Jill Stanek

Former boy band member turned pro-life activist shares testimony

Jill Stanek
Jill Stanek
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May 25, 2012 (JillStanek.com) - Since yesterday liberal websites have been aghast at the news former Lyte Funky Ones boy band member Brad Fischetti is now a pro-life activist.

LFO was a pop/hip hop group that had several hits between 1998-2002, the most prominent of which were “Summer Girls,” “Girl on TV,” and “Every Other Time.”

In 2009 Fischetti announced the band’s break-up on YouTube.

And then something obviously happened in Fischetti’s life to bring him to where he is today, as chronicled by Buzz Feed’s lament

Fischetti has indeed been doing some pro-life sidewalk counseling at the Orlando Women’s Center abortion clinic in Florida. Here is a sampling of Fischetti’s tweets that is so disturbing the pro-abortion community…

After I read about Fischetti and perused his tweets last night, I started researching him, because honestly, I’d never heard of LFO.

What I learned made me even more curious. Fischetti is now the Director of Contemporary Music and New Media at the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Celebration, FL. Here’s his hip hop arrangement of “Awesome God,” pretty cool.

Thanks to God for His amazing favors, I indeed got to speak with Brad a little while ago, with the help of pro-life activist John Barros.

Brad has an amazing testimony, which I’m just going to let him share it with you….

Brad Fischetti’s pro-life testimony

I look back now and regret having such a serious platform but not using it.

With LFO I was out there and recognizable, selling millions of records and playing in front of tens of thousands of people, but I didn’t have strong convictions about anything. I wasn’t able to stand up about anything that was really important to me.

Don’t get me wrong, when we were on top of the world I was very spiritual. I was baptized Catholic, and I grew up Catholic. I carried my Bible around with me on the road and lead prayers before concerts. As a group we were very spiritual.  But over the course of time, witnessing the horrible things that occur in this world, I could tell I was slowly losing my faith.

Then one day sometime in 2000-2001 I heard a terrible story about young boys getting kidnapped near their house by devil worshipers. Their genitals were mutilated and they were murdered. I decided right then that if there was a God, He wouldn’t let that happen.

And so I stopped believing.  I stopped praying, stopped reading my Bible, and just lived without faith. I didn’t work against those who believed, I just didn’t.  And my life seemingly continued to go well.  (Later I discovered that “things of this world” can never satisfy the human heart.)

I lived without a faith for two or three years.

U-Turn

Then one summer I decided to take a handful of my bands from my record label, 111 Records, on a tour. We rented a big RV and hooked a trailer to the back of it. One of the girls touring with us had cancer. It was a slow moving cancer and didn’t effect her daily life too much.

But one night she starting having difficulty breathing and couldn’t feel her hands, and I rushed her to the closest ER. We were in a little town in upstate New York in the middle of nowhere, and the hospital was very small. The ER doctor wanted to send the surgeons down to operate to remove the tumor then and there, but I said no way.  I told the doctor I would drive her to her cancer hospital, which was about seven hours away.  The doc gave her weak pain killers and sent us on our way.

I started driving the RV. It was late at night, raining, and we were in the mountains with slick roads and fog all around us. I felt like I was already dead, already gone.

I took a wrong turn trying to find a gas station.  I drove miles and miles down this two-lane road looking for a place to make a u-turn.  Finally I happened upon a state police station.  So I pulled in and attempted the u-turn, when suddenly the RV got stuck on a flat boulder.  So here I was at three o’clock in the morning, in the pouring rain, stuck, with this girl in the back of the RV in pain.

And so I stepped out into the rain.  I looked up to the sky.  And I prayed. It was the first time in years.  And I said, “God, if you can get me out of this I will never again turn my back to You.”

And yes, I got the RV unstuck and got the girl to her hospital. This was a pivotal moment in my conversion. But it didn’t happen overnight.

Grains of rice

Before my conversion I didn’t like abortion, but it didn’t affect me. It was just grains of rice being aborted, I thought.

But my faith became supremely important to me, and through that the abortion picture became clearer.

And when you learn, when you get to know what really happens in an abortion, it becomes atrocious.

I didn’t ask for this seemingly newfound platform.  And it’s hard to understand why people care so much about what I have to say when there are so many others who have fought longer and harder for the pro-life movement than I.  But if God is calling me to use what little platform I have left to help educate people, to help people understand what abortion really is, then – “Here I am Lord.  I come to do Your will.”

Many people don’t really know what happens in an abortion. Rarely is a girl only a couple of weeks pregnant.  Most women don’t find out they are pregnant until they are four or five or six weeks along.  And then they spend time trying to decide if they want an abortion, and by the time they get to the clinic, they are 12 or 13 or 14 weeks pregnant.  Their babies have fingers and toes.

And at the clinic in Orlando I’ve seen girls 24 weeks pregnant have abortions done.  And I’ve seen girls who are up to 30 weeks pregnant referred to the clinic owner’s secret abortion facility in the DC area, where he will abort babies well past 30 weeks of pregnancy!

The “pro-choice” concept is ludicrous. It makes no sense to me. “Pro-choice” is the choice to have sex or not to have sex.  And, yes, I do realize that a small number of abortions are performed on women who have been raped or are victims of incest.  And those crimes are as despicable as abortion.

But abortion is not the answer.  We should not punish the baby for the sins of the father.  And further, in a situation like that, the woman has already been violated enough.  An abortion will just serve to violate her further.


Bodies

I saw the “Bodies” exhibit in Las Vegas. They had a whole display on fetal development, and it was astounding how developed a baby is early in pregnancy. That’s when it dawned on me that abortion is not right under any circumstances. I believe a baby is a gift from God, and abortion is an atrocious sin and not acceptable under any circumstances.

I further believe when abortion was legalized it was never intended to be what it has become: Men who call themselves doctors go inside a woman’s womb and tear babies apart – or deliver them dead – or sometimes alive. It’s disgusting.

I really don’t care what people think of my stance against abortion. I may lose family and friends. But I am obligated to speak the truth. If I have a platform of 500 or 5,000, my job is to speak the truth. We have God on our side, and eventually abortion will be a sad chapter in our history.

Just because abortion is legal does not make it right.  There was a time in this country when denying a woman the right to vote was legal.  Was it right?  No.  There was a time in this country when slavery was legal.  Was it right?  No way.  To quote the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen, “Legality does not equal morality.”

Although I regret not having stronger convictions when I had a platform, I wouldn’t change anything.  I am content with who I am and where I am.

I haven’t read what the other side is saying about me right now, but I don’t care and I don’t judge them or anyone.  I only want people to know the truth, and I only want to help.  And I’m content doing so in my little bubble in Orlando, Florida.  But if God calls me to take a larger role, I will do His will.

I’m a man, I’m a father, I’m a Christian, I’m a human, and I’m pro-life.

Jill again

Pro-life community, please join me in praying for our new dear friend Brad as he walks down this unknown path of speaking out against abortion to pro-abortion peers and fans.  It won’t be easy for him. But we are grateful for his voice, and more than us, so are the babies.

Reprinted with permission from JillStanek.com

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

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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
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Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

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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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