DUBLIN, July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a speech in the Dail, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has attacked the Vatican, accusing it of obstructing efforts to protect children from clerical abusers, and of interfering in a “sovereign, democratic republic.”
Following the publication of an independent judicial report, the fourth of its kind, on the cover-up of abuse of minors in the Cloyne diocese, a tide of outrage and anger has gripped the Irish public, some of whom are calling for the arrest of the former Cloyne bishop, John Magee.
The Cloyne report highlighted a letter in which the Vatican described the Irish bishops’ 1996 guidelines for dealing with allegations of abuse as a “study document,” and not a binding set of rules. Vatican authorities had pointed out that the Irish guidelines had not sufficiently safeguarded the rights of accused priests to civil or canonical due process.
This letter was the basis of Enda Kenny’s attack on the Vatican. Kenny called the letter an “attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago.”
He also accused the Vatican of placing canon law above civil law and having “downplayed or managed” the “rape and torture of children … to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation.’”
Kenny said that “the Irish people, including the very many faithful Catholics who – like me – have been shocked and dismayed by the repeated failings of church authorities to face up to what is required, deserve and require confirmation from the Vatican that they do accept, endorse and require compliance by all church authorities here with, the obligations to report all cases of suspected abuse, whether current or historical, to the state’s authorities.”
This confirmation, however, has already been given. In 2001, Pope Benedict XVI, when he was Joseph Ratzinger, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued norms for the Church worldwide making clear that “civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities should always be followed.”
The Cloyne report found, however, that two-thirds of abuse allegations made between 1996 and 2009 were not passed on to police, as required by the Irish Church’s guidelines and Cardinal Ratzinger’s clear norms.
While Kenny has focused on the Vatican, the four reports published by the Murphy Commission have specifically named four Irish bishops as the culprits behind the lack of reporting of abuse. The investigation into the Cloyne diocese found that “the primary responsibility for the failure to implement the agreed procedures lies with Bishop Magee.”
“It is a remarkable fact,” the report notes, “that Bishop Magee took little or no active interest in the management of clerical child sexual abuse cases until 2008.”
“The commission recognises that the church guidelines were far more stringent than those adopted by the State in that they required that all allegations against priests operating in a diocese be reported to the health authorities as well as to the gardaí,” the Cloyne report said.
Public outrage against the Irish Catholic leadership, particularly against the bishops, is likely behind the absence of any official response from the Conference of Irish Catholic bishops to the suggestion by ministers that priests who refuse to disclose information gained in confession could be jailed.
On July 13th Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald announced that the government will finally install rules making reporting mandatory throughout Ireland. These, they said, will apply even to priests who learn of abuse in the confessional – even though confession is governed by the strictest secrecy under Church law.
The Cloyne report also pointed to a lack of co-operation from the Department of Children with the committee’s investigation – a finding that has received little attention. The department, the Cloyne report said, took refuge in legal confidentiality privileges and refused to disclose the nature of legal advice it had received pertaining to its authority in cases of abuse by non-family members. On the strength of that advice and despite the concerns of individual social workers, the department, the report said, claimed that the law was already sufficient to protect children from non-familial abusers.
The Cloyne Report is the fourth in a series of judicial investigations into decades of sexual, physical and psychological abuse of young people in parishes, orphanages and workhouses. In the first half of the 20th century, the secular authorities paired with the Church to create these institutions throughout Ireland, ostensibly for the care and correction of young people. These included the notorious laundries where young women who were suspected of immoral behavior were incarcerated.
Vatican Cardinal: Divine judgment will fall on priests who do not oppose abortion, homosexuality
July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Robert Sarah is warning that priests who fail in their duty to oppose the breakdown of morality in modern society, particularly pro-abortion and anti-family policies, will receive the condemnation of God.
In a sermon delivered on June 25 to seminarians of the Community of St. Martin, whom he was about to ordain to the priesthood and diaconate, Sarah admonished his listeners, “if we have fear of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel, if we are ashamed of denouncing the grave deviations in the area of morality, if we accommodate ourselves to this world of moral laxity and religious and ethical relativism, if we are afraid to energetically denounce the abominable laws regarding the new global ethos, regarding marriage, the family in all of its forms, abortion, laws in total opposition to the laws of nature and of God, and that the western nations and cultures are promoting and imposing thanks to the mass media and their economic power, then the prophetic words of Ezechiel will fall on us as a grave divine reproach.”
