.

Motion 312, proposed by Conservative MP Steven Woodworth, seeks a re-examination of section 223 of the Criminal Code, which states that a child only becomes a “human being” once he or she has fully proceeded from the womb. If passed, Parliament would set up a special committee to consider the medical evidence relating to the humanity of the unborn child.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada represents over 3,800 health-care professionals including gynaecologists, obstetricians, family physicians, nurses, midwives, and other health professionals.

The SOGC says it is concerned that if the motion passed it “would challenge and change the fundamental principle of women’s autonomy.”

“Current law makes it clear that a woman and her foetus in utero are treated legally as one person, not two,” the SOGC observes, expressing concern that if the motion passes it would “suggest that a pregnant woman serves as a mere carrier for another person with full legal rights” and that her “interests, needs, or choices” would be considered second to those of the unborn child.

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The SOGC also expressed concern that the motion might restrict “women’s reproductive and sexual rights and decision-making.”

They call the motion a “‘one-size-fits-all’ legislation” that doesn’t take into account all the different situations of individual women.

Woodworth has argued that his motion is simply a response to the advances of science in the past decades which prove beyond a doubt that the unborn child is human, thereby calling into question the validity of section 223 of the Criminal Code.

“There might be some people who can convince themselves that a child magically transforms into a human being when their little toe pops out of the birth canal,” he told reporters while announcing his motion earlier this year. “However, I’ve concluded that modern medical science will inform us that children are in reality human beings at some point before the moment of complete birth.”

Woodworth’s motion does not itself propose a change in Canada’s law, which permits abortion up to birth without legal restriction. Instead it proposes that committee members examine the medical evidence relating to the unborn child, and produce a report outlining the options available to Parliament “to affirm, amend, or replace Subsection 223(1).”

Tags: abortion, motion 312, stephen woodworth

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Fortnight for Freedom Opening Homily

by Archbishop William Lori Mon Jun 25 17:17 EST Comments (3)

Abp. William E. Lori of Baltimore gave this address as the opening homily for the Fortnight for Freedom event in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption on June 21.

Introduction: The Martyrs of Tyburn Hill

A few years ago, due to inclement weather that grounded many international flights, I found myself stranded in London during the week just before Christmas.  Worse things than that can happen to a traveler but the unexpected pleasure of a week in London enabled me to visit places I hadn’t seen for many years – not Harrod’s or even Windsor Castle, but places such as Tyburn Hill, where many English martyrs laid down their lives in witness to the Faith, including St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher.

I was deeply moved to stand on the spot where, in 1535, Thomas More and John Fisher were beheaded because they refused to comply with the Act of Supremacy, a law which made King Henry VIII Head of the Church and which broke ties of communion with the Roman Pontiff.  I also visited the Parish Church in the Tower of London, St. Peter in Chains, and prayed in the crypt where St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher are buried.

The Feast Day of Thomas More and John Fisher

Tonight we have gathered here in this historic national basilica, the first Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States of America and a monument to religious freedom. We have gathered on the eve of the feast of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, martyrs who laid down their lives rather than violate their consciences or their sacred principles. Their courageous witness of faith continues to stir the minds and hearts of people yearning for authentic freedom, and specifically, for religious freedom . . . . just as it inspired those who came to Maryland a century later in 1634,seeking not only to worship God freely but indeed to practice their faith publicly.

We do well to speak of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher in the same breath, because each in his own way symbolizes two aspects of religious freedom we are striving to protect and foster as we begin a two week period of prayer and reflection known as the Fortnight for Freedom.

St. Thomas More

What does St. Thomas More teach us about protecting religious liberty? Thomas More was a devout Catholic, a husband and a father, a learned and accomplished man, a lawyer by profession; his conscience was formed by principle and virtue at a time when both were routinely sacrificed for political expediency.

Thomas More was chosen to serve in Parliament and rose to become the Chancellor of England in the days of King Henry VIII. When called upon by the King to betray his principles and his conscience, however, More chose instead to put everything at risk, including his own life. Throughout, he defended his cause brilliantly, but to no avail. He staved off martyrdom as long as he could, but when it came, More accepted it courageously.

Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote that “…the life and martyrdom of St. Thomas More have been the source of a message which spans the centuries and which speaks to people everywhere of the inalienable dignity of the human conscience.” He added: “Whenever men or women heed the call of truth, their conscience then guides their actions reliably towards good.

Precisely because of the witness which he bore, even at the price of his life, to the primacy of truth over power, St. Thomas More is an imperishable example of moral integrity.” (Proclamation of Thomas More as Patron of Statesman, October 31, 2000, no. 1).

More’s witness enriches the Church’s teaching on the dignity of the human person. For as the Book of Genesis teaches, we are created in God’s image to be participants in his wisdom and love.

