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Former Operation Rescue Leader to Vatican: Remove Cowardly US Bishops

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By Hilary White, Rome correspondent

ROME, March 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Vatican must remove key members of the US Catholic episcopate and replace them with men who will speak and act courageously and with urgency to stop abortion, a prominent American pro-life advocate has told Catholic leadership at the Vatican. Randall Terry, a former leader of Operation Rescue, came to Rome last week with a delegation of US pro-life advocates to ask prominent Vatican prelates to end the "scandal" of some American Catholic bishops refusing to act on behalf of unborn children by replacing them.

Terry told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview that he and his colleagues had come to Rome, "to help connect some dots for certain prelates who perhaps have not had them connected before. … Namely that the greatest single reason that child-killing continues in America is the fear or the outright treachery of US bishops."

Terry was received into the Catholic Church in 2005, and has turned his attention to what he sees as a deficit of orthodoxy and commitment to defending life in the US episcopate. He told LSN that he was committed to founding a new "confederacy" of pro-life groups and individuals who would focus on imploring the leadership of the Catholic Church to "to lay the axe to the poisonous root" of the current episcopate in the US.

Meeting with LSN within sight of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Terry told LSN that the US Catholic bishops’ actions and inaction have led directly to the election of Barack Obama, who has been called by pro-life advocates the "most pro-abortion president in US history." After the election, many Catholics, including Vatican prelates, expressed their dismay that 55 percent of the US Catholic electorate had voted for Obama.

Terry said that he learned while in Rome that much of the higher level leadership of the Catholic Church are not aware of the extent of the problem of the US Catholic leadership. "The responses of those we met with ranged from surprise and shock, to sympathy and heartfelt agreement."

Armed with a package of information on the doings of the US episcopate in the lead-up to the election of President Obama, Terry and his colleagues met with Archbishop Rino Fisichella of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Cardinal James Francis Stafford, prefect of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Antonio Canizares, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and representatives of the Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Councils for the Laity, the Family and for Justice and Peace.

"One of the reasons we are here is to specifically request the transfer of Bishop Loverde of Arlington and Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC," he said.

Archbishop Wuerl has gone on record saying that he will not refuse Holy Communion to the large number of pro-abortion Catholic politicians living in Washington. Terry said that his group had chosen to highlight the two DC-area bishops because of their importance politically, but he admitted that the problem is endemic in the US episcopate.

"The majority of the federal politicians who promote and defend child-killing are receiving Communion in Washington and northern Virginia. And both these men have made it crystal clear that they are not going to withhold Communion. They won’t uphold the teaching of the Church."

While there are a "handful of bishops speaking courageously," most of the US bishops, he claimed, are "culturally Democrats" who actively supported Obama "for money reasons."

"Obama, as a left-winger on social spending, would certainly offer more money for certain Catholic social works. The US bishops have been in tight with the Democrat party for a hundred years. Culturally they’re Democrats," he said. 

Terry also brought to the attention of the Vatican officials the influence of the USCCB document, "Faithful Citizenship," which, he said, "paved the way" for the election of Obama. The document said that although abortion is one of the most important electoral issues, that Catholics could in conscience vote for a pro-abortion politician for "proportional reasons."

"So, when person after person stood up after the election and said, ‘Well the Catholic bishops told us this is OK,’ the bishops did not correct them. So their silence had as a direct fruit the election of Obama."

Terry said that his delegation showed the Vatican officials "well-documented proof," that many of the US bishops, "perhaps the majority of them," are ignoring the teachings of the Church on the requirement to defend unborn children from abortion, and to refuse Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

The new pro-life initiative, to be called the Vanguard of St. Catherine, is named after the 14th century nun and reformer Catherine of Sienna, whose years of letters and lobbying brought the papacy back to Rome after the so-called "Avignon exile." It will consist of pro-life Catholics and organisations who will petition Rome to address the "ongoing scandal" of bishops who refuse to act to defend human life.

