Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Crowd of gay activists demonstrate outside Italian archbishop’s house

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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TRIESTE, January 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Earlier this month about two hundred homosexualist activists, including a number of local politicians, demonstrated in front of the residence and offices of the Catholic bishop of Trieste. The bishop later told an interviewer that he spent the afternoon, effectively barricaded in his own house, reading and catching up on correspondence.

Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi told the diocesan newspaper Vita Nuova (New Life) he was reading a book by American sociologist, Rodney Stark, titled The Triumph of Christianity, “which analyzes, among other things, the many persecutions suffered by Christians in two thousand years of history”. The book, he said, “demonstrates...that in the end, the persecutors pass and Christians continue, because the persecutions purify them and make them stronger. It’s a book that I recommend.”

His offence was having publicly defended the Catholic Church’s teaching on the nature of marriage in the diocesan newspaper. He said the purpose of the demonstration, a display of political power, was to define any opposition to the political agenda as “homophobia” and a criminal offence. 

Ultimately the goal of the movement, he told a local newspaper, is to “give legal force and criminal significance to ‘homophobia,’ that those who say publicly - as the Catholic Church has always said - that the only real family that founded on marriage between a man and a woman are declared ‘homophobic, intolerant, racist’ and, therefore, subject to criminal prosecution. 

“If you will travel this road,” he added, “anyone who belongs to the Catholic Church and professes its doctrine…will become liable to criminal punishment, even jail.”

The activists outside his door January 12th accused Crepaldi of reviving the “classic racist campaign against gay, lesbian and transgender people” and announced they intend to “prosecute” anyone who opposed their agenda, including churchmen.

Local news reported that two members of the Trieste city council were part of the crowd. Councilors Peter Faraguna and Paul Menis signed a petition “to fight discrimination” against homosexuals and the “promotion of non-discriminatory policies”. 

David Zotti, an organizer of the protest and president of the Rainbow Club, indicated that the bishop should not be allowed to speak on Catholic teaching outside the confines of his church.

“The bishop never misses an opportunity to trample the dignity of people and same-sex families, denigrating their lives and making it clear that there can be no legal recognition,” Zotti said.

The demonstration, he added, was also in response to the homily of Pope Benedict XVI on December 21st in which he identified “gender theory” and the global homosexualist movement as a “threat to the foundations” of western society. It was supported by provincial councilors - Štefan Čok, Gianluca Balbi, Nadja Debenjak, Sandy Klun, Matthew Puppi, Sabrina Morena, Marcello Bergamini, Elena Legiša and Majda Canziani and an extreme-left environmentalist political party Sinistra Ecologia e Libertà. 

Bishop Crepaldi responded that the accusations made against him are “false and serious,” particularly since he has dedicated his life “to fighting racism and has contributed a great pool of international jurists to rewrite the document of the Holy See against racism”.

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The genesis of the demonstration was a public campaign launched by Italy’s leading homosexualist group Arcigay the Christmas season against “homophobia” that involved photos on all city buses of same-sex couples in “intimate family attitudes”. The purpose of the campaign was to demand “equality” in law for “all types of families”.

Crepaldi said that the demonstration had nothing to do with “homophobia” but was intended to promote “same-sex marriage”.

“The ultimate goal of these campaigns is to undermine what is a cornerstone of civilization, the concept of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, equating it to other forms of cohabitation,” Archbishop Crepaldi told Tempi.

He called the homosexualist ideology an “insidious program, disguised as progressive and libertarian, to put a muzzle on all, depriving us of freedom.”

“It is ironic that the Church has given the world the higher conception of the incomparable value of the human person and taught him the duty of respect, equality and fraternity, [and is now] described as ‘racist and discriminating’.”

He called the participation of local politicians particularly “disturbing” and said it “has resulted in a black page for democracy and for the honor of the city's institutions”.

“What credibility can a city government claim when two of its members go around with insouciance to demonstrate against the bishop and the Catholic Church? It is good to know that in this city, since the early centuries of Christianity, is protected by a martyr, San Giusto. The Catholic Church of Trieste has been humiliated and I have been treated as a ‘series C’ citizen.”

He called for a halt to the “ideological conformism and a return to discussion in a civilized and constructive dialogue with a sense of respect for others and to value all assets.”

Crepaldi is close to Pope Benedict and was granted the personal rank of archbishop, though Trieste is not an archdiocese. He is the founder and president of the International Observatory Cardinal Van Thuan, a think tank that provides “reasoned information” and “reflections, evaluations and in-depth studies” on the Church’s social doctrine. In a paper for the Observatory, Archbishop Crepaldi warned of a “colonization of human nature” by an ideology that is spreading from Europe around the world, “gender,” an expression of “a nihilistic culture that intends to overcome completely the concept of human nature.” 

Catholics, he said, are not asked to take refuge in a small enclave to “cultivate traditional values,” but to compete in the world with a vision of the nature of the human being. “There is a huge cultural work to be done to educate this sense of nature and of human nature. And I’m sorry to see that within the Church and among the Christian communities themselves the importance of this point is often overlooked.”

Crepaldi predicted that the “gender-theory” ideology is driving secular society in Europe towards open persecution against Christianity, “and that it will be tough.” 

“There will be the militants, those who seek compromise, those who cheat, will be faithful and there will also be a martyr.”

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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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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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