Because we are created in love and for love, we are endowed by the Creator with inherent rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Though only a few could claim St. Thomas More’s influence and integrity, this great saint stands for the individual believer and citizen who seeks, in the words of United States Bishops, “[to] connect worship on Sunday to work on Monday” . . .“[to] carry the values of our faith into family life, the market place, and the public square.”  (U.S. Bishops, “Everyday Christianity: To Hunger and Thirst for Justice, Introduction, 1998)

St. Thomas More could be said to represent that conscientious private employer or employee who, seeks to avoid doing or facilitating moral evil in course of daily work while striving to live and work in accord with the demands of social justice. He stands for those who go about their daily work in accord with their faith (cf., DH, 13), and those who understand how dangerous it is to the common good to separate faith from life, the Gospel from culture (CL, 212).

Until now, it has been entirely possible under federal law for conscientious owners to conduct private businesses in accord with one’s conscience and the teachings of one’s faith.  Until now, federal law has also accommodated businesses which are not church organizations but which are related to the mission of the Church.  Examples include catholic publishing houses such as Our Sunday Visitor, Catholic insurers, Legatus, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic fraternal organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, just to name a few. The freedom of conscientious and like-minded individuals to conduct such businesses in accord with the teaching of the Church now hangs in the balance. On August 1st, less than six weeks from now, the Health and Human Services mandate will go into effect. This will force conscientious private employers to violate their consciences by funding and facilitating through their employee health insurance plans reproductive “services” that are morally objectionable.

As the United States Bishops recently indicated, the HHS mandate violates the personal civil rights of those, who “in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and values (United for Freedom, March 14, 2012).

St. John Fisher

St. John Fisher may be less well-known than St. Thomas More, but his witness of faith was no less courageous. Like St. Thomas More, he possessed great learning and virtue and was an able defender of the faith. Both More and Fisher refused to sign the Act of Supremacy and both of them paid for their principled stand with their lives.

More, of course, was a layman and Fisher was a bishop. Ordained a priest in 1491, Fisher would become the Bishop of Rochester in Kent. In the House of Lords, he strongly opposed state interference in Church affairs. At the same time, he led the Church in reforming itself first and foremost by his own spirit of learning and holiness in communion with the Holy Father, the Successor of Peter.

At length, St. John Fisher found himself at odds with King Henry VIII and with laws passed by the British Parliament which required him to take an oath repudiating papal authority and acknowledging the King as Head of the Church.  This pastor of souls and lover of the Church refused, saying: “I cannot in anywise possibly take [the oath], except I should make shipwreck of my conscience, and then were I fit to serve neither God nor man.”

In the wake of St. John Fisher’s martyrdom, churches, monasteries, and centers of learning were seized by royal power and were either destroyed or made to break their ties with the Roman Catholic Church. The government interfered in the internal life of the Church with a cruel thoroughness John Fisher could not have imagined even a few years earlier.  He symbolizes for us our struggle to maintain religious freedom for church institutions and ministries such as our schools and charities.

We surely are not facing the dire brutality that confronted St. John Fisher,but our Church and her institutions do find themselves today in perilous waters. For embedded in the HHS mandate is a very narrow governmental definition of what constitutes a church; and if it is not removed, it is likely to spread throughout federal law.

In the HHS mandate, the federal government now defines a church as a body which hires mostly its own members and serves mostly its own members, and which exists primarily to advance its own teachings. In a word, so long as a church confines itself to the sacristy, then it is exempt from having to fund and facilitate in its health insurance plans government mandated services which are contrary to its own teachings.  But if a church steps beyond the narrow confines of this definition by hiring those of other faiths and by serving the common good – then the government is telling us that such institutions aren’t religious enough, that they don’t deserve an exemption from funding and facilitating those things which violate the very teachings which inspired churches to establish their institutions in the first place.

Friends, we must never allow the government,—any government, at any time, of any party—to impose such a constrictive definition on our beloved Church or any church! Our Church was sent forth by the Lord teach and baptize all the nations.  It was commissioned by our Savior to announce that the Kingdom of God is at hand.  It was sent into the world to do the corporal works of love and mercy.  Don’t we see this all around us – in inner-city Catholic schools, in Catholic hospitals, in the work of Catholic Charities so critical for the well being of local communities?  “The Word of God cannot be chained,” St. Paul wrote to Timothy, and now it is up to us to defend the Church’s freedom to fulfill her mission to freely manifest the love of God by organized works of education and charity.  This is why the Church has engaged the Administration so earnestly, this is why we are working for legislative protection from the Congress, this is why, thankfully, so many have filed lawsuits in various parts of the country, and this is why there is a Fortnight for Freedom—so that the Church would be free of that government interference which St. John Fisher warned against in the British Parliament in the 16th century!

Linking the Two Freedoms

As Americans, it comes naturally to us to defend the rights of individuals to follow their consciences not only in their personal lives but also in the course of their daily work.And I know how deeply you value and support church institutions which do the corporal works of mercy on a grand scale.  Inspired by St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, how important for us to defend both the religious freedom of individuals and the religious freedom of church institutions – for the two are inseparably linked.

As the Second Vatican Council taught: “the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself” (DH, 2).

