Ben Johnson

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American, global media assail Pope Benedict XVI for standing for life, family

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The nation's three major television networks, its most influential newspapers, and its most trafficked websites attacked Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Catholic Church following the surprise announcement that the pope was resigning the papacy at the end of the month – many targeting the church's teachings on abortion and homosexuality.

On CBS, Scott Pelly said, “The pope was very conservative in a doctrinal sort of way when a lot of American Catholics are looking for a pope to lead into a new era – of maybe for women in the church, for example.” NBC’s Brian Williams called Pope Benedict XVI an “old-fashioned man in modern times.”

According to an analysis by the Media Research Center, the worst offender was ABC News, where anchor Diane Sawyer, who is a member of the Catholic Church, said, “There has to be fundamental change” to the Church's moral teachings. Jeffrey Kofman added that Pope Benedict had “tried to hold back the forces of modernity” during his pontificate.

“The liberal media’s snarling, bigoted anti-Catholicism is on full display, and ABC World News has won the race to the bottom,” said MRC President Brent Bozell. “Disney-owned ABC News used the opportunity to bludgeon the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict with every left-wing grievance imaginable. It was a disgusting and deeply offensive assault on the Church.”

Bozell said the media “owe 1.2 billion Catholics an apology” and that Diane Sawyer “should go to Confession.”

However, the Big Three were far from the only media outlets assailing the pope for not bending to the times and instead upholding and defending Catholic teaching, particularly on sexual ethics.

An unsigned editorial in The Washington Post rapped the pope, because he had “rejected calls by Catholic progressives for reconsideration of doctrines such as celibacy and the ban on women in the priesthood; at a time when acceptance of the rights of gays and lesbians is rapidly spreading across the world, he was outspoken in condemning homosexuality as 'unnatural' and unacceptable.”

The editorial stated his “most important achievements” including a statement that in some cases, such as that of a male prostitute, using a condom may be a "first step" toward moralization, and “exonerating the Jewish people for the death of Jesus.”

“Catholics who seek a different answer will have to hope that a college of cardinals dominated by the pope’s appointees will choose a more progressive successor,” the paper concluded.

Bill Keller, New York Times' executive editor from 2003 to 2011, said he believes history would judge the pope “unkindly.”

“He will be described as a diehard traditionalist, a reactionary in a time of revolutionary yearnings,” he wrote. “He gave no encouragement to the nuns who sought to break through the stained-glass ceiling, to gays who wanted the church to come to terms with their humanity, to Catholics who questioned the Vatican orthodoxy on contraception, divorce, priestly celibacy, the ordination of women and, of course, abortion.”

While he was glad some parishes “soft-pedal the chauvinism of Rome,” he hoped the Papacy would be given to someone “less austere, more politically adept, maybe even one not drawn from the great pool of European white men.”

Yet he warned the College of Cardinals “is not a bastion of enlightenment. Don’t expect a Vatican Spring.”

The Times op-ed page gave playwright John Patrick Shanley the chance to publish a piece in which he declared, “I have watched the wealth of the Catholic Church turned into a subsidy for wrongdoing and a prop for the continuing campaign against women’s rights and homosexuality." He, too, warned that if the church does not elect a more liberal pope, “the Catholic Church will suffer the fate it deserves.”

They were joined by New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, who wrote on his Facebook page, “I'm hoping that this bold move by Pope Benedict will lead to more bold change by the church in coming years – on contraception, on female and non-celibate priests, and on gays...The church has such influence worldwide that it would be great to see a Vatican III!”

The most well-trafficked websites – in the United States and around the world – also piled on.

“Why Is Everyone So Saddened By the Pope's Resignation?” asked Edward Falzon on The Huffington Post. “Good bye; I'll not say 'good luck,'” he wrote. “Perhaps after you relinquish the protection of the Vatican, you can be brought in for questioning like so many have wanted for so long.”