Terry has been arrested more than forty times during his years in Operation Rescue. Founded by John Cavanaugh O’Keefe on the same principles of non-violent civil disobedience as the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, Operation Rescue grew to become one of the best known pro-life organisations in the world. Terry told LSN that since becoming a Catholic, he has seen that one of the most serious obstacles to the ending of abortion in the US is the inaction of the Catholic Church.

Diocesan pro-life groups are paralysed by fear, he said. "The road to ending child-killing," he said, "goes through the diocesan offices. And the greatest road blocks to child-killing are in those diocesan offices. Sadly, it’s true that very often the biggest problems we face are the people working in diocesan pro-life offices."

Quoting the book of Proverbs, he said, "The fear of man brings a snare, and many diocesan pro-life workers are just shackled by fear. They fear losing their job. They fear displeasing the bishop. They fear looking radical. They fear bad press or that they won’t get funding. And it mutes their words and shackles their actions so that they say little and do even less." 

"You cannot have a polite conversation with people who are committed to slaughtering babies. And that is one of the greatest crises we’re facing in the pro-life diocesan works."

He has excoriated the US Catholic leadership for what he sees as an excessive fear of jeopardising their tax-exempt status. He said that the history of the Church, in which people have faced down torture and death for the truth, "stands as a double accusation against the bishops."

"Bishops in other centuries faced death. We face bad press. Whining letters from parishioners. Perhaps losing our tax exempt status. I turned to a group of bishops after one election and asked them, ‘Why were you silent?’ I said, ‘Your tax-exempt status be damned if it keeps you from saying the words of God’."

Terry said that this is only his first of many planned trips to Rome to plead with the Vatican to address the situation.

"The greatest joy I had after I came into the Church was really studying Evangelium Vitae, and I was never so proud to be a Catholic and I was never so embarrassed. Because I realised that if we would simply follow these marching orders we would win. And the fact that the bishops refuse to obey, is why we have child-killing in America." 

To read more about the Vanguard of St. Catherine project: www.humbleplea.com

** For a different analysis and approach to the problems of US Catholic Church leadership see the LifeSiteNews series of articles "US Election Message to Catholic Bishops: The Broken Window Strategy."

Part I, with links to succeeding parts:
U.S. Election Message to Catholic Bishops: Time to Clean House
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/nov/08111012.html

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Are you praying for the upcoming Synod on the Family? You should be, and here’s why

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By John-Henry Westen

Catholics, and all Christians who value family values, should be praying earnestly for the Catholic Church as a struggle over critical family issues is coming to a head in the run-up to the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which takes place October 5-19. 

Augmenting the concerns is the fact that some of the cardinals closest to Pope Francis himself are increasingly in public disagreement over crucial matters related to faith and family. For some, the concerns reach right to the pope himself.

While Synod preparations have been going on for a year, Sunday’s weddings of 20 couples in St. Peter’s Basilica by Pope Francis presented a figurative, and perhaps foreboding launch.

In a press release prior to the ceremony, the Rome diocese inexplicably went out of its way to highlight the fact that some of couples the pope was going to marry were cohabiting. "Those who will get married Sunday are couples like many others,” it said. “There are those who are already cohabitating; who already have children.”

Unsurprisingly, the mainstream press took the bait and seized upon this statement to run headline after headline pushing the confusing notion that the event was a prelude to, or evidence of, a change in Church teaching on marriage.

Headlines like: 

All I can do is pray that the public fallout from these wedding ceremonies does not foreshadow the public outcome of the Synod. If so, we could be headed for a tragedy akin to the tragedy of the late sixties when, despite the proclamation of the truth of Humanae Vitae against contraception, the effect among ordinary Catholics was a near universal rejection of the teaching in practice.

What to expect at the Synod

The official list of those taking part in the Synod includes 114 presidents of Bishops’ Conferences, 13 heads of Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris, 25 heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, nine members of the Ordinary Council for the Secretariat, the Secretary General, the Undersecretary, three religious elected by the Union of Superiors General, 26 members appointed by the Pontiff, eight fraternal delegates, and 38 auditors, among whom are 13 married couples and 16 experts.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Cardinal Kasper’s intervention at the Consistory of Cardinals earlier this year, in which he laid out a contentious proposal to allow Catholics who have been divorced and then ‘remarried’ outside the Church to receive Communion. 