In differing ways, both the Church’s teaching and our nation’s founding documents acknowledge that the Creator has endowed individuals with freedom of conscience.Such freedom goes to the heart of the dignity of the human person.Pope Benedict recently said that religious freedom is constitutive of human dignity because it pertains to the relationship of human beings to the God who created them.

The Holy Father then reminds us of the grave consequences that follow when governments ignore this fundamental aspects of the human person:  “To deny or arbitrarily restrict [religious] freedom is to foster a reductive vision of the human person;to eclipse the public role of religion is to create a society which is unjust,inasmuch as it fails to take account of the true nature of the human person; it is to stifle the growth of the authentic and lasting peace of the whole human family” (Message for the Celebration of World Day of Peace, 2010).

Our churches and their institutions have freedom not only because they are made up of individual persons endowed with freedom,but because our institutions are like persons.  In fact, we call them “moral persons” because they truly do possess some of the characteristics of persons.  Like all of us, these institutions claim their identity and fulfill their mission based on the principles and convictions by which they are guided. Like individual persons, institutions also have rights and responsibilities which flow from their guiding principles and convictions, and in the case of our institutions, these guiding principles and convictions are to be found in the teaching of Christ as conveyed through the Church.

Religious freedom includes the freedom of individuals to act in accord with their faith but also the freedom of church institutions to act in according with their teachings and to serve as a buffer between the power of the state and the freedom of the individual conscience.

If we fail to defend the rights of individuals, the freedom of institutions will be at risk and if we fail to defend the rights of our institutions, individual liberty will be at risk. More needs Fisher and Fisher needs More!

Conclusion

And we need them both more than ever. Even if current threats like the HHS mandate were to be overcome, we would still have to face powerful forces which seek to prevent religious faith from exerting an appropriate & necessary influence within our culture. Some would even say that the Catholic Church is a primary obstacle that stands in the way of creating a completely secular culture in the United States.

Let us remain united with our ecumenical & interfaith partners in being that obstacle!  For love of country, let us bear constant witness, individually and collectively, to those moral truths and values which are the foundation of democracy and the basis for building a society that is just, peaceful, and charitable.

By prayer, education, and by exercising our rights as citizens, let us never cease defending the only notion of freedom worthy of our dignity as persons and sturdy enough to support our democratic way of life and it’s this: ‘freedom is not the power of doing what we like but the right of being able to do what we ought.’

For, as George Washington said in his Farewell Address,“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity,religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

As you may know, only one Catholic signed the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the cousin of Archbishop John Carroll, who laid the cornerstone of this Basilica in 1806.

Like all Catholics, Charles Carroll was forbidden by Maryland colonial law from taking any part in political life, especially from holding office.  Carroll risked his life, family, and property by supporting the revolutionary cause but he did so, and I quote, “to obtain religious as well as civil liberty.” He added:  “God grant that this religious liberty may be preserved in these states to the end of time, and that all who believe in the religion of Christ may practice the leading principle of charity, the basis of every other virtue.”

If freedom is a system based on courage and if the motive of democracy is love, then let us strive in God’s grace, throughout this Fortnight and beyond, to be men and women of courageous love for the glory of God, for the good of the Church and for love of country.

Tags: fortnight for freedom, william lori

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Supreme Knight: We could ‘significantly restrict’ abortion if Catholic politicians voted pro-life

by Thaddeus Baklinski Mon Jun 25 17:08 EST Comments (15)

 
Carl Anderson

INDIANAPOLIS, June 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In his address to journalists gathered for the 2012 Catholic Media Conference in Indianapolis on June 22, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson of the Knights of Columbus said Catholic voters must “insist that every candidate for public office respect the integrity and mission of the Catholic Church and its institutions.”

“Over the years, it has become clear to many that if Catholics in both political parties had practiced a consistent commitment to Catholic social teaching and if they had been able to overcome partisan rigidity and hostility, we would have been able to significantly restrict abortion,” Anderson told members of the Catholic Press Association. He added, “We were not able to do this because of a failure of our elected Catholic officials.”

Anderson said that Church members must stop supporting “candidates who advocate policies that are intrinsically evil.”

The Supreme Knight critiqued what has become called the “Cuomo doctrine,” which former New York governor Mario Cuomo articulated in a 1984 speech at the University of Notre Dame. “He defended his position of being personally opposed to abortion but unwilling to take a position opposing abortion because this would mean imposing his beliefs on his fellow citizens,” Anderson explained.

Cuomo’s argument, however, had a “fatal flaw,” since medical science has concluded that the being alive in a mother’s womb is a human being “irrespective of one’s religious conviction. Therefore, the protection of innocent human life that is a fundamental legal principle of every civilized society should apply to protect unborn children.”

The “Cuomo doctrine” thus created “a generation of ‘pro-choice’ Catholic politicians.”

“The result,” Anderson said, “has been a political stalemate on the abortion issue for nearly three decades.”

This stalemate has led some Catholics to regard the “Cuomo Doctrine” as a kind of “truce” in the culture wars.