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The pro-abortion website Jezebel claimed the pontiff's main duty is “denying women birth control.”

A number of writers virulently condemned the pope under the guise of applying for the open position.

“As a queer woman of Jewish descent I might not be the obvious choice to spread the Lord’s message to millions of Catholics worldwide,” wrote Laurie Penny, a contributing editor to the widely read British publication the New Statesman. “The fact that I don’t believe in God might be considered an impediment.”

Penny, a left-wing feminist columnist, added that she had “no previous experience in promoting life-threatening medical misinformation to millions” and had “never been in the Hitler Youth.” However, she “once drew stigmata on my hands and face in felt-tip to freak-out my Catholic classmates.”

“Some might consider the basic principles of compassion and charity for all men and women an obstacle to the vital duties of discouraging condom use, opposing women’s right to choose and providing cod-spiritual justification for the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Not being a Christian, all I have to stop me spreading dogmatic misogyny and homophobia in the name of morality is my own personal sense of what’s right and wrong,” she added.

The accompanying photograph depicted Penny wearing the papal crown while smoking a cigarette.

Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist and writer for the UK Guardian, wrote that while he is an atheist he is “dedicated to declining institutions and have a robust if unrealistic belief in resurrection.”

He stated he has “experience speaking in an unfamiliar language to rooms full of people who are struggling to stay awake, so it would be no trouble for me to offer Mass whenever required.”

“At the last count, I also have the required number of testicles to be pope (at least two). I also have experience with covering up crimes,” he wrote. “I believe these qualities and more make me an ideal candidate for the position.”

He added that while he is “not a homosexual,” he “did once” have a homosexual encounter.

Since his elevation to the papacy in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI has unequivocally affirmed the importance of family life, saying the drive to redefine human sexuality threatens “the future of humanity.”

His faithful stance led LGBT activist John Becker to assail the pope as “notoriously homophobic” in The Huffington Post.

“The expressions of joy I'm seeing from many in the LGBT community about Benedict XVI's impending departure from the Chair of Peter strike me, sadly, as rather misplaced,” he wrote. “Institutional homophobia in the Roman Catholic Church isn't likely to go away anytime soon.”

Sex figured in the critique of Richard Dawkins, the philosophical leader of the New Atheists, who tweeted :“I feel sorry for the Pope and all old Catholic priests. Imagine having a wasted life to look back on and no sex.”

The papal resignation – the first in 600 years – has set some dissident Catholics dreaming of a social liberal taking the See of Peter.

“Hoping for a more progressive successor,” actress Mia Farrow wrote on her Twitter page. “Imagine a pope more like Arch[bishop] Desmond Tutu.”

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones had more meager goals, hoping for “a new, less terrible pope.”

Some regretted that the papal vacancy will result from a choice, rather than the pope's death.

Frankie Boyle, a BBC star and Scottish comedian, sent a message to His Holiness via Twitter. “Don't worry, in a few months you'll be laughing about this. With Hitler in Hell,” he said.

The website Twitchy, owned by Catholic conservative Michelle Malkin, aggregated several more slurs and death threats from Twitter users. 

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A protester rallies against Hobby Lobby, protesting against the Supreme Court decision Dan Holm/Shutterstock
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

DNC chairwoman exhorts constituents to boycott local Hobby Lobby store

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision was nearly two months ago, but the issue as hot as ever, as was demonstrated yesterday when Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz, D-FL, urged constituents to boycott a Hobby Lobby store in her district.

In a press conference one lot away from the Hobby Lobby location in Davie, which opened in April, Wasserman-Schultz said that she wanted "people to know that this Hobby Lobby is here and they should vote with their purses and their pocketbooks, and women should not shop here."

"If you didn’t know this Hobby Lobby was here before, know it now and don’t shop here. They don’t deserve women’s business because they are the ones that all across the country have made it harder for women to get access to birth control,” she said.

