Patrick Craine

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‘Heads should roll’: Pro-life leaders react to U.S. Bishops agency’s funding of abortion giant PSI

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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BALTIMORE, Maryland, July 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pro-life leaders are expressing outrage after LifeSiteNews.com revealed Thursday that the U.S. Bishops’ foreign relief agency is funding a leading abortion-marketing firm.

Catholic Relief Services is distributing a two-year $2.7 million grant to Population Services International (PSI), which networks and trains local providers throughout the developing world to offer “safe abortion.” 

"Somebody has to get fired over this,” said Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM). “We fight groups like PSI all over the world and now we find our own church funds them. It's disgusting and for one I am bone-weary of these types of revelations. Heads should roll." 

Fr. Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International, said he finds it “incomprehensible” that an organization like PSI was deemed worthy of Catholic funds. 

PSI’s “primary mission has always been to promote contraception, abortifacient drugs, condoms, and even surgical abortion,” he said. “Like many other population control groups in the mid-1990s, they started to rebrand their mission as being about 'health', using more positive language and adding malaria-prevention programs to their portfolio. But this should not confuse anyone as to their purpose.” 

Judie Brown, president of American Life League, said the news was “not surprising.” “Catholic Relief Services has historically been advocates, although not publicly – behind the scenes – advocates of population control in the Third World,” she charged. 

Brown’s point was echoed by Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, who said CRS implicates itself in population control by the very fact that it receives over two thirds of its funding from USAID. 

“CRS knows very well what the principal purpose of USAID is. And it tries to, in various ways, to massage that purpose, and avoid being implicated in the purpose of population control,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, they know who’s paying their salaries, and that’s why the money goes to CARE, that’s why the money goes to PSI, that’s why the money goes back and forth to other population control agencies, because that’s what their masters in the federal government demand of them.”

“This is not an agency of the institutional Catholic Church. This is a separate aid agency, which, because it receives two thirds of its funding from the U.S. government, is Catholic in name only,” he added. “No man can serve two masters.”

The grant

The $2.7 million grant to PSI is part of a Global Fund-backed project run by CRS in Guinea to combat malaria. The funds are disbursed over the two years of the project’s initial phase, from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013. 

When LifeSiteNews questioned CRS about the grant, they initially claimed PSI had merely acted as a vendor by selling them mosquito nets, but when presented with more information, the Catholic agency acknowledged that the abortion giant is taking a decidedly more active role. 

“To be clear, now that we have had more time to talk with staff involved in the project, the money did not go specifically to purchase the nets but rather to implement other parts of the grant which is focused on distributing 3 million nets and making sure they are properly used to save thousands of lives by preventing malaria,” Michael Hill, CRS’ Senior Writer, told LifeSiteNews on Thursday. 

PSI, he said, is leading the project’s mass media marketing campaign as well as “training and overseeing community health workers” and “community organizations.” 

Though the Catholic agency stressed that PSI’s role was restricted only to malaria prevention, concern over the grant is heightened by the fact that PSI describes its work on malaria as “deeply intertwined” with its “reproductive health” agenda. 

“Reproductive, maternal and child health and malaria are all deeply intertwined, affecting poor and vulnerable populations in rural areas together,” the organization wrote in a program description [link] for a USAID-funded project in Madagascar running from 2008-2013. “Success (or failure) in one area, such as malaria, can free up resources to focus on other areas, or drag down progress.” Integrating these programs, they add, “offer[s] many opportunities to reach target audiences.” 

As LifeSiteNews reported Thursday, PSI’s “reproductive health” agenda is heavily abortion-focused. On its own webpage, the firm explains that it “works to increase access to WHO-approved medical abortion drugs,” and mentions its provision of medical abortions in Cambodia and Nepal, noting that in Cambodia it launched the country’s “first safe medical abortion drug, known as Medabon.” 

The firm markets a “safe abort kit” in India as a part of a project that aimed to “facilitate … over 200,000 safe abortions using medical abortions” from 2008-2013 by focusing “both on the demand and supply side” of the medical abortion market. 

At a “maternal health” conference in Tanzania on January 16, 2013, a PSI employee delivered a talk titled “Creating the misoprostol market”. (See video here.) 

Numerous job ads are accessible online showing PSI seeking to fill various roles in its campaign for globally-accessible abortion. Among them is one seeking a candidate with “clinical proficiency [in] surgical and medication abortion.” 

For more evidence of PSI’s work in the abortion industry view Thursday’s LSN report.

CRS willing to go to ‘third level of hell’, just not the tenth

LifeSiteNews initially began investigating CRS’ relationship with PSI because the Catholic agency’s IRS filings for 2012 showed that they had given PSI a grant of $9,588 for “agriculture.” 