Sarah quoted the prophesy of Ezechiel found in chapter 34:2-4: “‘Son of man, prophesy against the pastors of Israel to pastor themselves. Should not the pastors feed the flock? You have been fed with milk, you have dressed yourselves with wool. You have not strengthened the weak lambs, cared for those who were sick, healed those who were injured. You have not restored those who have strayed, searched for those who were lost. But you have governed them with violence and hardness.’ (Ez. 34: 2-4)”
“These reproaches are serious, but more important is the offense that we have committed against God when, having received the responsibility of caring for the spiritual good of all, we mistreat souls by depriving them of the true teaching of the doctrine of regarding God, regarding man, and the fundamental values of human existence,” the cardinal added. Click here to read the entire sermon.
Cardinal Sarah, who was appointed to the presidency of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum in 2010, is overseeing a radical restructuring of the Catholic Church’s international development aid programs. These have been criticized for a secular mentality that ignores the spiritual needs of recipients, often promoting values that are opposed to Catholicism, including the legalization of abortion and homosexual unions.
In late May, Sarah gave an address to the Church’s largest coalition of aid organizations, Caritas Internationalis, in which he noted a “serious moral regression and gradual ‘silent apostasy’” in the western world. He also noted that foreign aid for Catholics “is not merely philanthropic and humanitarian assistance aimed at relieving a certain kind of distress, but also and above all it entails giving back to human persons all their dignity as children of God, and promoting an anthropology that also encompasses the religious dimension of human persons, namely their encounter with God.”
In his June 25 address, Sarah notes that in modern society “we no longer know what is evil and what is good. There are a multitude of points of view. Today, we call white what we once called black, and vice versa. What is serious, and make no mistake about it, is the transformation of error into a rule of life.
“In this context, as priests, pastors and guides of the People of God, you should be continuously focused on being always loyal to the doctrine of Christ. It is necessary for you to constantly strive to acquire the sensitivity of conscience, the faithful respect for dogma and morality, which constitute the deposit of faith and the common patrimony of the Church of Christ.”
LIVINGSTON COUNTY, New York, July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - New York’s newly-enforced law recognizing same-sex “marriage” is being challenged by lawyers who say the state’s constitutional and legal procedures were “flagrantly” violated when lawmakers pushed the bill through last month.
Liberty Counsel has filed a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court for declaratory and injunctive relief against the law that was signed on June 24 by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Numerous constitutional and legal violations were committed using strong-arm tactics to pass the Act, thus infringing the rights of the citizens of New York, claims Liberty Counsel.
The organization claims the following alleged infringements of the law:
In a violation of the Open Meetings Law, Mayor Bloomberg lobbied all Republican senators for the bill in a secret session.
The Governor pressured Republican Senators to vote for the Act at a private meeting at the Governor’s mansion and with the millions of dollars he had raised from Wall Street financiers.
Mayor Bloomberg’s promise to make campaign contributions to any Republican senator who voted in favor of the Act, which he’s already carried through on, and to opponents of any Republican senator who didn’t vote for the Act.
The Governor’s violation of the constitutionally mandated three-day review period before the Legislature votes on a bill by unjustifiably issuing a message of necessity.
Unprecedented Senate lock-outs during the days leading up to the vote, where lobbyists and the public were shut out from the Senate lobby and denied access to elected representatives.
Rule changes on the Senate floor to prevent debate on the bill and to ensure it was signed in time to get coverage on the evening news.
The full list of alleged violations can be found in the complaint here.
Liberty Counsel is representing New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF), and several other plaintiffs. NYCF is a statewide, issue-oriented, lobbying organization committed to voicing the pro-life and pro-family perspective to New York state elected officials. They represent constituents throughout the state of New York.
“New York law requires that the government be open and transparent to keep political officials responsible,” said Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, in a press release Monday. “When government operates in secret and freezes out the very people it is supposed to represent, the entire system fails.
“The back-room tactics were rampant in the passages of this law. The law should be set aside and the process should begin again to allow the people a voice in the process.”
‘Huge miracle’: another abortion clinic closes after 40 Days for Life campaign
LA PUENTE, California, July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - 40 Days for Life leaders are celebrating another victory after the closure of a California abortion clinic this year where five 40 Days prayer campaigns have taken place.
