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Catholic St. Thomas University Votes to Sever Historic Ties with St. Paul Archdiocese

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

by Hilary White
 
  ST. PAUL, Minnesota, November 21, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Minnesota’s St. Thomas University has voted to remove the bylaw that maintained the sitting archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis as the Vicar General and Priest President of the University. The board of directors voted unanimously to change the university’s bylaw and install soon-to-retire Archbishop Harry Flynn as chairman for a five year term. The move is feared to be an effort by the university to override the authority of and possible reforms by Archbishop John Nienstedt, Flynn’s more orthodox Catholic coadjutor bishop who will fully succeed him as head of the archdiocese next year.
 
  The surprise move has alarmed some Catholics who attend St. Thomas, the only Catholic university in the US founded directly by a bishop, who fear that the break with its historic ties to the archdiocese presages the “complete secularization” of the university, widely known as one of the US’ more doctrinally liberal Catholic schools.
 
  A memo from the board of directors said, “Implementing a process the Board Affairs Committee began last February, the board also elected Archbishop Flynn to a five-year term as chairman of the board after making appropriate changes to the university’s bylaws which heretofore had stipulated that the ordinary (head) of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis serve ex officio as chairman.”
 
  Archbishop Flynn is due to offer his retirement to the Vatican next year when he turns 75, and his coadjutor bishop, John Nienstedt, is known to be a strong supporter of Catholic moral teaching and an opponent of the homosexual political movement and dissenting trends in the Church.
 
  The university describes itself in its recently revised mission statement as “inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition,” and was founded in 1885 as a Catholic seminary by Archbishop John Ireland. St. Thomas currently enrols more than 11,000 students, making it Minnesota’s largest independent university.
 
  At a meeting following the decision, about a hundred concerned students vowed to petition the university to reverse the decision. A student organiser wrote in a circular email to supporters, “By removing the ex officio position of the Archbishop, the University largely purges itself of a continual, institutionalized connection with the Church.”
 
“With the ecclesial connection lost, we lose the presence of a continual conscience of the Board, and we can be confident of rapid secularization over a number of years,” he added.
 
  Archbishop Flynn retires after years of complaints by faithful Catholics over his handling of a host of scandals involving homosexual activists both within and without the archdiocesan administration.
 
  Under his rule, a notoriously pro-homosexual parish, St. Joan of Arc, was allowed to continue in open support of the Gay Pride parades and homosexual lifestyle. The parish’s opposition to Catholic teaching was so brazen that it resulted in 2004 in a rare direct intervention by the Vatican.
 
  Flynn was named by homosexual political activists as one of the US’s four most “gay friendly” bishops. When he publicly supported the orthodox Catholic teaching on marriage, gay activists in the Rainbow Sash Movement were furious at what they saw as a betrayal by a friend of their cause.
 
  Nienstedt, who came to St. Paul-Minneapolis this year from the diocese of New Ulm, is well established as a defender of orthodox Catholic teachings in his diocese, especially on homosexuality. He supported the Minnesota constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage” and in 2004, joined the eight other Catholic bishops in spearheading a campaign for a constitutional amendment defining marriage strictly as between a man and a woman.

Contact:
  University President
  Father Dennis Dease
  2115 Summit Ave.
  St. Paul, MN 55105



  See list of Board of Trustees
http://www.stthomas.edu/administration/board/default.html
 
  Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
 
  Archdiocese of St. Paul claims no "Subculture of Homosexual Priests" Here
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/mar/06032801.html
 
  Prominent Minneapolis-St. Paul Priest a Leader in National Homosexual Lobby Group
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/mar/06032009.html
 
  New Society of Faithful Catholics Forms to Confront Priestly Sexual Abuse
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/mar/06031311.html
 
  Gay-Friendly U.S. Bishops Outed by Homosexual Activist ‘Catholic’ Group
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2004/nov/04111108.html
 
  Bishop Silences Faithful Priest for Objecting to Graphic Sex-Ed Program
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/mar/06030602.html
 
  Vatican Intervenes in Minneapolis Catholic "Gay Pride" Parish
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2004/oct/04102806.html
 
  New Catholic Bishop Expected to Bring Orthodoxy and Opposition to Homosexual Agenda to Minneapolis
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/jun/07060507.html


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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkin’s statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

“It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities,” Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. “Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

“While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born,” she said. “Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection.”