But it turns out that CRS has a history of working with PSI going back at least over a decade. A page on the website of the Centers for Disease Control describes a safe water initiative in Madagascar, with an implementation date of April 2000, that CRS partnered on with PSI and CARE. On PSI’s website, CRS is listed as a partner in Zambia, Haiti, and Guinea. According to PSI’s webpage on Guinea, CRS partnered with them on a measles vaccination program there during 2009. 

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CRS has defended similar grants in the past, such as its multi-million dollar annual donations to the pro-abortion group CARE, by arguing that the funds are given only for projects in line with Catholic teaching and are not fungible because of the way the grant agreements are established. 

But the Catholic agency has also said that it would never give a dime to Planned Parenthood. “We would never partner with Planned Parenthood,” communications director John Rivera told LifeSiteNews last year. “We’ve given this a lot of consideration, and there’s a threshold in terms of what the focus of an agency is, and the preponderance of their work.”

In Thursday’s report, Michael Hichborn, director of American Life League’s Defend the Faith Project, said that CRS, in funding PSI, “might as well be funding Planned Parenthood.”

Judie Brown, ALL’s president, slammed the funding policy. “If you read Dante, there’s the ten levels of hell,” she said. By the policy’s logic, she said, “CRS is willing to go to the first, second, and third level of hell. They’re just not willing to go to all the way to the tenth.”

“The underlying philosophical bent of all of those organizations is ridding the world of poor people,” she added. “It’s just that they’re pecking order of how they get that done is a little bit different. The underlying philosophy is exactly the same.” 

“CRS should not be collaborating with any of the population control agencies funded by USAID, which means all of the agencies that receive money for ‘family planning,’ ‘reproductive health,’ and ‘population stabilization,’” said Mosher. “They are not as well known as Planned Parenthood, obviously, but they are all cut from the same cloth.” 

John Smeaton, chief executive of the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said CRS’s claims that their multi-million dollar grants to groups like CARE and PSI are not supporting their evil actions are utterly false. 

“Firstly, CARE and PSI's knowledge that, year after year, CRS will give them millions of dollars for ostensibly ethical projects enables them to budget and plan ahead for their unethical activities,” he said. “Secondly, receiving millions from CRS helps whitewash their reputations in the wider world and entrenches their presence in the countries where they operate.” 

“Lastly, there are legions of pro-life/pro-family Catholic initiatives which desperately need funding, such as MaterCare International, the Billings Ovulation Method and Culture of Life Africa,” he added. “CRS' millions for CARE and PSI should be given to them instead."

A plea to the U.S. Bishops

According to Brown, the problems at CRS are “something that we’ve tried to call attention to the bishops for a long time.” 

“The longer the bishops remain in denial, the more obvious this population control aspect of CRS is going to become. Because they have nothing to lose, they have nothing to fear,” she cautioned. 

In her view, the issues are so deep that an attempt at reform simply wouldn’t be enough. “What has to happen is that the USCCCB itself has to dismantle this organization completely,” she said. Unfortunately, she added, “I just don’t see that happening.” 

Mosher urged action from individual bishops in their dioceses. “What we need in the United States is for a number of bishops to … say that until these problems with CRS are cleared up, they will not be taking a collection for CRS,” he said. “They will be encouraging Catholics in the U.S. to give to authentic Catholic charities.” 

“If you sup with the devil, you need a long spoon,” said Mosher, but “there is no spoon long enough to sup with this particular devil.” 

“This particular devil is in the business of destroying human life and any agency that’s supposed to be Catholic must not have anything to do with that agenda.” 

Contact info:

Cardinal Robert Sarah
Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"
Palazzo San Pio X
V-00120 Vatican City State
Phone: +39-06-69889411
Fax: +39-06-69887301 or +39-06-69887311
E-mail: corunum@corunum.va

Find contact information for all U.S. Bishops here.

Readers may also comment on Catholic Relief Services’ Facebook page.

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Cardinal Walter Kasper Catholic Church of England and Wales / Flickr
Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

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Kasper: Cardinals defending Catholic teaching on marriage are attacking Pope Francis

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

ROME -- Cardinal Walter Kasper, who unveiled a plan at last February’s consistory of cardinals to admit divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to Communion without receiving sacramental absolution, is claiming again in the Italian press that he has Pope Francis’ backing. Kasper said the cardinals who are opposing his plan are, in fact, targeting the pope himself.

In interviews published over the last two days in Italy and Germany, Kasper has depicted himself as a victim of an “ideological” campaign.

“They claim to know on their own what truth is, but Catholic doctrine is not a closed system, but a living tradition that develops,” Kasper said yesterday in the Italian paper Il Matino.  “Some of the next Synod want an ideological war. The doctrine of the Church is open, but they want a crystallized truth.”