As white and blue balloons flew in the strong La Puente sun, 40 Days for Life National Director David Bereit and Campaign Director Sean Carney celebrated the facility’s closure with a rally in front of the building July 20.
“Through your prayers, and through your faithfulness, this place where countless children died … is now closed forever, and no more children will die here, and no more women will cry here ever again, to God be the glory, great things he has done,” said Bereit to a cheering crowd.
The Family Planning Medical Clinic is the 14th abortion facility to shut its doors during or after a 40 days for Life campaign.
Bereit told LifeSiteNews.com that the property manager of the building where the abortion facility was located allowed pro-lifers to hold a vigil inside the facility on July 14, where a priest joined them in their prayer of thanksgiving.
Yvonne Viramontes, the campaign director for 40 Days for Life La Puente, said that the clinic’s business had slowed down during the campaigns, and prayer witnesses noticed that abortion days were being moved to days when the vigil presence was weaker.
When news finally came that the clinic was closing for good, Viramontes called it a “huge miracle.”
“I didn’t expect anything, I just wanted to say yes and be here in prayer along with everyone,” she said.
Another 40 Days for Life volunteer at the rally noted that the business has shut down for good, and is not moving to a new location. “The final thing that proved it to us was when we had a vigil here that night [the clinic closed], they left stuff behind, they left tables behind, so they’re obviously not going to be running another clinic, they’re done. It’s truly a blessing,” said the volunteer.
Before the end, volunteers witnessed several babies rescued from abortion thanks to their presence. Viramontes described the happy ending for one couple who decided not to abort their baby despite severe financial troubles.
“Because we were there and offered support, they thought it was God’s response to them, they had been crying the night before and all morning before heading into the abortion clinic,” she said.
“We got to see that baby born, it was amazing, we held it in our arms. ... I didn’t know we were going to be blessed and blessed and blessed.”
Another woman at the rally described how the audible prayers of volunteers changed her and her daughter’s minds just before they entered the abortion clinic: “as we were sitting there, the voices, the prayers were inside my car.”
The woman said her daughter was “very upset” and asked, “Why are they praying so loud?” “I turned around and I told her, honey, they’re not praying loud, it’s God telling you what you need to do, you just need to listen,” she said.
Next to her was a beaming baby girl, dandled in her great-grandmother’s arms. “She is loved by so many people,” she said. “As you can see, she’s adorable.”
To sign up as a local director for a campaign in your city or town, visit the 40 Days for Life website.
Five Texas abortionists face hearings after investigation reveals violations
AUSTIN, July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Five abortionists will be required to appear for hearings before the Texas Medical Board (TMB) regarding multiple violations uncovered at their clinics, health officials told Operation Rescue last week.
The abortionists are scheduled for Informal Settlement Conferences on October 28, 2011, where they must answer to allegations that the Board has brought against them.
Abortionists Margaret Kini, Alan Molson, Robert L. Prince, Douglas Karpen, and H. Brook Randal, are facing the charges based on complaints made by Operation Rescue after a three-month investigation into Texas abortion clinics.
Operation Rescue’s investigation uncovered multiple violations at several Texas abortion clinics across the state, which included the improper dumping of human aborted baby remains, illegal dumping of private patient medical information and records, violations of the 24-hour waiting period and informed consent laws, and other abuses.
The pro-life group filed complaints with the TMB against 14 Texas abortionists as a result of the investigation. Cases remain open and pending against eight. One complaint was dismissed.
“Texas does not corner the market on bad abortionists. The kind of violations we discovered there can be found at nearly every abortion clinic in the nation,” claimed Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
The nature of the allegations remains confidential and will be made public only if the Board determines they have merit at the ISC conference. If that determination is made, a recommendation would be forwarded to the full board, which will decide what disciplinary action, if any, should be taken.
Kini, Molson, and Randal are affiliated with the Whole Women’s Health abortion chain, whose Austin and McAllen facilities have already been cited by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for the improper disposal of aborted baby remains. That citation was also based on Operation Rescue complaints.
Prince and Karpen are affiliated with the Northpark Medical Group abortion clinic in Dallas.
“We expect that the Medical Board complaints against these five abortionists are just the first round. We continue to work with the Board on open investigations against eight others,” said Newman, who said violations were discovered at “every abortion clinic we investigated.”
‘Frankenstein’: UK scientists warn about secret human-animal hybrid research
LONDON, July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a scenario that a panel of scientists with the Academy of Medical Sciences warned bears resemblance to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” British scientists have created more than 150 human-animal hybrid embryos in secret research conducted in British laboratories.
