Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Hilary White: How a fire was lit within me

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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September 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - I’ve never been much of a one for anniversaries. I’m notorious amongst my friends for forgetting birthdays and other significant dates. So I can’t really tell you when, exactly, I got involved in the pro-life movement, but I’m better with words and can relate to you exactly the conversations I had that got it all started.

I had spent the year, 1998, being very ill and so, not working and without much energy and a lot of time on my hands, I decided it was a good opportunity to fill a gap in my education and get read up on philosophy. One book led to another, and I ended up spending most of that year learning all about the two hundred and fifty years of philosophical developments (the “Enlightenment,” utilitarianism, etc.) that led up to our current and ongoing abortion holocaust and the whole Culture of Death, as the late John Paul II so succinctly described it. The abortionist culture did not just start in 1968.

In that year well spent, I discovered the pro-life movement through the back door, so to speak. Unlike most people who become interested in life issues, I did not start with abortion, which I already recognised as a horror that had to be outlawed and punished. I started with the new reproductive technologies.

In my reading, I had found out a good deal about how the ethical problems surrounding embryo research, cloning, artificial procreation, had been glossed over through lies and linguistic and political manipulation.

I learned in detail how the world was made to accept IVF, with all its attendant atrocities, and how one thing literally led to another and we now have embryo experimentation, cloned human/animal hybrids, organ farming and “disposable” human beings, while all the world’s “ethicists” continue to tell us that everything is just fine.

The new thought started in 17th and 18th centuries, and said that man was just a random collection of cells and that human life had no transcendent meaning. It says that individual human beings are unimportant and their needs should be subordinated to those of the state. It asserts that individual “autonomy” is the highest good and once it is gone, a human life has no value.

These theories have led to the belief that it was acceptable, indeed meritorious, to end the lives of those whom others considered unsatisfactory or inconvenient. This is the core of the Culture of Death.

I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the time and I hung out a great deal with a group of young Catholics in a Catholic bookshop that served at the time as a kind of meeting place. I remember quite distinctly towards the end of that year one of the ladies who worked in the shop asked me how my reading was going.

I said I had learned a lot but that it had started something else in me, something I hadn’t known was there. I told my friend that learning these things, having my eyes opened to just how far western society had sunk, had lit a fire in me. I was filled with a desire to do something about it, to try to show others how these ideas were evil disguised as good, and to reverse these terrible trends of thought.

“There is a war going on that hardly anyone even knows about but that affects everyone,” I said. “And I want to get into the fight.”

She invited me to a meeting of the local pro-life organisation. Since then, I’ve served in the war in Toronto and now in Rome, working in lobbying and education. In writing for LifeSiteNews for seven years, I’ve seen the big picture and learned that the same war is being fought on numerous fronts in nearly every country in the world.

I remember once being told by a woman who didn’t like the pro-life movement, that she rejected such “confrontational” language. She thought everyone should just be nice and get along, that people in the pro-life movement should drop terms like “opposition” and “fight”. I was told that we had to find “common ground” and “be a part of the dialogue” and not “shut ourselves off” from the political process with these “extreme” views.

But what else is it possible to call this but a war? We who do this work, in all sorts of venues, see that there are many people, deluded and corrupted by these false ideologies, who are clearly opposed to us, who want to continue expanding the Culture of Death until it has engulfed the whole world and all opposition is quashed and silenced forever. They want to remake the world in the image of a death camp.

How can this not be opposed? How can we try to “find common ground” with people who want to do this? How is this anything but a war? One that is fought in boardrooms, and parliaments, at the UN and the EU, in ethics committee rooms in hospitals and in doctors’ offices. It has already taken countless millions of innocent lives, and destroyed the souls and ruined the happiness of millions more?

I don’t hate the people who oppose us, but I know that what they want to do must be stopped. The world they want, though they don’t understand this, would be a horror, a dystopia worse than any science fiction movie.

A few months after I had moved to Toronto to work for Campaign Life Coalition, the pope came to visit. John Paul II made one of his last trips abroad to visit Canada for World Youth Day and as a participant, I went to confession in a big barn-like building on the CNE grounds with hundreds of others.

I picked the priest that day because he looked like the most austere one there. He was quite slim and wearing a long black Benedictine habit. I was expecting someone terribly holy and severe, but the fellow turned out to be quite a friendly Midwestern American who heard my confession and then patiently listened to me complain that God wasn’t letting me know what my vocation was.

Suddenly, he asked if I were married.

“No, I’m not married,” I said, somewhat taken aback.

“Ah,” he said, smiling mysteriously. “Any kids?”

“No.”

“You look after elderly relatives, perhaps?”

“Actually, I have no family, really,” I said, wondering where this was going.

He looked at me quite seriously and said, “Oh, the Lord just LOVES people like you. He can send you anywhere; you’re free to do anything for Him.”

At the time I just laughed, maybe a bit uncomfortably and went on my way.

I’ve thought a few times about that exchange, nearly ten years ago now and wondered if this young priest didn’t have prophetic powers. Because he had hit the nail smack on the head.

It’s true. I am free to go places and do things, to be mobile and available, in a way that a married woman with children or a sister in a community would not be. And I’m grateful for this, in a way, though it has given me reason to complain.

I know that a lot of our readers have the same fire in the guts. How could you not, when you read LifeSiteNews every day?

I know that we receive a lot of mail from people who say that they would love to do what we do but can’t. Many of our readers are parents with grave responsibilities that keep them from being involved more actively. You want to get into the fight, to change the world, to reverse the disaster that we can all see coming on the world.

This week, we are trying to raise funds to keep us going another year. The Death Movement, in all its manifestations, has the benefit of millions of dollars of government funds. They are given unimaginable resources by the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

It seems to be a rule with God that He likes to keep His employees on their toes. The pro-life movement is not funded by rich philanthropists. We are funded a bit at a time, by regular people, people with kids and jobs and mortgages, who want to be in on the fight.

This is the key that we have that the Death Movement doesn’t. They may have money, and a lot of political influence, but we’ve got you. Polls continually show that ordinary people don’t want legalised abortion. They’re horrified by atrocities like human/animal hybrid clones. They want the natural family to be protected. And they want to be involved. And that is what LifeSiteNews allows you to do.

I’ve written this before. There is a way in which we are your proxies and your conduit to the war’s battlefronts. We do this work in the way we do, with our phone lines open and our email address available, so that everyone who wants to can participate.

When we write articles, we do so every time with a mind to help people understand the Big Picture of the war against human life and the natural family. We work for you to help you be informed and to understand and know how you can fight in the war in your current situation, without having to move to Washington or Toronto or London or Rome. We include contact information so that you can write to add your voices to say, Stop.

This is something no other organisation does as well as we do. This is war, a terrible global war for lives and souls. And you are involved in it with us.

To the extent that your circumstances permit, please join with us in this good work with a financial contribution today.

I want to thank you, for your generosity over the years that has allowed me and the rest of the LSN staff to keep doing this work. And to thank you for being in it with us.

Hilary White
Rome

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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.

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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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