Responding to the publication of a book of essays defending traditional teaching by five cardinals and other theologians, Kasper said, “The target of the controversy is not me, but the Pope.”

Asked whether he expects a “doctrinal war in the Synod” Kasper said, “I certainly don’t want it. They perhaps want it. I think of a pastoral Synod.” He added that the pope “also wants a pastoral synod.”

“I’m not naïve,” Kasper said. “I knew that there are other positions, but I didn't think that the debate would become, and now is shown to be also, without manners.”

“Not one of my fellow Cardinals ever spoke to me. I, instead, [spoke] twice with the Holy Father. I agreed upon everything with him. He was in agreement. What can a cardinal do, except be with Pope? I am not the target, the target is another one.”

Kasper again claimed that Pope Francis knew what he was going to propose and fully approved of his speech.

“They know that I have not done these things by myself,” he said. “I agreed with the Pope, I spoke twice with him. He showed himself content [with the proposal]. Now, they create this controversy. A Cardinal must be close to the Pope, by his side. The Cardinals are the Pope's cooperators.”

In another interview with the Tablet, a liberal Catholic magazine in the UK, Kasper said that he has the “impression” that Pope Francis is open to his idea. “I hope the bishops will listen to the voice of people who live as divorced and remarried – the sensus fidei. They should listen and then next year they should decide what is possible and what is not possible.”  

Since his consistory keynote speech, there has been a steady stream of interviews and articles by some of the Church’s highest-ranking cardinals and bishops explaining repeatedly why any change to Catholic teaching is impossible. The Church teaches, in keeping with the words of Christ in the Gospels that marriage cannot be broken unless one spouse dies, and that therefore those who divorce and remarry are living in a state of mortal sin as adulterers. Only if they pledge to change their lives and receive absolution in the sacrament of confession can they be allowed to receive Holy Communion.

But Kasper’s plan does not include any attempt to directly change Catholic doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage or the nature of the sin of adultery. Kasper himself has also said that Catholic teaching is impossible to change, coming as it does directly from the words of Christ in the Gospel. He says he merely suggests that the Church could “tolerate” a “second marriage” of which it does not approve.

On the second day of the consistory, following Kasper’s speech, Pope Francis opened the proceedings by praising Kasper’s “deep” and “serene” thoughts in theology, and asking for unity among those cardinals present. “This is called doing theology while kneeling,” Francis said.

In an interview given in New York in May, Kasper, who is one of the hierarchy’s most prominent old-school “liberal” theologians, said that couples in what the Church calls “irregular unions” who live chastely “as brother and sister” are indeed exercising “heroic” virtue, but that such heroism is “not for the average Christian.”

At the same time, Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, known as one of Europe’s more “progressive” Catholic prelates, has published a 22-page open letter to the Synod bishops, translated into several languages. Bishop Bonny has asked for the Synod to move beyond the restrictions placed on Catholics by the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae that confirmed the Church’s ban on birth control and restore the supreme place of individual “conscience” over Catholic doctrine.

Bishop Bonny called for the Synod bishops to close the “gap” between “the moral teachings of the Church and the moral insights of the faithful.” He asked the to Synod to “restore conscience to its rightful place in the teaching of the Church.”

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He dismissed Pope John Paul II’s document Familiaris Consortio, which upheld the traditional teaching on marriage and sexuality, saying that in it “the judgment of personal conscience on methods of family planning features rarely if at all.”

“Many believers, particularly those belonging to ecclesial organisations and ‘centre field’ Christians, were no longer able to agree with the dogmatic texts and moral statements coming from Rome,” Bishop Bonny wrote of the years following Humanae Vitae’s publication. Afterwards, a “succession of documents on sexual, family-related and bio-ethical issues, and with the highest doctrinal authority, was faced with increasing incomprehension and far reaching indifference.”

He complained that the doctrine of Humanae Vitae has since been “enforced with a firm hand,” which has created “exclusion and missed opportunities.”

“This discord cannot continue,” the bishop wrote. “The bond between the collegiality of the bishops and the primacy of the bishop of Rome that was manifest during the Second Vatican Council must be restored and without delay.”

“Whenever I speak with people,” he wrote, “I’m unable to repeat certain formulations from church doctrine without appearing unjustifiably judgmental, without hurting them deeply and without giving a mistaken idea of the church.”

“What do I expect from the forthcoming Synod? That it will restore conscience to its rightful place in the teaching of the Church in line with [Vatican II document] Gaudium et Spes.”

Vatican journalist Sandro Magister wrote today that the rhetoric continues to escalate in the final days before the opening of the Synod, which will make no final decisions and be followed by another meeting of bishops in October 2015.