According to the Daily Mail, 155 “admixed” embryos, containing both human and animal genetic material, have been created over the past three years by scientists who said stem cells could be harvested from the embryos to be used in research into possible cures for a wide range of diseases.
The secret research was revealed after a committee of scientists warned of a nightmare scenario in which the creation of human-animal hybrids could go too far.
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge of the National Institute for Medical Research and co-author of a report by the committee of scientists, warned about the experiments and called for stricter oversight of this type of research. He especially zeroed in on human genetic material being implanted into animal embryos, and attempts at giving lab animals human attributes by injecting human stem cells into the brains of monkeys.
It was revealed that labs at King’s College London, Newcastle University and Warwick University were given licenses to carry out the research after the introduction of the 2008 Human Fertilisation Embryology Act that legalized the creation of human-animal hybrids, as well as ‘cybrids’, in which a human nucleus is implanted into an animal cell, and ‘chimeras’, in which human cells are mixed with animal embryos.
However, the scientists did not call for any additional legislation regulating such controversial research, but called instead for a panel of experts to oversee it. Prof Martin Bobrow, chair of the Academy working group that produced the report, said: “The very great majority of experiments present no issues beyond the general use of animals in research and these should proceed under current regulation.
“A limited number of experiments should be permissible subject to scrutiny by the expert body we recommend; and a very limited range should not be undertaken, at least until the potential consequences are more fully understood.”
Peter Saunders, the CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship, a UK-based organization with 4,500 UK doctors, expressed his skepticism about any such regulatory body.
“Scientists regulating scientists is worrying because scientists are generally not experts in theology, philosophy and ethics and they often have ideological or financial vested interests in their research. Moreover they do not like to have restrictions placed on their work,” observed Saunders.
In a question and answer session in Parliament led by Lord David Alton following the release of the report, it was revealed that the human-animal hybrid research has stopped due to lack of funding.
“I argued in Parliament against the creation of human-animal hybrids as a matter of principle,” Lord Alton said. “None of the scientists who appeared before us could give us any justification in terms of treatment. At every stage the justification from scientists has been: if only you allow us to do this, we will find cures for every illness known to mankind. This is emotional blackmail.”
“Ethically it can never be justifiable – it discredits us as a country. It is dabbling in the grotesque,” Lord Alton added. “Of the 80 treatments and cures which have come about from stem cells, all have come from adult stem cells, not embryonic ones. On moral and ethical grounds this fails; and on scientific and medical ones too.”
Josephine Quintavalle, of the pro-life group Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Corethics), told the Daily Mail, “I am aghast that this is going on and we didn’t know anything about it. Why have they kept this a secret? If they are proud of what they are doing, why do we need to ask Parliamentary questions for this to come to light?”
“The problem with many scientists is that they want to do things because they want to experiment. That is not a good enough rationale,” Quintavalle concluded.
Human Rights Watch blasts pro-life attempt to restore Mexico City policy
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Human Rights Watch, a human rights organization that also advocates for legalized access to abortion, has attacked an attempt by U.S. lawmakers to strip federal funding from international population control groups that support abortion.
Last Wednesday the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on language to reinstate the Reagan-era Mexico City policy, which prohibits U.S. foreign aid dollars from going to overseas groups that perform or promote abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother.
The committee also voted to bar funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Foreign Affairs Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012. Previous investigations have concluded UNFPA is complicit in China’s brutal population control policy.
However, Human Rights Watch said U.S. lawmakers should oppose any attempt to cut off funding for abortion promoting organizations, calling the Mexico City Policy the “global gag rule” for abortion groups.
“The Global Gag Rule has exacted a terrible cost in damage to the health of millions of women and the free speech rights of people around the world,” stated Meghan Rhoad, an HRW researcher. “It should be considered a shameful piece of past foreign policy, not a model for the future.”
President Obama struck down the Mexico City policy by Executive Order three days after his inauguration in January 2009. His administration also restored $50 million in annual aid to the UNFPA with no comment about the China allegations, and has ignored further investigations by the Population Research Institute (PRI) confirming the UNFPA’s continued complicity in the gross maltreatment of Chinese citizens.
Earlier in the month, the U.S. Catholics bishops’ committee dealing with social justice issues and Catholic Relief Services urged U.S. House lawmakers to reinstate the ban on UNFPA funding and the Mexico City Policy.