However, “this year, many Catholics sense that this ‘peaceful co-existence’ with secular culture has ended as a result of the HHS mandate on contraception,” Anderson said, pointing to the Obama administration’s policy forcing Catholic employers to cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs in their health plans.

Anderson observed that the bishops of the U.S. maintain that if implemented, the HHS mandate will affect the autonomy and integrity of the Church and its institutions and that it will dramatically change the mission of the Catholic Church in the United States.

“Therefore the HHS mandate confronts us with a challenge which is very different from that of social issues such as legal abortion. It is different because it is a challenge to the integrity of our Catholic institutions and our own lives as Catholics.”

“Catholic voters must have the courage to tell candidates that if they want Catholic votes they will have to respect the fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching such as the sanctity of human life before birth as well as the institutions of marriage and family,” Anderson declared.

“Catholic voters should insist that candidates measure their political platforms by Catholic social teaching—especially if they are Catholics. And they should have the courage to withhold their vote from candidates who fail this test—even if it means at times that they will withhold their vote for both candidates for a particular office.”

“Catholic voters should have the courage to settle for nothing less than this,” the Supreme Knight concluded.

The full text of Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson’s address to the Catholic Press Association is available here.

Tags: abortion, carl anderson, knights of columbus

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‘I’m going to Heaven, you stay here with Dad’: Italian mom sacrifices life for unborn baby

by Kathleen Gilbert Mon Jun 25 16:21 EST Comments (77)

 

ROME, June 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - When Chiara Corbella learned she was pregnant with her third child, it was a great joy that ended in bittersweet tragedy for the young Italian mother, who died this month after postponing cancer treatment to save her cherished baby.

In a story that echoes that of Roman Catholic saint Gianna Molla, Chiara and her husband Enrico Petrillo embarked on a remarkable journey of faith in 2010 when they learned that they were pregnant with Francisco - and that Chiara had an aggressive form of cancer, reports the Catholic News Agency.

The news was especially poignant for the couple since both of Francisco’s elder siblings, Maria and David, had been lost shortly after birth. In fact, Chiara and Enrico had become popular pro-life speakers for their stories of their few treasured moments with each of their first two children before their brief lives came to an end.

This time, doctors said Francisco was healthy and developing normally. So when Chiara was advised to begin treatment immediately for her cancer, she declined, waiting for Francisco to be born in May of last year. The cancer progressed over the following year, depriving Chiara of sight in one eye before she finally succumbed on June 13, 2012.

“I am going to heaven to take care of Maria and David, you stay here with Dad. I will pray for you,” Chiara wrote to baby Francisco in a letter, one week before her death.

Chiara’s funeral Mass was celebrated by the Vicar General of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, who called Chiara “the second Gianna Beretta.”

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Saint Gianna Molla was an Italian pediatrician who died in 1962 from complications caused by a fibroma on her uterus, after she refused both an abortion and a hysterectomy because she was pregnant with her fourth child.

Although a tragedy to outside observers - and certainly also for Enrico, to whom Chiara was happily married – the couple’s last conversations reveal, in the young husband’s words, “a story of love on the cross” that seemed to conquer even death.

“The truth is that this cross – if you embrace it with Christ – ceases to be as ugly as it looks. If you trust in him, you discover that this fire, this cross, does not burn, and that peace can be found in suffering and joy in death,” said Enrico, according to CNA. “I spent a lot of time this year reflecting on this phrase from the Gospel that says the Lord gives a cross that is sweet and a burden that is light.

“When I would look at Chiara when she was about to die, I obviously became very upset. But I mustered the courage and a few hours before – it was about eight in the morning, Chiara died at noon – I asked her. 

“I said: ‘But Chiara, my love, is this cross really sweet, like the Lord says? She looked at me and she smiled, and in a soft voice she said, ‘Yes, Enrico, it is very sweet.’

“In this sense, the entire family didn’t see Chiara die peacefully, but happily, which is totally different.”

Enrico said he would tell his son Francisco when he was older that “the most important thing in life” is to “let yourself be loved in order to love and die happy,” and that “this is what his mother, Chiara, did.”

“She allowed herself to be loved, and in a certain sense, I think she loved everyone in this way,” he said. “I feel her more alive than ever. To be able to see her die happy was to me a challenge to death.”

Read the full CNA story here.

Tags: abortion, catholic, chiara corbella

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Supreme Court won’t rule yet on embattled Soledad Cross war memorial

by Kathleen Gilbert Mon Jun 25 16:05 EST Comments (8)

 
The Mount Soledad Cross

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal seeking to keep a 29-foot cross that serves as a tribute to fallen soldiers on federally-owned territory in California, against complaints that the symbol implies a state preference for Christianity.

The large cross, which was erected at the Mt. Soledad War Memorial in 1954, has been the subject of years of controversy. In 2006 a lawsuit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America. The current cross, erected as a tribute to fallen Korean War veterans, replaced an earlier version honoring World War I soldiers in 1913, and is now surrounded by over 3,200 plaques honoring the fallen from the Civil War to Iraq.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a U.S. district court’s ruling in 2008 in favor of the cross, saying that the cross “conveys a message of government endorsement of religion,” and that the history of anti-Semitism in the area undermines its claim to secularity. The court did not say that the cross needed to be taken down, but remanded the case back down to the same district court for reconsideration.