Magister wrote that the Synod has come to “resemble Pope Francis in one thing,” explaining that “it admits no predictions on how it will develop, far less on how it will end.”

“This is the way the pope wanted it: open to free discussion even on the most divisive points, like for example whether or not to give communion to divorced Catholics who have remarried in a civil ceremony.”

Magister said that Francis started the speculation by allowing the Synod’s preparatory questionnaire to be distributed to the laity in parishes – “on all the questions concerning the family, from contraception to communion for the divorced, from de facto couples to marriage between homosexuals.” This, he said, was taken up by the German episcopate, “igniting expectations of liberalization in the discipline of the Church.”

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Don Feder

The only way to beat our demographic crisis is to confront the Sexual Revolution

Don Feder
By Don Feder

Editor’s Note: The following address was delivered by Don Feder, communications director for the World Congress of Families, at the International Forum: Large Family and the Future of Humanity in Moscow September 10-12, 2014.

If current trends continue, we won’t run out of energy or other natural resources in the foreseeable future. We will run out of people. This global catastrophe will be the result of rapidly declining fertility, known as Demographic Winter.

In 1960, worldwide, the average woman had 5 children. Now, that number is 2.6 and falling – in other words, a decline of almost 50 percent in a little more than 50 years. Today, 59 countries with 44 percent of the world’s population have below-replacement fertility. Many developed nations have fertility rates of 1.5 or lower, with 2.1 needed just to replace current population.

This didn’t happen spontaneously. Demographic Winter is the direct result of the Sexual Revolution – which first became noticeable in the late 1960s, not coincidentally, about the time birth rates began to fall.

The dogma of the Sexual Revolution – which has become ingrained social wisdom in the West -- might be summarized as follows:

  1. Sex is the most important aspect of existence;
  2. When sex is consensual, it’s always good;
  3. The primary purpose of sex is pleasure, not procreation or the physical expression of love;
  4. The primary purpose of life is pleasure;
  5. Inhibitions lead to neuroses and must be overcome;
  6. Sex has nothing to do with morality; and
  7. Sex should not only be guilt-free, but free of consequences -- hence contraception, hence abortion, hence abandonment of marriage.

The prophets of the Sexual Revolution include Sigmund Freud,  “researchers” like Alfred Kinsey and Masters and Johnson, pornographers like Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, and feminists like Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, and Simone de Beauvoir.  In the United States, the Sexual Revolution is spearheaded by groups like Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, the (homosexual) Human Rights Campaign, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS).

The impact of the Sexual Revolution on fertility cannot be overstated.

For the first time in history, just under half the world’s population of child-bearing age uses some form of birth control. By 2015, the global contraceptives market will generate an estimated $17.2 billion annually.

Overwhelmingly, this is financed by governments, businesses or international aid agencies. Other species have become extinct. Ours may be the first to finance its own extinction.

Worldwide, there are approximately 42 million abortions a year.  That’s more than twice the number of military deaths in World War II.

From a demographic perspective, we’re not just losing 42 million people annually, but also their children, grandchildren and other descendants down through the ages. We are, quite literally, aborting our future.

The flight from marriage has affected fertility even more profoundly than contraceptives. In France, in 2010, more people began living together than married.

In the United States, in 1960, 59 percent of 18-to-29-year olds (those in their prime childbearing years) were married , compared to only 20 percent today.

Once a central reality of existence, marriage is increasingly optional. In its place have come cohabitation, casual liaisons and out-of-wedlock births. Not surprisingly, fewer marriages – especially early marriages -- result in fewer children.

Just as Demographic Winter is the result of the Sexual Revolution, the latter is the result of something called Cultural Marxism – a movement associated with Antonio Gramsci, the Frankfurt School and Herbert Marcuse.

Cultural Marxism was their answer to the failure of worldwide revolution after the First World War. Gramsci believed family and church gave workers what communists called a “false class consciousness” that made them immune to the appeals of Marxism.

The solution, then, was to destroy the family and religion – and what better way to do that than to foster sexual license and a society oriented toward mindless pleasure and away from hearth and home.

While there’s no proof that dramatically declining fertility is what Cultural Marxists wanted, it’s the natural consequence of creating a highly eroticized society where family is viewed as an obstacle to self-fulfillment and children as a burden.

We won’t find our way out of the forest of Demographic Winter until the Sexual Revolution is overthrown -- its prophets exposed and its dogma debunked.

Ultimately, the Sexual Revolution is about death – abortion, contraception, sexually-transmitted disease, pornography and promiscuity, in place of marriage, fidelity, procreation, and responsibility.

To combat both the Sexual Revolution and Demographic Winter, we must embrace a philosophy of life. For does not the Bible tell us: “I have set before you this day life and death, blessing and curses. Therefore, choose life so that you may live – you and your children.”

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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.

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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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