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Catholic Relief Services president Ken Hackett, wrote that their organizations “stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad, advances the common good, and promotes human life and dignity.”
California referendum launched to halt mandatory ‘gay history’ law
SACRAMENTO, July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Conservative leaders in California are gathering support for a referendum to block the state’s new law that mandates that history curricula highlight homosexual figures, and that forbids any teaching that reflects negatively upon homosexuality.
Governor Jerry Brown this month signed SB 48, which mandates an emphasis on “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” role models in K-12 history and social science textbooks. Because California constitutes a large share of the national textbook market, the mandate, although unique to California, would likely cause the printing and distribution of “gay-friendly” textbooks for consumption across America.
In response, the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) with several other pro-family organizations quickly launched a referendum for a SB 48 repeal. Papers have been filed with the California Attorney General’s Office, where officials will craft an official title and summary.
Once a title and summary are received from the Attorney General, supporters will have until October 12 to gather approximately 500,000 valid signatures to place the referendum on the ballot. In the meantime, SB 48, set to go into effect on January 1, is automatically suspended.
A growing coalition of pro-family leaders across the state are supporting the official campaign at StopSB48.com, according to PJI.
“We have been seeing a groundswell of opposition to the enactment of SB 48, and now it is time to act,” said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, in a statement.
Dacus encouraged supporters to visit StopSB48.com for more information on joining the coalition. “We cannot afford to stay silent or stand on the sidelines.”
Rick Perry on gay ‘marriage’ in NY: ‘That’s their call; it’s fine with me.’
ASPEN, Colorado, July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Potential GOP presidential contender and Texas Governor Rick Perry has stated that while he supports defending traditional marriage as the union of a man and a woman, he believes that U.S. states must come to their own decision without interference from the federal government.
“I’m pro-traditional marriage,” Perry told a group of GOP governors and donors at the Aspen Institute, in Aspen, Colorado last Friday. “The fact is, we passed a constitutional amendment in the state of Texas that says marriage is between one man and one woman.”
Perry, however, noted that lawmakers in New York recently legalized same-sex “marriage,” a statute that took effect this past weekend, saying, “That’s their call.”
“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me.”
“If you believe in the 10th amendment, stay out of their business if you live in some other state or particularly if you’re the federal government.”
Perry’s defense of states deciding the definition of marriage provoked disappointment from some conservatives and pro-traditional marriage advocates.
“I realize that Rick Perry is a big state’s rights’ guy, but that is a fascinatingly shocking thing for someone supposedly running for the Republican nomination to say, and the weekend a new definition of marriage debuted in the state of New York,” stated Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online in a post. “Seems to be conflict with the idea that he would be an obvious choice for social conservatives.”
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum jumped on Perry’s statements in a Twitter post asking, “So Gov Perry, if a state wanted to allow polygamy or if they chose to deny heterosexuals the right to marry, would that be OK too?”
However, Perry has his defenders. Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post asserted that the Texas governor’s stance is consistent with the states’ rights approach that pro-life groups have been using in an attempt to shake off the federal court-imposed legalization of abortion on all 50 U.S. states.
“If conservatives really believe courts should not ‘make up’ rights unspecified in the Constitution and should let elected entities decide public policy, then it seems Perry’s position is not only practical but also intellectually consistent,” said Rubin.
In an interview Sunday with the New Hampshire Sunday News, Perry again defended the Tenth Amendment approach to the debate over marriage, saying that while Texas passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, it is likewise “New York’s prerogative” to define marriage to include same-sex couples.
However, he also offered a contrast to other political leaders that have said they separate their faith from their lives as public servants.
“I can no sooner separate my public life from my values — I can’t do that,” Perry said.
Perry asserted he was “a full-throated unapologetic fiscal conservative”, and “an unapologetic social conservative” both “pro-life” and “pro-traditional marriage.”
Abby Johnson: Yes, I oppose ALL abortions! But being pro-life doesn’t stop there
July 21, 2011 (AbbyJohnson.org) - I get asked this question a lot. Am I really pro-life? Am I against abortion in all circumstances? Yes. Do I believe there are any exceptions for abortion? No. Do you want to make abortion illegal? Yes. But for me, it doesn’t stop there. Being “pro-life” means standing up for all life, valuing all life.