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Wasserman-Schultz said that Hobby Lobby's corporate ownership "doesn’t support its employees" and "wants to be able to get in the personal business of their employees and make health care decisions and replace their own values, replace their employees’ health care decisions, with their values…."

She also criticized the Supreme Court's late June decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, which had sued the federal government over the Obama administration's HHS Mandate.

The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, say it violates their conscience to pay for coverage for the four abortifacients and potential abortifacients that the mandate required them to cover.

"The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case was not only disappointing, it was dangerous," said the Democrat. "No boss should have the right to dictate and employee’s health decisions because [they] don’t belong in the bedrooms, doctor’s offices or pharmacies of their employees.

"A woman and her doctor know what’s best for their body. Not an insurance company. Not a politician. And certainly not a manager at a Hobby Lobby."

The Supreme Court's decision allowed closely held corporations to not fund coverage of contraception or abortion drugs and devices.

Wasserman-Schultz's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Through a spokesperson, the Green family declined to comment about the Congresswoman's statements. 

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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

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America is rejecting abortion because pro-lifers are having more children: study

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

According to a new Northwestern University study, American attitudes about abortion are trending more conservatively than other contentious social issues, a phenomenon the authors credit to the simple fact that pro-lifers have more kids.

“We find evidence that the abortion attitudes have lagged behind a liberalizing trend of other correlated attitudes,” the authors wrote. Using GSS data collected between 1977 and 2010, “We test[ed] the hypothesis that the comparatively high fertility of pro-life individuals has led to a more pro-life population.”

The authors wrote: “Support for abortion rights has turned flat after a period of increase following Roe v. Wade, and in recent years there are even indications of a reversal toward more restrictive attitudes. This U-turn is evinced particularly among younger cohorts, and is happening despite liberalizing trends in several ostensibly related issue domains.”

The authors speculated that the reason for the increase in pro-life attitudes among young people is that their parents had more children than their pro-abortion counterparts. When they examined the data, they found that pro-life individuals had, on average, 27 percent more children than those who considered themselves “pro-choice.”

Not only that, but pro-life parents appear to be much more likely to pass their views on to their children. The researchers found that the younger generation’s pro-life shift was too strong to be blamed solely on differences in fertility – meaning children of pro-abortion parents are rejecting their parents’ views.

“[E]ither pro-life beliefs are always more faithfully transmitted than pro-choice ones; or, there has been a cultural shift towards more pro-life beliefs that is being reflected in the parent-child correlations,” the authors wrote.

The study concluded that if it wasn’t for the higher fertility rate among pro-life people, the nation as a whole would favor abortion by about five percentage points more than it does currently – and researchers predict the pro-life trend will continue.

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“Taken together, these findings suggest that fertility has had at least some part in leading the population in a more pro-life direction over time,” the authors wrote. “Further investigation into this pattern indicates that not only are abortion attitudes associated with fertility, but in proportional terms—which is what matters for cultural change—the gap is widening.”

“Fertility has declined for both pro-choice and pro-life groups over the past 30 years, but fertility has declined far less markedly for pro-life individuals,” they added. “Whereas pro-[life] individuals born before 1940 were only having about 1.2 children per one child born to a pro-choice parent, this ratio has grown to over 1.5 for those born in the mid to late 1970s. This pattern suggests that future cohorts may place an even stronger demographic drag on the liberalization of abortion attitudes.”

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A declaration that PP is an 'enemy of the Church' would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication. American Life League
Lisa Bourne

New campaign asks Pope Francis to declare Planned Parenthood an ‘enemy of the Church’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

The Catholic pro-life organization American Life League (ALL) is launching a campaign calling for the Catholic Church to declare Planned Parenthood an “enemy of the Church.”

Using prayer and education, ALL’s Defend the Family campaign seeks to expose the nation’s largest abortion provider for contribution to the destruction of human lives, as well as the family. 

The campaign, said Jim Sedlack, vice-president of ALL, is quite simply “a way of calling attention to the fact that this is a very bad organization.”