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, “People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society.”

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the “difficult and confusing time” when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience “negative attitudes.”

“What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information,” the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the hurch they attend in New Jersey, “because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 


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Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that 'it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.' Shutterstock
Steve Weatherbe

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Pope Francis: steps must be taken to halt ‘unjust aggressor’ in Iraq

Steve Weatherbe
By

Pope Francis and his emissary to Iraq’s persecuted non-Muslim minorities, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, have both called on the United Nations to act in concert to protect Iraqis Christian and Yazidi minorities from the radical Islamic forces of ISIS.

Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that “it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.”

He added, however, that “halt” does not mean to “bomb” and lamented “how many times with the excuse of halting the unjust aggressor…have powerful nations taken possession of peoples and waged a war of conquest!”

He also cautioned that no single nation could determine the right measures. Any intervention must be multilateral and preferably by the United Nations, he said.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Foloni, who is visiting Iraq on behalf of Pope Francis, issued a joint statement this week with Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and the Iraqi bishops that urged the international community to “liberate the villages and other places that have been occupied as soon as possible and with a permanent result.”

The statement also urged efforts to “assure that there is international protection for these villages and so to encourage these families to go back to their homes and to continue to live a normal life in security and peace.”

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Vatican nuncio to Iraq, was also asked by Vatican Radio earlier this month about the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.

“This is something that had to be done, otherwise [the Islamic State] could not be stopped,” the archbishop said. 

Although Pope Francis’ own remarks about an intervention in the war-torn country were carefully guarded, Catholic commentator Robert Spencer, author of such bestselling exposes of Islam as “The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion,” told LifeSiteNews he believes the pope was clearly calling for an “armed intervention, though a very limited one.”  

“Only a fool would think there is another way to stop an ‘unjust aggressor,’” he said.

Spencer expressed concerns that both Francis and Pope John Paul II before him have both referred to Islam a “religion of peace,” which Spencer says is “completely false.” However, he suggested that Francis’ remarks calling for action in Iraq are a sign of a more realistic attitude towards Islam.   

On this, Spencer would likely have the support of Amel Nona, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, who issued a letter last week warning the West in stark terms about the encroaching threat of Islam.

“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer,” Nona warned. “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here.

“You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles,” he said

“You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.”


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'Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses,' said Dawkins. 'They are aborted.' Shutterstock
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Richard Dawkins: it’s ‘immoral’ NOT to abort babies with Down syndrome

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By Dustin Siggins

In a bizarre rant on Twitter earlier today, atheist Richard Dawkins wrote that choosing not to abort a child with Down Syndrome would be "immoral."

The conversation started when Dawkins tweeted that "Ireland is a civilised country except in this 1 area." The area was abortion, which until last year was illegal in all cases.

A Twitter user then asked Dawkins if "994 human beings with Down's Syndrome [having been] deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012" was "civilised."

Dawkins replied "yes, it is very civilised. These are fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings."

Later, Dawkins said that "the question is not ‘is it 'human'?’ but ‘can it SUFFER?’"

In perhaps the most shocking moment, one Twitter user wrote that he or she "honestly [doesn't] know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma."

Dawkins advised the writer to "abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."

According to Dawkins, the issue of who should be born comes down to a calculation based upon possible suffering. "Yes. Suffering should be avoided. [The abortion] cause[s] no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can."

Later, however, he said that people on the autism spectrum "have a great deal to contribute, Maybe even an enhanced ability in some respects. [Down Syndrome] not enhanced."

When Dawkins received some blowback from Twitter followers, he replied: "Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses. They are aborted."

It is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome said they were "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child. 

A number of Dawkins' statements in the Twitter thread about fetal development are at odds with scientific realities. For example, it is well-established that 20 weeks into a pregnancy, unborn children can feel pain. Likewise, unborn children have emotional reactions to external stimuli -- such as a mother's stress levels -- months before being born. 

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