Ben Johnson

L.A. Archdiocese Religious Education Congress speakers support gay priests, Obama, masturbation

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, March 22, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Religious Education Congress bills itself as an “opportunity to hear God’s voice in their own lives.” However, some of the featured speakers at the March 22-25 event, said to be the largest of its kind in the world, have described Barack Obama as “pro-life,” longed for “public models of gay priests,” opposed marriage protection legislation, and encouraged children to engage in “genital self-touch.”

Neither Tod M. Tamberg nor Carolina Guevara, media representatives for the Archdiocese, responded to an e-mail from LifeSiteNews.com concerning allegations speakers at the REC deviate from the Church’s teachings by supporting homosexual priests or masturbation.

When LifeSiteNews called to follow-up, Tamberg insisted he did not receive the e-mail, then hung up on us.

When asked about the e-mail, which was sent Thursday morning, Tamberg said rapidly: “Didn’t get any e-mails. Um, didn’t get any e-mails at all. Don’t know what you’re talkin’ about. And I’m running down to the Congress right now. So, sorry. Thanks for your call, though. Bye-bye!”

His side of the call lasted 13 seconds. He immediately hung up. Neither Tamberg nor Guevara returned calls for follow-up.

However, LifeSiteNews.com has confirmed a number of the speakers at the archdiocesan event, which runs Thursday through Sunday, have a history of dissent or controversy.

Dr. Richard Gaillardetz wrote in 2008 that Barack Obama was “the pro-life candidate.”

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

“I have come to believe that the true ‘pro-life’ candidate is not the one who champions opposition to Roe v. Wade,” he wrote in the Toledo Blade, but one who supports “policies that would extend substantial financial and health-care assistance to poor families facing unplanned pregnancies.” The bishop of Toledo, Leonard Blair, wrote the paper to say Gaillardetz’ views “do not reflect the clear and consistent moral position of the United States Catholic bishops.”

Dr. Gaillardetz will host REC sessions entitled “Behind the Scenes at Vatican II: The Council that Almost Failed” and “Four Paths to Wisdom in the Christian Tradition.” Both will be recorded for posterity.

Fr. Bryan Massingale, a priest with the archdiocese of Milwaukee and an associate professor of moral theology at Marquette University, spoke last March before the group “Equally Blessed,” which describes itself as “a coalition of faithful Catholics who support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both in the church and in civil society.” The professor, who has said he wants the Church to be “more sensuous and feminine,”  publicly opposed Wisconsin’s Marriage Protection Act last year.  His recorded talk, “Whatever Happened to the Common Good,” laments “the challenges of living this conviction in a fragmented and divided society.”

Fr. James Martin of America magazine participated in a workshop at the 2005 Religious Education Congress, where he told the faithful: “f only there were more public models of gay priests. In the absence of any healthy gay priests for Catholics to reflect on publicly, and with the only examples being notorious pedophiles, the stereotype of the gay priest as child abuser only deepens.”

Fr. Martin will present an “Arena Session” at the 2012 Religious Education Conference on “Heaven and Mirth: Joy, Humor and Laughter in the Spiritual Life,” which will be recorded.

Sister Fran Ferder, a Franciscan nun, has said the Church needs a “theology of body touch, body exploration,” especially for children. “Ordinary genital self-touch can be very important and can help children come to reverence their bodies, to know them,” she said.

Sr. Ferder has stated Catholic bishops shame sexual sins in order to control their flock. Such “negative messages” about “sexual mistakes,” she said,“have to do with control and maintaining power. The patriarchal dominance in the hierarchy is incredibly strong, and sexual mandates are a good way to scare and control people.” 

She and Fr. John Heagle from the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, direct the Therapy and Renewal Associates, based in Seattle. Fr. Heagle has stated the Church needs to listen to the “love stories of the gay and lesbian community.”

They are teaching a recorded workshop, on “Beyond Belief: Reclaiming Biblical Faith.” Its description states, “This shift has contributed to a growing chasm between spirituality and religion, and a “crisis of faith” for many people. This presentation explores practical ways in which we can reclaim a more personal, biblical way of believing.”

Dr. Michael Downey will give a recorded workshop on “The Suffering That Speaks Justice.” Downey edited the book My Song is of Mercy by the late Fr. Matthew Kelty. In it, Kelty wrote, “There are none more called to [the Catholic priesthood], more capable of it, more created for it, than the people we call gay.” Since they have both male and female personality traits, Fr. Kelty wrote, “They begin from day one a process of integration others do not even have a hint of before they are 40. Bless them!” The “gay,” he wrote, is “larger than life…society’s blessing, the Church’s hope.” His only concern was that even homosexuals are “so western, so capitalist, so male-oriented.” In his introduction, Downey enthused, “My hope is that this volume will offer the opportunity for lectio divina,” holy and meditative reading often reserved for the Scriptures and the writings of the saints.

Dr. Downey served as theologian for Cardinal Mahony in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and is a professor of systematic theology at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California.

Not all are who speak at this year’s REC are dissenters. Fr. Leo Patalinghug, who created a video opposing the HHS mandate, is speaking on “Food Is Love: A Eucharistic Theology for the Family.”  His talk will not be recorded.

As well, the new and known to be orthodox Archbishop of Los Angeles, José Gomez, will be participating in a number of events during the Congress. Archbishop Gomez, who replaced now retired Cardinal Mahony, has been at the helm of the very liberal diocese for only one year.

Contact information:
Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Office of the Archbishop of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Boulevard, 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241
Phone: (213) 637-7534
FAX: (213) 637-6510
info@la-archdiocese.org

Office of Media Relations
(213) 637-7215
(213) 216-8395
mediarelations@la-archdiocese.org

* Important*
See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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