The full Ninth Circuit Court in October refused to retry the case, as did the Supreme Court this week, after both sides of the suit had asked the high court to weigh in.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Tuesday stated in a three-page ruling that although “the constitutionality of the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial is a question of substantial importance,” the case was not yet ripe for review, “because no final judgment has been rendered and it remains unclear precisely what action the Federal Government will be required to take.”

Once a final judgment has been rendered by the lower court, wrote Alito, plaintiffs would be “free to raise the same issue in a later petition,” and noted, “Our denial, of course, does not amount to a ruling on the merits.”

The federal government, joined by 34 members of Congress, have joined the fight to protect the memorial.

“Nothing in the Establishment Clause compels that [the cross be removed], because the Establishment Clause does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm,” stated the Justice Department in a petition to the Court submitted by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

The cross has been rescued by Congress before: in 2006, following 17 years of wrangling to bring the cross into safer hands, the United States Senate voted unanimously to transfer the Mt. Soledad Cross onto federal property after an atheist San Diego resident convinced a federal judge to order its removal by the city. The year before, the city of San Diego had voted 75 percent in favor of a ballot measure to transfer the memorial to federal hands, but Superior Court Judge Patricia Yim Cowett declared the ballot measure “an unconstitutional aid to religion” and struck it down.

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Tags: mt. soledad

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Justin Trudeau at secondary school: Catholic opposition to gay-straight alliances ‘repulsive’

by Thaddeus Baklinski Mon Jun 25 15:44 EST Comments (36)

 
Justin Trudeau

OTTAWA, June 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Liberal MP and potential leadership contender Justin Trudeau visited students at A.Y. Jackson Secondary School last week, where he responded to a student’s question about “the Catholic backlash against provincial anti-bullying legislation,” stating that Catholic opposition to gay-straight alliances was “repulsive.”

The Ontario bishops had opposed the legislation because it requires schools to allow gay-straight alliance clubs, which are closely tied to the homosexualist movement.

“There’s not a religion in the world that says ‘tolerate thy neighbour.’ No, they say ‘love thy neighbour.’ Acceptance, respect, building friendships, being open to each other, that’s what we have to build on in Canada,” Trudeau said, according to emckanata.ca.

Trudeau, the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, said the suicide of 15-year-old A.Y. Jackson student Jamie Hubley last October prompted him to accept the invitation to speak about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the grade 12 students.

“A.Y. Jackson went through a terrible tragedy a number of months of go, and that was one of the impetuses to get someone in to talk about how we connect with each other, how we build strong communities, how we resist bullying and harassment. That was part of it,” Trudeau said.

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Jamie Hubley was openly homosexual. The media widely suggested in its coverage that Hubley committed suicide primarily due to “homophobic bullying,” while his father, Ottawa city councilor Allan Hubley, has said his son struggled with depression for years, and was the target of bullying because he was a figure skater.

Allan Hubley had testified to Ontario’s Legislative Assembly before the passage of Bill 13, the anti-bullying bill, that he believed the homosexuality-focused legislation would not only have failed to protect his son, but by giving him a label it would have made him more of a target for discrimination.

“From what I read of studies of bullies, they look for what makes you separate from others. They look for something that—you’re different. It could be the clothes you wear; it could be anything,” said Allan Hubley before the Standing Committee on Social Policy on May 22.

He argued that legislating that each club be given a specific name such as Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) would be to deal with “the issue of bullying in a way that is sure to fail.”

“Jamie was the only openly gay person in his school of over 1,000 students,” the father said. “A GSA with one member, or even a few, would only have made him more of a target.”

The father also questioned the wisdom of encouraging young teens to self-identify as gay. “How many people publicly announce their sexuality before they are out of school and established in their lives? Why, then, would we be considering forcing them to do so at an age when they already have so many pressures to manage?”

Hubley said he would like to see a bill that protects every child from bullying, not just a select group.

Justin Trudeau caused a stir earlier this year when he suggested to a Radio-Canada talk show host that he would support Quebec’s separation from Canada if Stephen Harper’s government moved to restrict abortion or same-sex “marriage.”

“I always say, if at a certain point, I believe that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper – that we were going against abortion, and we were going against gay marriage, and we were going backwards in 10,000 different ways – maybe I would think about wanting to make Quebec a country,” said Trudeau.

Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition, said Trudeau’s promotion of the provincial Liberal government’s homosexuality-focused anti-bullying legislation to high school students is an “appalling” political move to garner support for his bid for leadership in the federal Liberal party.

“It’s appalling that a politician goes into a school and, using comments about tolerance and acceptance, begins lobbying to rally young people to support him in a run for the leadership,” Hughes told LifeSiteNews.

Referring to the record of anti-life and anti-family policies brought about by the federal Liberal Party, Hughes warned that, “Hopefully Canadians have a long sense of history to remember what has happened before.”