“Planned Parenthood is attacking the family, either by killing preborn children or by robbing the souls of the older children,” he said. 

A declaration that PP is an “enemy of the Church” would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication.

Such a declaration would not be unprecedented. Popes in the past have identified and condemned organizations that posed a grave threat to the Church, most recently Pope Pius XII in 1949 with Communism and Pope Clement XII in 1738 with Freemasonry.

While specifics would depend on the wording of the Papal pronouncement, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews if the Holy Father makes the declaration there would be no mistaking its intent.

“When the pope makes the declaration it becomes crystal clear,” Sedlak said. “There’ll be no shades of gray, it’ll be black and white, it’ll be clear to the world.”

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'Now is the time'

There are still people who are not fully aware of the extent of the societal damage inflicted by Planned Parenthood, said Sedlak, including members of the Church hierarchy. He said it’s important to emphasize the truth of what the abortion giant does.

“That’s why we’re focusing on the enemy,” said Sedlak. “When people really stop and focus on Planned Parenthood, they realize it’s the enemy.”

ALL cites Planned Parenthood’s targeting of children to sexualize them as a major cause of the destruction of the family and a fundamental reason for the Defend the Family campaign.

“They really push for getting young people into lives of sexual sin,” Sedlak said. “Young people who aren’t pulled into sexual activity do not provide a cent of income to Planned Parenthood, but young people who are pulled in provide millions of dollars to the Planned Parenthood empire.”

ALL compiled a comprehensive report on Planned Parenthood titled, “The Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood,” as part of the Defend the Family campaign.

“The document builds the case,” said Sedlak. “Why Planned Parenthood, why now is the time.”

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that for its part Planned Parenthood has always recognized that its greatest enemy is the Catholic Church, even working to have the Church lose its status at the UN.

“They fight anybody who wants to take sex away from the kids in any way possible,” Sedlak said. “That’s one reason why Planned Parenthood is the sex mafia.”

And when Sedlak uses the term “mafia,” he means it literally, pointing out that the Holy Father condemned the mafia in his June 21, 2014, homily in Calabria, Italy, denouncing its, “Adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

“Planned Parenthood kills far more people than the mafia,” Sedlak said.

Also underscoring the need for the Vatican to act on declaring Planned Parenthood an enemy of the Church, is the convening of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family this October in Rome, which will lead into the general synod in 2015.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that these, along with the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, are events that ALL will rally around to raise awareness of the Defend the Family campaign.

Preliminary response to the campaign has been very positive, he said.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that the “Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood” report was so well received upon initial presentation to Vatican officials, that ALL was asked to translate it into three more languages.

“The support we’ve gotten from talking to bishops has been overwhelming,” Sedlak said.

Prayer is priority #1

The Defend the Family campaign consists first and foremost of prayer, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews.

“Our approach is that we need prayer support,” he said. “The only way that we’re going to succeed is through prayer to the Blessed Mother; the only way it will succeed is if God wants it to succeed.”

Participants are asked to say regular prayers after Mass, to offer prayers for the pope and to initiate communication with local bishops about the dangers that Planned Parenthood poses to the faithful.

Sedlak also added that The Defend the Family campaign is for everyone, not just Catholics.

He said pro-life supporters of all faith traditions are invited to contact ALL for assistance in encouraging their religious denomination or church leader to declare Planned Parenthood an enemy.

In addition to prayers for the campaign, ALL is asking people to sign and submit ALL’s Declaration of Encouragement to the Holy Father, enroll in the Spiritual Bouquet for the Holy Father and to share ALL resources on Planned Parenthood.

Information, links and resources are available on the campaign website, defendthefamily.org.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that ALL is giving the success of the Defend the Family campaign up to God.

“This is all happening in God’s time, and so far he’s been blessing us mightily,” Sedlak said. “And we’re going to go wherever God takes us.”

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