Since then a bevy of heavy-hitter cardinals have fought that proposal, including:

Today, however, Cardinal Kasper said the “attacks” from these cardinals were not so much directed at him but at Pope Francis, since, claims Kasper, he discussed his intervention with the pope and gained his approval.

The claim has some basis, since the day after Kasper made the proposal, before it was made public, Pope Francis praised it publicly.  According to Vatican Information Service, the Holy Father said:

I read and reread Cardinal Walter Kasper's document and I would like to thank him, as I found it to be a work of profound theology, and also a serene theological reflection. It is pleasant to read serene theology. And I also found what St. Ignacius described as the 'sensus Ecclesiae', love for the Mother Church. ... It did me good, and an idea came to mind – please excuse me, Eminence, if I embarrass you – but my idea was that this is what we call ‘doing theology on one's knees’. Thank you, thank you.

Of note, Vatican correspondent Sébastien Maillard, writing for France’s La Croix, reports today that Pope Francis is “irritated” by the release of a book containing criticisms of the Kasper proposal by five cardinals.

As LifeSiteNews.com reported yesterday, one of those authors, Cardinal Raymond Burke, is being demoted from his headship of the Apostolic Signatura. The only post planned for the 66-year-old cardinal thus far is patron of the Order of Malta. 

Cardinal Burke’s pre-Synod interventions go beyond the divorce and remarriage question and into the matter of homosexuality.  In a recent interview Cardinal Burke gave a clear refutation of the misuse of Pope Francis’ famed ‘Who am I to judge’ quote to justify homosexuality.

While the issue of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality is seldom raised in reference to the Synod, with most of the emphasis being placed on the question of divorce and remarriage, it is mentioned in the working document, or ‘Instrumentum Laboris’, of the Synod.

As with the matter of divorce, no doctrine regarding homosexuality can be changed, but much confusion can still be sown under the auspices of adjustments to “pastoral” practice. Without a clear teaching from the Synod, the effects could be similar to the shift in “pastoral” practice among dissenting clergy after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, which led to the use of artificial contraception by most Catholics.

Already and for many years there has been de facto broad acceptance of homosexual sexual practices in many Catholic schools, universities and many other institutions, with many staff being active homosexuals in open defiance of Catholic moral teaching.

Regarding the Synod’s deliberations on homosexuality, it does not bode well that one of Pope Francis’ personal appointees to the Synod is retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels.  The selection is remarkable because of Danneels was caught on tape in 2010 urging a victim who had been sexually abused by a bishop-friend of Danneels, to be silent.  Then, only last year Danneels praised as a “positive development” that states were opening up civil marriage to homosexuals.

Then, just this week, as reported on the Rorate Caeli blog, one of the three Synod presidents gave an interview with the leading Brazilian newspaper in which he said that while stable unions between homosexual persons cannot be equated to marriage, the Church has always tried to show respect for such unions.

The statement matches that of another prominent Synod participant, Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who in 2010 spoke of giving more consideration to ‘the quality’ of homosexual relationships. “We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships. A stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous,” Schönborn said.

In the end, while there is currently a public battle in the Vatican that is unprecedented in modern history, the faith will not and cannot change.  As faithful Catholics, and Christians, we must cling to the Truths of Christ regarding the family and live them out in our own lives first and foremost.  That is difficult, to be sure, especially in our sex-saturated culture, but with Christ (and only with Him) all things are possible. 

Plead with heaven for the pope and the bishops in the Synod.  LifeSiteNews will be there reporting from Rome, and, with your prayers and support, be of service to those defending truth.

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Poet: I ‘would’ve died’ for my aborted daughter’s ‘right to choose,’ just ‘like she died for mine’ (VIDEO)

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By Ben Johnson

What kind of mother asks her baby to die for her? And what kind of media outlet celebrates that?

To take the second question first, The Huffington Post is promoting a video featuring Scottish “poet” Leyla Josephine, celebrating her decision to abort her daughter. The video, “I Think She Was a She,” was uploaded to YouTube a month ago.