Tags: homosexuality, justin trudeau

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McGuinty’s Education Minister named ‘grand marshal’ of Toronto Gay Pride

by Patrick B. Craine Mon Jun 25 13:56 EST Comments (7)

 
Minister Laurel Broten

TORONTO, Ontario, June 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Dalton McGuinty’s Education Minister has been named a “co-grand marshal” of this year’s Toronto Gay Pride parade. The honor comes in the wake of her efforts to push through the government’s homosexual “anti-bullying” bill that forces schools to accept “gay-straight alliance” clubs.

Minister Laurel Broten will join New Democrat MPP Cheri Di Novo, who was named “co-grand marshal” as well for the recent success of her transgender bill, which enshrined non-discrimination protections based on “gender identity” and “gender expression.”

The parade, which tops off ten days of festivities, takes place in Toronto on July 1st, Canada Day.

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Though organizers have tried to paint the parade as “family-friendly,” Toronto Pride is infamous for its public displays of full nudity, sado-masochistic attire, and public sex acts.

“I feel really honoured and I’m very excited about it,” Broten said at the Ontario Liberal Party’s provincial council meeting, according to the Toronto Star.

“What makes me most pleased about this is that it is another good opportunity for us to make sure young people in our province really know and understand in their hearts that our government stands with them and that we want them to be who they are,” she added.

Broten told media Saturday that she is undecided over what to wear, asking, “Got any ideas?”

Pride co-chair Luka Amona hailed passage of both Broten’s and Di Novo’s pieces of legislation as “major victories” for the homosexual movement in Ontario.

 

Tags: bill 13, dalton mcguinty, laurel broten, transgender

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Princeton’s pro-infanticide ‘ethicist’ asks: Why can’t Catholics just close their universities?

by Cardinal Newman Society Mon Jun 25 13:21 EST Comments (21)

Good news! Peter Singer, the infanticide promoter at Princeton University, thinks he has has solved the religious liberty problem in America. Singer writes that, if Catholics don’t like the HHS contraception mandate, they can just close their universities and hospitals, or hand them over to secular interests.

It’s just that simple!

“The Obama administration’s requirement to provide health insurance that covers contraception does not prevent Catholics from practicing their religion,” Singer writes in a progressive journal. “Catholicism does not oblige its adherents to run hospitals and universities.” Therefore, Singer argues, the government can tell Catholics how to run these institutions without infringing on religious liberty.

One may suppose that Singer isn’t aware of the Bible which says, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Of course, this is coming from the horrific ethicist who also seems to have missed, “Thou shalt not kill.”

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In the end, Singer’s argument, far from being uniquely brilliant, is just one more humdrum attempt to reduce religion to the private sphere.Writing at Secondhand Smoke, Wesley Smith says that Singer tries to redefine religious freedom to mean only that one can worship the way one pleases:

That’s the old attempt to shrink “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship,” an advocacy slight of hand used previously by President Obama. But the practice of religion isn’t limited to the ceremonies and rubrics of worship. Rather, the exercise of one’s religion involves how the faithful live their lives outside of the church, synagogue, temple, or mosque–whether as individuals or in juridical associations and religion-related institutions and organizations….

Singer, one might say, is an Australian, and so has an excuse for his ignorance about American freedom. Sorry, I’m not buying. The truth is, as a utilitarian, he doesn’t believe in “rights,” or liberty.  He doesn’t care about freedom of religion. He embraces utilitarian outcomes–which have little to do with individual liberty or organizational freedom.

And therein lies the risk of authoritarianism. By seeking to hollow out freedom of religion and render it impotent freedom of worship–Singer seeks to impose secular values on everyone who acts in the public square.  And if you didn’t like it, just get out of Dodge.

The freedom to worship is hardly impotent–but genuine religious liberty requires much more, including the ability to operate universities and hospitals without being forced to violate one’s conscience.

This article originally appeared on the website of the Cardinal Newman Society and is reprinted with permission.

Tags: hhs mandate, peter singer, princeton, religious freedom

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Affirming love, avoiding AIDS

by Arland Nichols Mon Jun 25 12:40 EST Comments (10)

 

June 25, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) - It was a distressing report from the Center for Disease Control — a May 2012 update on HIV and AIDS among gay and bisexual men. The report details the degree of HIV/AIDS infection in the population of men who have sex with men (MSM).

Though the report is both startling and disturbing, I am compelled to first echo the Church’s teaching that unjust discrimination toward human beings, including those who have deep-seated homosexual inclinations, is never acceptable and most be decried wherever it occurs. Every human being should be treated with respect, his dignity honored, and his health and welfare protected and preserved. This is our obligation as Catholics.

Here are some of the sobering figures: Though they make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population, in 2009 MSM accounted for 61 percent of all new HIV infections in the United States and 79 percent of all infections among newly infected men. In 2010, this rate of diagnosis among MSM remained unchanged at 61 percent and 78 percent respectively.