I am not one for labels, but in this case, I think they are important. I am pro-life. I believe in the protection of all life. I am against abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty. I am pro-quality of life. I believe all children deserve quality health care. I don’t believe in reducing assistance benefits for those who are disabled or who have special needs. I am not simply anti-abortion. I abhor clinic violence. I have a genuine urgency to see every clinic worker and abortionist turn away from abortion. I do not believe harassment, violence, threats, or anything of the sort is the way we are to behave in this movement. Abortion is bad because is a terrible act of violence. Violence begets violence. If we simply turn to violence, we are no better than the abortionists themselves.
I am not just pro-birth. I believe in supporting a woman during and after pregnancy. It’s not just about “saving” the baby. It is about empowering the mother as well. I am not against abortion because it takes an innocent life, I am against abortion because it takes a life. Innocence has nothing to do with it. Their lives are not more valuable because they are innocent. They will not always be innocent…but their lives will still hold the same value. I think people use this whole “innocent” argument so they can justify the death penalty. But, I always say, if you have to justify something, it is probably wrong. When the death penalty is imposed, innocent people die. That has happened over and over again. Why? Because people are flawed. Only God should give and take life. That is the exact argument we give when we discuss abortion. I could go on and on about the death penalty, but that isn’t the point of this post. Maybe I will do that another time.
I recently talked to a woman who runs a group that assists women after they have their baby. Being pro-life is not just about assisting a woman during her pregnancy, it is helping her after the baby is born, too. If we are only interested in her giving birth to her child, then we need to simply consider ourselves pro-birth. If we are truly pro-life, then the woman’s needs continue far after her child is born.
Many pregnancy centers will assist the new mother will material support and even classes, but many times that is not enough. We need these moms to be self-sufficient, off government programs, skilled for jobs, educated, and able to stand on their own…and support a child. This is exactly what I discussed with the lovely women who run Teen Mother Choices International. We talked about the necessity of self-sufficiency for these moms. Almost all of their new moms rely on some sort of government assistance when they enter the program. This can be such a dangerous cycle. I honestly never had a really clear way to describe my feelings about governmental help until I talked about it with these women. It’s not about the money for me or taxes. I want people to get the help they need, no matter the monetary cost for me. But I knew there was something else that bothered me…I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
Scripture says the church is to care for the widows and orphans. Society has redefined the word “widow” to mean a woman whose husband has died. But the actual definition is a woman without a husband. There are many widows in our country, and the church is instructed to care for them. Many of these widows have children. These government programs have simply allowed the Church to ignore their duties and responsibilities. We have allowed the government to take care of these women (and do a poor job of it) instead of following our command to care for them. Now looked what has happened. We have cycles of poverty…women and children living in dangerous neighborhoods because they rely on this minimal standard of living…families who are uninsured…children who don’t have enough to eat. And, why? Because we haven’t done our jobs.
TMCI is changing that, and it is so beautiful to see. They are setting up support communities inside churches to help young mothers stop this cycle. The success is phenomenal. They have had hundreds of girls go through their program. They get them job training, take care of their medical needs by people in the church, help with childcare, help with education…and they do it with no government assistance. In fact, almost all of the young women who go through their program come out with stable jobs, education and training they need, parenting skills, money in savings accounts, medical care, and a church community they are a part of and thriving in…all without the use of government assistance. This is a model we should all be using and duplicating. I am so impressed by the work they are doing. I encourage you to look at their website. If you are a pregnancy center, they can come and help you. You can use their program. They will come in to your center and help you make this happen. It will totally change your center…and you clients. Please go to their website and check them out, www.teenmotherchoices.org.
The pro-life movement needs to be about collaboration; working together, finding out who does what best. We can’t all be the best at everything. TMCI is the very best at helping these young women get on their feet after they become mothers. We don’t want these young women to end up pregnant again within the next year after having a baby. The sad thing is that the statistics are not in their favor, unless they get the skills, support and training that they need. Let’s help them.
Are we pro-life, anti-abortion, pro-birth…I hope you are pro-life. I hope your concern for this movement doesn’t stop once the child is born. Let’s make a difference for the future and help break this cycle. Go check out TMCI and find out how you can get involved. Honestly, I am not a person who is easily impressed, but these women with TMCI have completely blown me away with their method. And the results speak for themselves. Maybe you can bring TMCI to your community…to your pregnancy center…to your church. You won’t be disappointed.