In the video Josephine, decked out in military camouflage, justifies herself in part by saying that she would have been willing to serve as a sacrifice to abortion just as she offered her daughter to the idol of “choice.”

“I would’ve supported her right to choose – to choose a life for herself, a path for herself. I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine,” she said.

In the next rhyming line, she addresses her unborn daughter: “I’m sorry, but you came at the wrong time.”

“I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed," she continues – a phrase she repeats a total of six times. She repeats the phrase "This is my body" three times. (She also takes the Lord's name in vain once.)

In the early part of the video, she describes her belief that her child was a girl and imagines a life where she had given birth to her daughter.

“I know she was a she,” she says. “I would have made sure that there was space on the walls to measure her height,” she adds. “I would have made sure I was a good mother.”

At one point she appears to describe the emotional aftermath of her choice as “a hollowness that feels full, a numbness that feels heavy.”

But she later calls the idea that her child was a girl or a boy “bull---t” and affirms, yet again, she is not ashamed.

This provokes a few observations:

1. If she knew her child's sex, she must have had a late-term abortion. Our gentle, healing restoration is needed in a world marred by so much aggression and anger in the name of political orthodoxy.

2. Fr. Frank Pavone has written, ”Did you ever realize that the same four words that were used by the Lord Jesus to save the world are also used by abortion advocates? 'This is My Body.'” To paraphrase him, he notes the difference. One, by surrendering His life on the Cross, gave life to the world. The abortion industry uses this phrase to impose its will on the bodies of separate, living human beings who have not harmed anyone.

3. The most chilling phrase in the video is her statement, “I would’ve supported her right to choose...I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine.”

First of all, her daughter did not die for the “right to choose.” Her daughter was not sacrificed for the inalienable “good” of keeping abortion-on-demand legal (and, in the UK, taxpayer-subsidized). Politicians are bribed to maintain it; no baby needs to die for it. Josephine's child died because HuffPo's hero of the moment chose not to carry the baby to term and place him/her in the hands of loving adoptive parents who would have cherished her baby – whether it was actually male, female, or intersex.

Josephine describes the emotions that actually led to the abortion only metaphorically – e.g., she compares the abortion to chopping down a cherry tree – but that angst is the root (so to speak) of the abortion, not the great and grand cause of assuring that other women have the right to go through the same soul-crushing grief.

That intimation that her daughter died for “choice” – that she offered her baby as a living sacrifice on the altar of abortion – confirms the darkest rhetoric of the pro-life movement: That for some in the movement, abortion is sometimes regarded as an idol.

And that raises one other, more universally held question: What kind of parent asks his son or daughter to die for the “right” to abortion? Parents are supposed to be the one who sacrificially care for their children, who forsake their own comfort, who do whatever is necessary – even die – to keep their children safe, healthy, and well. Josephine's blithe, “Sorry, but you came at the wrong time” sounds as hollow as a gangland assassin's apology to the family caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting. Abortion severs the love that God, or Mother Nature, or evolution, or whatever you choose to believe in placed within every pregnant woman to link the mother to her child.

The abortion lobby's rhetoric, which increasingly disregards the value of unborn life, is untethered by the bonds of human compassion, is fundamentally selfish and cold-blooded, and lacks a sense of humanity and brotherhood to the point of obliterating maternal love itself.

“Will a woman forget her child, so as not to have compassion upon the offspring of her womb?” God asks through the prophet Isaiah. “But if a woman should even forget these, yet I will not forget thee, saith the Lord.”

The pro-life movement exists precisely to set this upside-down order aright, to reinstate the natural love and compassion everyone should have for all of God's creation – most especially that between a mother and the innocent child she has helped create and fashion with her own DNA.

Cross-posted at TheRightsWriter.com.

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Cardinal Dolan greets worshipers and guests on the steps of Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan after Easter mass on April 8, 2012 in New York City. Lev Radin / Shutterstock.com
Lisa Bourne

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Catholic leaders criticize Cardinal Dolan’s defense of gay group at St. Patrick’s Parade

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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New York Cardinal John O'Connor on the cover of the New York Post on January 11, 1993. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended his decision to serve as grand marshal for the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Wednesday, in the wake of widespread criticism from Catholics after he praised the organizing committee for allowing a homosexual activist group to march.