By the end of 2009 there were an estimated 784,701 persons in the United States living with an HIV diagnosis and 51 percent of these were MSM. Similarly, 51 percent of AIDS diagnoses were among MSM. From 2006-09 infection rates of young men increased 34 percent. Nearly half of infections are in white males, while 30 percent are black/African American, and 19 percent are Hispanic. By the end of 2009, nearly 300,000 MSM had died from AIDS.

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In the United States, 2 percent of the population — those who engage in homosexual acts — account for 61 percent of all new HIV infections; 19 percent of this population is infected with HIV. This is truly startling and demands our attention. It is God’s words to Cain after he killed Abel that come to mind — “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.”

We must respond to this cry. A dignified response to the HIV/AIDS crisis is a human response that encourages moral behavior. Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly emphasized that a medical response is necessary but insufficient. Speaking of the crisis he says, “Above all, it is an ethical problem. The change of behavior that it requires — for example, sexual abstinence, rejection of sexual promiscuity … ultimately involves the question of integral development. … For if it is to be effective, the prevention of AIDS must be based on a sex education that is itself grounded in an anthropology anchored in the natural law and enlightened by the word of God and the Church’s teaching” (“Africae Munus,” No. 72).

In other words, chastity, abstinence and genuine friendship are essential. Somewhat surprisingly, the CDC report doesn’t entirely disagree with this, as it states that HIV is caused by the kind of behavior engaged in by homosexual men, and while condom use is recommended, the CDC goes so far as to warn against the riskiest acts stating that avoiding them are “the most effective ways to prevent HIV.”

Unfortunately the response of the federal government has not emphasized abstinence and chastity. The projected 2012 budget allocated 21.5 billion dollars to HIV/AIDS in the United States. Of that, only 1 billion is directed toward prevention. A survey of the organizations that receive these monies indicates that little if any funds are slotted for abstinence education. It is, quite simply, not a part of the federal government’s response to the crisis.

Favored is an approach that stresses “risk reduction” including condoms, counseling and testing rather than encouraging primary behavioral changes. The assumption seems to be that asking one to change his sexual behavior is unrealistic, and asks too much.

This is disastrously bad policy. As Matthew Hanley and Jokin de Irala noted in their book Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS: What Africa Can Teach the West, “[F]rom a purely pragmatic point of view, there remain large and serious concerns about the practical impact and efficacy of risk reduction strategies.”

An authentic response to the HIV/AIDS crisis is neither discrimination nor enabling silence. We owe love that recognizes the dignity of the human person, respects the sexual act as God intended it and considers first the well-being of the other. A proper vision of sexuality must be encouraged and true friendship and compassion offered to those infected and those who struggle with deep-seated homosexual inclination.

This crisis begs for commitment to the moral law, respect for the inherent dignity of the person, and a greater recognition that each person is capable of choosing behavior that is both good for him and that allows for his flourishing.

Arland K. Nichols is the National Director of HLI America. He writes for the Truth and Charity Forum, where this article first appeared.

Tags: aids, homosexuality

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23-country, 11,000 mile pro-life pilgrimage begins on East coast of Russia

by HLI Staff Mon Jun 25 12:12 EST Comments (7)

 

June 25, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - On June 14, a coalition of Catholic and Eastern Orthodox pro-life leaders from 18 countries launched the “From Ocean to Ocean” pro-life pilgrimage of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa from the Eastern Coast of Russia to Fatima, Portugal. The intent of the pilgrimage is to promote the defense of life across continents that have been decimated by widespread contraception and abortion.

The icon is being displayed in a specially designed trailer as it makes its way across 23 countries.

“There are many remarkable stories over the centuries of faithful Catholics marching with an icon of the Blessed Mother into situations where the odds seem insurmountable, but where the faithful emerge victorious,” said Father Peter West, vice president for missions of Human Life International, which is coordinating the pilgrimage. “That is the situation in which Europe finds itself today, amid a seemingly impenetrable culture of death marked by abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and other assaults on life. This return to a public witness of tradition and faith is desperately needed for those who have lost all hope and faith.”

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The pilgrimage began in Vladivostok, on the Pacific Coast of Russia, where several hundred of the faithful came to see and venerate the icon of the Virgin Mary. The icon was officially greeted in the Orthodox Cathedral of Our Lady of Care (Pokrovskij Sobor), where a special liturgy was celebrated in honor of Our Lady of Czestochowa. It was then taken to the main cathedral of Saint Nicholas, and the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The pilgrimage route of Our Lady of Czestochowa passes through 23 countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Austria, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. The planned route is about 11,200 miles (18 thousand kilometers). Organizers of the pilgrimage hope to be in Fatima by Christmas Day.

Pilgrimage coordinators Lech and Ewa Kowaleski report that plans to bring the icon to the United States, South America, Africa and Australia in 2013 are also being discussed.

“Also of great significance is the fact that this extraordinary project has brought together the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox leaders,” said Ewa Kowaleska, director of HLI Poland. “Our Lady will therefore be hosted in both Catholic churches and Orthodox churches throughout the journey. We pray for her intercession in restoring a strong culture of life to nations who have lost all openness to life and who have almost forgotten the joys of the family.”

