Steve Jalsevac

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Spirited, diverse crowd at Ontario Legislature demands Bill 13 defeat

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac
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* See follow up report with video highlights.

TORONTO, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A crowd of an estimated 2000 or so concerned parents from a wide range of ethnic and faith communities demonstrated outside Ontario’s legislature Thursday demanding the defeat of the Liberal government’s “anti-bullying” Bill 13. The speakers and spirited, chanting crowd, many with homemade signs, expressed fears of a dangerous loss of freedoms from the government bill and its imposition on all Ontario schools of a sexual culture radically opposed to their own beliefs.

Kim Galvao, the main organizer from Concerned Catholic Parents of Ontario, expected just a few hundred but was overwhelmed to see the far larger number of protesters show up with hundreds of signs. Galvao told LifeSiteNews that she started organizing the rally only two weeks ago and networked with several other groups to get the word out.

Galvao said she is “just a mother” and decided to to try to get a rally going because the government was not responding to her serious concerns about Bill 13. “There was just silence and so I just felt I needed to do something.”

Galvao stated, “I am alarmed to see a sexual agenda imposed on our schools by the Liberal government. ... As a mom I do not want my children taught that there are seven different genders. As a mom, I do no want my young children taught the disputed theory that a person’s gender is not connected to their physical anatomy.”

There were notably large numbers of participants from the Chinese Catholic, Chinese Protestant and Korean Christian communities. The rally was attended by Christians of several denominations and the many ethnic and religious communities represented included Sikhs, Muslims, Koreans, Chinese, Somalians, Nigerians, Pakistanis, Portuguese, Spanish communities, Filipinos, and more.

Several speakers gave passionate speeches warning of the loss of liberty, parental rights and freedom of religion that would result from what they claimed is the unconstitutional proposed legislation.

Speakers included: Kim Galvao, Concerned Catholic Parents of Ontario; Jack Fonseca, Campaign Life Catholics; Dr. Charles McVety, Institute for Canadian Values; Reverend Dominic Tse, North York Chinese Community Church; Teresa Pierre of Parents As First Educators; Allan Tam, Chinese community leader and School Trustee at York Region District School Board; Phil Lees, Family Coalition Party leader and several religious leaders from various Christian denominations, as well as a Sikh speaker.

Charles McVety, holding a copy of Bill 13 and a copy of the resource guide from the Toronto District School Board titled, Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism, said there were three main things he strongly rejected: the violation of parental rights, the attack on religious liberty and the restriction that any person or group renting schools would also have to abide by the new legislation.

Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Catholic charged that “McGuinty’s Bill 13 is about social engineering. It is about indoctrinating kids to reject the moral and religious beliefs of their parents on human sexuality, in favour of the government’s ideology.” He added, “that’s why the bill contains bizarre things like the 7-gender theory.”

Fonseca continued: “Dalton McGuinty is requiring the Catholic church to violate its religious beliefs. ... Where does he think we are? The former Soviet Union?”

Dominic Tse, pastor of North York Community Chinese Church accused the Liberal government of using Communist totalitarian tactics similar to those those used in the Communist China that many in his community fled from.

Tse told the crowd to loud cheers, “What do we call these things? We call them dictatorship. We call it totalitarianism. Where we come from we know what that means, right? We are not going to allow the government to Bill 13 us, to dictate to us what we need to do and what we need to think.”

Theresa Pierre call Bill 13 “a grave violation of our conscience rights” and that is “going to cause social upheaval”.

Phil Lees shouted in his speech, “We will not allow the rights of responsible, principled Ontarians to be taken away”.

A pleasant surprise to the organizers was the number of MPPs who came and joined the rally. At least four PC MPPs mingled with the parents, listening to the speakers and chatting with demonstrators. Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Essex, received enthusiastic response to his brief speech commending the parents for their strong, public opposition to Bill 13. Several other MPPs were spotted coming to the steps of the legislature to watch the large, very determined crowd and to hear what they were saying.

At one point during the rally, former Education Minister and homosexual activist Kathleen Wynn came outside and walked past the huge parents group. She then went over to the small group of 40 counter-protestors who had gathered nearby to demand that Dalton McGuinty force the Catholic Church to violate its religious beliefs. She also spoke to Omni TV in favor of Bill 13, downplaying the concerns of parents.

One MPP told organizers that the parents could be heard shouting “Stop Bill 13” inside the chamber. Coincidentally, lawmakers were at the time debating Bill 14, the alternate anti-bullying bill initiated by Progressive Conservative MPP, Elizabeth Witmer. Her bill, without the sexual agenda of Bill 13, is not opposed by the demonstrators.

All speakers at the rally expressed support for legitimate anti-bullying legislation that targets genuine causes of bullying, of which body image was said to be by far the most common target.

Near the end of the rally a moving prayer was presented by Korean pastor, Rev. Soo. He humbly pleaded in his prayer, “Please grant wisdom to our leaders and support them as they make changes to our laws affecting our families and especially our precious children. Children are our future.”

Several mainstream media outlets were present, although rally organizers reported what so far appears to be a news blackout on the event in all the local television media - CBC, CTV, Global and CP24. Local newspapers and talk radio were said to have given at least some coverage to the event.

Rally organizers strongly encouraged Ontario parents to email, write, phone and visit their MPPs and to urge them to vote against Bill 13.

* See follow up report with video highlights.

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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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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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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?

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
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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