“If the Parade Committee allowed a group to publicize its advocacy of any actions contrary to Church teaching, I’d object,” Dolan stated in his weekly column. On the contrary, he argued, “The committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture.”

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, was not impressed with the cardinal’s argument. This is precisely about publicizing advocacy contrary to Catholic teaching,” he said.

“As a Catholic father I find there is rapidly contracting space where this shameful agenda is not stuck in the faces of my children,” Ruse told LifeSiteNews. “The Church should be protecting our children rather than abetting those who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of innocent souls."

Pat Archbold, a popular blogger at the National Catholic Register and who runs the Creative Minority Report blog, lambasted Dolan for suggesting the embrace and promotion of “gay identity” can be separated from the sin of homosexuality.

“This identity is not a morally-neutral God-given attribute such as male or female, black or white,” he said. “The identity is with the immoral choice to engage in immoral behavior.”

“The best that can be said in this situation is that these people choose to proudly identify themselves with an intrinsic disorder.  But in reality, it is worse than that,” he continued. “The people find their identity and pride in sin.  Either the Cardinal knows this or he doesn't, either way Cardinal Dolan reveals himself unequal to his responsibility as a successor of the Apostles.”

The parade committee changed its longstanding policy on September 3 after decades of pressure from homosexual groups. Upon being announced as the parade’s grand marshal later the same day, Cardinal Dolan said he had no trouble with the decision at all, calling it “wise.”

The organizers had never prohibited any marchers, but did not ban issue-focused banners and signs, whether promoting homosexuality or the pro-life cause.

Cardinal Dolan stated in his column Wednesday that he did not oppose the previous policy.

“This was simply a reasonable policy about banners and public identification, not about the sexual inclinations of participants,” he explained.

“I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching,” he said as well, “but simply identifying themselves as ‘Gay people of Irish ancestry.’”

The homosexual activist group that will march is called OUT@NBCUniversal, which describes itself as the employee resource group for LGBT & Straight Ally employees at the media giant.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

The network held the broadcast contract for parade coverage. Reports indicated the contract was about to expire, and that NBC joined in pressuring on parade officials.

Cardinal Dolan conceded in his column there were many thoughtful reasons for criticizing the parade policy change, and noted that he shared some of them.

“While a handful have been less than charitable in their reactions, I must admit that many of you have rather thoughtful reasons for criticizing the committee’s decision,” he said. “You observe that the former policy was fair; you worry that this is but another example of a capitulation to an ‘aggressive Gay agenda,’ which still will not appease their demands; and you wonder if this could make people think the Church no longer has a clear teaching on the nature of human sexuality.” 

However, he said, the most important question he had to ask himself was whether the new policy violated Catholic faith or morals.

In stressing that homosexual actions are sinful while identity is not, Cardinal Dolan said, “Catholic teaching is clear: ‘being Gay’ is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.”

Making opinion paramount, the cardinal offered that the parade committee “tried to be admirably sensitive to Church teaching,” and even though the original policy was not at all unfair, the committee was “realistic in worrying that the public perception was the opposite, no matter how often they tried to explain its coherence and fairness.”

“They worried that the former policy was being interpreted as bias, exclusion, and discrimination against a group in our city,” Cardinal Dolan wrote. “Which, if true, would also be contrary to Church teaching.”

When the decision was announced and Cardinal Dolan named the parade’s grand marshal, Philip Lawler, director of Catholic Culture and editor for Catholic World News, called it a significant advance for homosexual activists, and a significant retreat for the Catholic Church.

Pointing out in his column that the media will be correct to concentrate on that narrative at next March’s event, Lawler identified what he said is almost certain to be the result of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Next year there will be only one story-line of interest to the reporters who cover the annual parade in the world’s media capital: the triumph of the gay activists,” Lawler wrote.

“Photographers will be competing for the one ‘money’ shot: the picture of the contingent from OUT@NBCUniversal marching past the reviewing stand at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, under the benign smile of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”

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