The copy of the Czestochowa icon of Our Lady, dedicated to pilgrimage through the world in defense of life, is a replica of the original, famed icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which has made the Jasna Gora monastery the most popular religious pilgrimage destination in Poland.

Tags: catholic, ocean to ocean, russia

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Fired sportscaster: ‘The word ‘no’ can be an act of great love’; Humanae Vitae ‘rocked the world’

by Angela O’Brien Mon Jun 25 11:22 EST Comments (27)

 

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TORONTO, June 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) — On Friday June 15th, former TV sportscaster Damian Goddard gave an inspiring speech at the CLC Pro-Life Forum in Toronto, emphasizing personal courage and trust in God. Commenting on today’s sexual culture, he observed that “the word ‘No’ can be an act of great love.”

In part 1 of the LifeSiteNews video of his speech, Goddard relates how he was suddenly fired from his job with Rogers Sportsnet in 2011 “after tweeting in defense of marriage” (see previous coverage). He told the pro-life Forum audience, “I was floored, winded - but I was not knocked out” and since his “life has taken that dramatic turn” he has been doing “a little internalization.”

Goddard applauded Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, the encyclical reaffirming the Church’s position on marriage and parenthood and expressly forbidding contraception (HV 14-16). 

Goddard said that Humanae Vitae “rocked the world” with its clarity on human sexual inclinations and identity. He compared the encyclical’s proscriptions with a loving parent who will not give way to a child’s whims.

“In that basic message of: ‘you cannot have that cookie before dinner’…we come to realize that the word ‘no’ can be a word, an act, of great love,” Goddard said.

When a parent tells a child ‘no’, Goddard continued, the child knows “deep within its soul… that that parent loves them… Humanae Vitae—it was responsible, it was based on reason, it was scientific, it was love.”

Goddard described the publication of Humanae Vitae as an “earth-shattering moment” in our history. “We look back now at that moment in time and… are inclined to say ‘if only we really knew then what we know now!’” said Goddard, adding that, in fact, we did know. “We knew,” he declared, “as much as a parent looks at its child and says ‘If you eat too much candy, your stomach will be upset.’”

At the end of Part 1 Goddard begins his story about the impact on his thinking from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on 9/11. Calling that incident “the greatest moment of my lifetime” that caused him to look again at his faith life, Goddard states he immediately understood the attack was “an act of war” that would lead to increased hostility towards Christianity within America.

See Part II report and video

Tags: contraception, damian goddard, humanae vitae

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Breakthrough prenatal surgery at 17 weeks saves Miami girl’s life: doctor suggested abortion

by Jean McCarthy Mon Jun 25 10:18 EST Comments (13)

 
An x-ray showing the tumor on Lyna's mouth.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Expectant parents have less to fear from birth defects, thanks to a recent breakthrough in prenatal surgery. 

A Miami girl, Lyna Gonzalez, underwent a never-before-done surgery that saved her life – while she was just seventeen weeks in the womb.  Today, the only sign of the operation is a slight scar on her lip. 

The May 2010 procedure removed an oral teratoma, a tennis ball-sized benign tumor that had formed on Lyna’s mouth.

When Lyna’s condition was first diagnosed doctors were sure the baby would be stillborn or would need life support and numerous surgeries after birth.  The mother’s gynecologist suggested aborting the little girl. 

“It’s the most horrible feeling you could ever imagine; physically, emotionally, mentally,” Tammy, the baby’s mother, told CBS.

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But the parents’ research led them to Dr. Ruben Quintero, a University of Miami/Jackson Memorial fetal surgeon.  With a record number of breakthroughs in prenatal procedures, Quintero – along with Dr. Eftichia Kontopoulos – led an ultrasound-guided surgery, using an endoscope to remove the tumor.

Quintero invented some of the instruments used in the operation. 

“This was an opportunity to expand the field we have developed, to treat birth defects in utero,” said Quintero.

Lyna was born completely healthy, weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce.  Today she is an energetic twenty-month-old. 

Oral teratoma occurs in 1 in 100, 000 pregnancies.  With over 4 million babies born in America each year, this procedure is set to benefit many. 

“This is what happens when we allow ourselves to focus on the unborn baby as a patient and person - extraordinary, life-saving medical procedures,” said Monica Rafie, speaking on behalf of Be Not Afraid, a pro-life organization that provides support for parents given poor prenatal diagnoses.

Rafie congratulated Dr. Quintero, saying, “Kudos to Dr. Quintero and team and all those like him who are willing to take on the challenge of helping babies in utero.”

But while expressing hope for cutting edge procedures such as the one that saved Lyna’s life, Rafie cautioned parents given a poor prenatal dignosis against expectations, either good or bad:  “It is important to not appear too invested in any particular outcome, because sometimes babies who had a good prognosis don’t do as well as expected, and similarly, babies who were not expected to survive beyond birth end up thriving.”

Tags: abortion

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