Patrick Craine

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‘Campaign for Humanae Vitae’ seeks one million signatures

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

August 1, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York made the stunning admission in March that he believes America’s bishops had failed in their duty to teach the faithful the prophetic message of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical that reiterated the Church’s condemnation of contraception.

Now, as the U.S. bishops continue to unite in opposition to the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, a new multi-year petition campaign is rallying behind them and calling them to preach the encyclical’s message boldly.

The Campaign for Humanae Vitae, launched by The Bellarmine Forum (formerly The Wanderer Forum), is a worldwide effort seeking one million signatures to present to the Pope and bishops by the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae on July 25th, 2018.

Prof. Charles Rice, professor emeritus in law at Notre Dame University and president of The Bellarmine Forum, told LifeSiteNews that Obama’s mandate has presented an important “teaching moment” on contraception for America’s bishops. “We have reason to think they will take advantage of it,” he says.

Dr. Christopher Manion, a Bellarmine Forum board member, says they already have “a couple thousand” signatures and have secured contacts in Europe and Latin America to expand the campaign beyond the U.S.

“This is a petition thanking the Holy Father for repeatedly requesting that the entire moral teachings of the Church be taught, even the unpopular parts,” he explained. “We want the whole world to know that first of all, Humanae Vitae exists, that it is the teaching of the Church, that it is a beautiful gift to the Church, and that we are ready and, with the prayerful virtue of fortitude, willing to bring it to a culture that might not be too friendly.”

The text of the petition, available at The Bellarmine Forum’s website, expresses gratitude to the pope for his “repeated requests that [Humanae Vitae] be taught vigorously, and in its entirety,” and calls on the bishops to “speak out boldly and with confidence in defense of the moral truths of Humanae Vitae – all of them.”

“Please ask your priests to preach Humanae Vitae ‘with confidence’ and ‘without ambiguity’ (HV, 28), fortified by prayer and with the assurance that it constitutes ‘a promulgation of the law of God Himself.’ (HV, 20),” the petition adds.

In a July 25th column for Crisis Magazine announcing the launch of the Campaign, Rice wrote that Obama’s HHS mandate has “opened for the bishops a clear field to advance the truth of HV.”

He notes that Christians had been united in their opposition to contraception up until the Anglican Communion’s 1930 Lambeth Conference. By the time Pope Paul VI released Humanae Vitae in 1968, it resulted in a “storm of dissent” even within the Catholic Church.

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According to Rice, the problems have in large part been due to the failures of Catholic leaders themselves. He highlights in particular an incident known as the “truce of 1968”.

“In 1968, Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle of Washington, D.C., disciplined nineteen priests who had dissented publicly from HV,” Rice explains. “Three years later the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy ordered Cardinal O’Boyle to lift canonical penalties from those priests who told him privately that they agreed that the teaching on ‘the objective evil of contraception’ was ‘an authentic expression of [the] magisterium.’  The Congregation explicitly refrained from requiring that priests who had dissented publicly must retract their dissent publicly.”

According to George Weigel, whom Rice quotes, “The Truce of 1968 taught theologians, priests and other Church professionals that dissent from authoritative teaching was, essentially, cost-free.”

“The Truce of 1968 taught bishops inclined to defend authoritative Catholic teaching vigorously that they should think twice about doing so, if controversy were likely to follow,” Weigel added.

Since this “truce,” says Rice, “the American bishops, with exceptions, have miserably failed to educate Catholics and others on HV and the similar teachings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.”

“When an objective history of this period is written, the practical abandonment by the American Catholic Church of the theretofore unbroken Christian teaching on contraception will be seen as astonishing, craven and frivolous,” Rice added.

According to a Gallup poll in May, 82% of America’s Catholics now believe that contraception is “morally acceptable.”

Rice observes, however, that this problem has been recognized increasingly by the bishops, and he especially praised Cardinal Dolan’s “candid analysis” of the situation in his March 31st interview with James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal.

The cardinal, who serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Humanae Vitae “brought such a tsunami of dissent, departure, disapproval of the church, that I think most of us—and I’m using the first person plural intentionally, including myself—kind of subconsciously said, ‘Whoa, we’d better never talk about that, because it’s just too hot to handle.’”

“We forfeited the chance to be a coherent moral voice when it comes to one of the more burning issues of the day,” Dolan added.

According to Manion, Humanae Vitae is crucial because it is “the way that the culture is going to be saved from itself.”

In his Crisis column, Rice relates that the mass acceptance of contraception has been a disaster for sexual morality, families, and the culture at large, opening the door to such evils as promiscuity, homosexuality, adultery, divorce, abortion, and even euthanasia.

“If you make yourself the arbiter of whether and when life shall begin, you will predictably put yourself in charge of when life shall end, as in abortion, euthanasia and suicide,” he writes. “If it is man’s decision as to whether sex will have any relation to procreation, then the only objections to same-sex ‘marriage,’ polygamy, bestiality, etc., are reduced to the aesthetic and arbitrary.”

“The separation of sex from procreation undercuts any reservation of sex for marriage and any reason for permanence of marriage,” he continues.

“HV is a game-changer because it challenges the core of the secularist, relativist and individualist religion of America’s ruling class,” he adds.

“What we want to do is to bring Humanae Vitae to a world that is very, very hungry for it,” says Manion.

Find the Campaign for Humanae Vitae petition at The Bellarmine Forum’s website.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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