Never, never, never give up: the defense of marriage today
July 25, 2011 (Breakpoint.org) - Is it time for the “marriage battleground” to shift to religious freedom? That’s the question posed by a recent Christianity Today article in the wake of New York’s approval of same-sex “marriage.” According to University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, the answer is “Yes.” He says, “Religious conservatives who advocate traditional marriage must shift their focus to fighting for religious freedom.”
That’s because Laycock and, sadly, many others mistakenly believe in the inevitability of same-sex “marriage.” They think that the best Christians can do now is make sure gay “marriage” laws at least provide a modicum of protection for the freedoms of those of us who believe in traditional marriage.
Yes, same-sex “marriage,” so-called, poses a grave threat to religious freedom. There have already been cases where photographers and others have been sued for refusing to participate in same-sex “wedding” ceremonies. Catholic Charities in several states has been pushed out of the adoption business because they only place children with a married mom and dad. Make no mistake: protecting religious freedom is a major priority.
But this is exactly why abandoning the battle over traditional marriage is foolish and dangerous. My colleague and Princeton professor Robert George sums it up perfectly: “If you ask,” he said, “‘What can be done going forward around the country to protect religious liberty?’ the answer is this: Win the fight to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. Period.”
Remember: What the state gives, the state can also take away. The religious freedom protection in the New York bill, for example, is poorly drafted and vague. What will it protect? Who will it protect? For how long? We can’t say at this point, and once it gets into the courts — and it will get into the courts — it’s even harder to predict.
Second, shifting the debate to religious freedom takes the spotlight off the importance of marriage. As Tom Messner of the Heritage Foundation told National Review, “The marriage debate is first and foremost a debate about the meaning and public purpose of marriage, not a debate about religious freedom. …[E]ven if same-sex marriage posed no threats to religious freedom at all, the core reasons to support marriage as one man and one woman remain just as compelling and must be addressed.” Exactly.
Third, as Messner points out, same-sex marriage is not inevitable. “Nearly 30 states,” he says, “have protected marriage in their state constitutions. Nearly 40 states have protected marriage in their statutes.” And in Maine, after the legislature passed same-sex “marriage,” the voters struck the law down. And although the media elite don’t want you to know it, according to a recent Alliance Defense Fund poll, the majority of Americans want to reserve marriage to one man and one woman.
To give up the fight for marriage now after a few setbacks is crazy. The debate about marriage in America is not over. Now more than ever, Christians need to be equipped to defend marriage and to live out the truth about marriage, sex, and family in our own lives.
This is no time for defeatism or retreat, but for action.
Reprinted with permission from Breakpoint.org
Shocking photo: late-term aborted baby lies in open casket at city hall funeral
Orlando, FL, July 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On this past Thursday, July 21, Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, preached at a memorial service for an aborted baby girl.
The child was intact and her body was retrieved after a late-term abortion. The memorial service, organized by Operation Save America, was held outside of City Hall in Orlando.
“We are here because this baby was killed in the darkness, and we come to honor her in the bright light of day,” Fr. Pavone declared in his remarks. “The abortion industry wants to hide the violence done to these children, but we must be committed to expose it. Therefore we need to hold many more of these services, with tens of thousands of people looking at these children and recommitting themselves to end abortion.”
“Those who are moved to grief by such scenes need to know there is hope for healing after abortion,” Vicky Thorn, Founder of Project Rachel commented LifeSiteNews. “We are here to help you embark on that road to healing. Give God the permission to heal you,” she added.
During the service, the name “Esther” was given to the child.
Fr. Frank invited any pro-life activists who obtain the remains of aborted children to be in contact with him to arrange for a proper wake service and burial.
It’s not the first time that aborted babies are afforded funerals. In 2008, Detroit Bishop John Quinn offered a funeral for 18 aborted babies whose bodies were discovered in dumpsters at the Woman Care abortuary. Later that same year, Fr. Pavone offered a funeral for three aborted babies at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament that EWTN’s Mother Angelica built in Hanceville, Alabama. In 2010, Michigan Bishop Earl Boyea celebrated a funeral mass for 17 aborted children.
Legislation on the matter was passed in 2001 in the Czech Republic when President Vaclav Havel signed into law a bill regarding funeral arrangements which included a clause ensuring that the remains of aborted babies receive a proper burial. In 2010, in Michigan a bill was proposed to protect the remains of aborted babies from being simply discarded as biohazardous waste.