Kathleen Gilbert

Abortion lobby pillories conservatives for shooting of pro-abort U.S. Rep Giffords

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert
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TUCSON, Arizona, January 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, a fiscally conservative Democrat with a strong pro-abortion record, has been critically injured in a shooting that took the lives of at least six individuals during a political appearance in Tuscon Saturday morning. While the National Organization for Women (NOW), one of the country’s leading pro-abortion groups, and other liberal commentators quickly blamed the conservative tea party movement, evidence available on the Internet is initially painting a portrait of the alleged gunman as an enigmatic, anti-religion figure described as decidedly “left-wing” and a “quite liberal” drug abuser.

An additional twelve individuals were critically injured in the attack that took place at 10 am MST, at the start of a scheduled “Congress on Your Corner” event featuring Giffords at a local Safeway grocery store. Among the dead are Justice John Roll, Arizona’s chief federal trial judge, and an unidentified 9-year-old girl.

Giffords was reportedly shot once through the head at point-blank range and was airlifted to the University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson for emergency surgery. In a press conference hours later, UMC surgeon Dr. Peter Rhee said that congresswoman was in critical condition but responding to commands, and the surgeon was “very optimistic” about her recovery.

Giffords, a three-term congresswoman with a 100% pro-choice NARAL record, barely defeated her tea party-backed opponent and Marine veteran Jesse Kelly in November. However, she sides with conservative voices on some issues: Giffords is a proponent of tougher immigration control and, as an opponent of out-of-control government spending, joined a Republican-led reading of the Constitution on the House floor two days ago.

Justice John Roll faced a slew of death threats in 2009 after ruling that a civil rights case brought against an Arizona rancher by illegal immigrants could move forward.

The alleged gunman, identified as 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, was tackled by others present at the scene as he attempted to flee, and is now in custody. Officials say he claims to have acted alone.

President Obama, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, and several other Republican and Democrat figures including tea party favorite Sarah Palin offered prayers for Giffords, her family, and other victims and their loved ones within hours of the shooting. “An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve,” said House Majority Leader John Boehner.

Despite a dearth of information on the gunman’s motives, fingers were quickly pointed at Giffords’ tea party opposition as news of the bloodbath sent a shockwave through Twitter and other Internet media outlets.

The New York Post reported that, when asked whether Giffords had any enemies, the congresswoman’s weeping father Spencer Giffords responded, “Yeah, the whole tea party.” He added that politicians “always get” threatened and that there was little information.

Several Internet commentators blamed militia-style rhetoric of the movement’s favorites such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Top liberal voices such as the Daily Kos immediately laid the shooting at the feet of the broad grassroots movement that erupted primarily in reaction to tax-and-spend policies in the Bush and Obama administrations. “Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin,” tweeted Daily Kos founder Mark Moulistas after the event.

The president of the top pro-abortion lobby group National Organization for Women went so far as to openly blame “extreme right-wing opponents” hours after the shooting, chastising Republican leaders and calling for a Justice Department investigation “to the fullest extent of federal anti-terrorist legislation” to determine whether the shooting was “part of a conspiracy.”

“Conservatives cannot have it both ways, screaming sexist, racist and homophobic slurs at legislators as they vote for health care reform, putting legislators on a violence-inciting ‘Targets’ list, and then simply saying how sorry they are when someone explodes into murder,” declared NOW president Terry O’Neill in a statement emailed to supporters.

Meanwhile, the blogosphere quickly dug up Internet footprints that appear to belong to the gunman, who is believed to be a military veteran, and paint a still-blurry picture of an unstable left-wing activist and drug abuser.

On a Youtube channel created by one “Jared Lee Loughner” from Tucson appear several video manifestos that reference the Constitution and suggest mistrust of government and currency. In one, titled “My Final Thoughts” and posted last month, Loughner poses several bizarre syllogisms and states among them, “I didn’t write a belief on my army application, and the recruiter wrote on the application: none. ... No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver! No! I won’t trust in God!”

A second video discusses religion as a product of “mind control” and another, not created by the user but listed as a “favorite,” shows a flag being burned to the lyrics, “let the bodies hit the floor.” Among favorite books listed on the Youtube account are an anti-communist work by atheist philosopher Ayn Rand, The Communist Manifesto, and Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.

Local news service KTLA.com reported that a friend of Loughner’s tweeted that the alleged gunman “was a pot head and into rock, like Hendrix, The Doors, Anti-Flag,” and whom she knew in 2007 to be “left wing, quite liberal and oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy.”

“He had a lot of friends until he got alcohol poisoning in 2006 and dropped out of school. Mainly a loner, very philosophical,” wrote the friend. KTLA also reported that Loughner was charged with drug possession in 2007.

A Washington Post article noted that Trent Humphries, an organizer for the Tucson Tea Party, said that among the group’s 4,000-person contact list none by the name of Jared Loughner were found. Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, lambasted the knee-jerk media reaction blaming the conservative movement.

“If we ever needed an official political obituary to political civility in this country, we’ve seen it,” said Phillips. “The facts weren’t even out there, Rep. Giffords had been carted away in a stretcher, we didn’t even know her condition, but the war had already started. The folks on the hard left were already out there blaming the tea party.”

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President Obama speaks at Planned Parenthood's national conference in 2013.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Obama remakes the nation’s courts in his image

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By Dustin Siggins
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It has often been said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is President Obama's greatest achievement as president. However, that claim may soon take second place to his judicial nominees, and especially their effect on marriage in the United States.

In a new graphic, The Daily Signal notes that while President George W. Bush was able to get 50 nominees approved by this time in his second term, Obama has gotten more than 100 approved. According to The Houston Chronicle, "Democratic appointees who hear cases full time now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals. When Obama took office, only one of those courts had more full-time judges nominated by a Democrat."

Three of the five judges who struck down state marriage laws between February 2014 and the Supreme Court's Windsor decision in 2013 were Obama appointees, according to a CBS affiliate in the Washington, D.C. area. Likewise, the Windsor majority that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act included two Obama appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Obama has nominated 11 homosexual judges, the most of any president by far, says the National Law Journal.

Only one federal judge has opposed same-sex "marriage" since the Supreme Court's Windsor decision. He was appointed under the Reagan administration.

This accomplishment, aided by the elimination of Senate filibusters on judicial nominees, could affect how laws and regulations are interpreted by various courts, especially as marriage heads to a probable Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of state laws.

Democrats eliminated the filibuster for all judicial nominees except for Supreme Court candidates last year, saying Republicans were blocking qualified candidates for the bench. However, the filibuster was part of the reason Democrats were able to keep the number of approved Bush appointees so low.

The Supreme Court may hear multiple marriage questions in its 2015 cycle. 

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Lisa Bourne

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

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By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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