Peter Baklinski

New woman’s magazine celebrates beauty of 'Christ-centered femininity'

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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GREENVILLE, SC, October 19, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two Catholic sisters fed-up with the mainstream expectation that women must “expose themselves” to be culturally relevant have teamed together to start a magazine that celebrates what they call the beauty of a “Christ-centered femininity.”

Dignitas Magazine — polar opposite to the how-to sex and fashion manual Seventeen — does not present women as orgasm-seeking sex dolls, but as God’s masterpieces of beauty endowed with great dignity.

Catherine and Abby Pelicano, both in their early 20s, told LifeSiteNews in an interview that they wanted to start a magazine that spoke to women about “owning their God-given value.” They wanted to present a counter-cultural, Christian perspective on the value and dignity of women.

“We were reading about the value of the human person in the eyes of God,” Abby said. “But looking around at the culture, we did not see that played out. We didn’t see people, especially women, owning their God-given value.”

Catherine said that she became interested in “human dignity” during her high school years. Her interest exploded into a passion after she attended a Theology of the Body youth conference and heard about “God’s plan” for how men and women are to live as men and women.

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The two sisters started reading and dialoguing with each other on the concepts of dignity, value, true beauty, femininity, and what it means to be a woman created in the image and likeness of God. They asked one another what these concepts meant for women.

“Our discussions were so powerful,” said Abby. “It was life changing for us to take-on these thoughts and questions about the dignity of womanhood, what it would mean to be a Christ-centered woman.”

The longer the sisters read and talked, the more they wanted to share what they discovered with other women.

“We wanted to shout out: ‘Hey ladies, we have dignity that comes from God.’”

The sisters decided that the best way to share their ideas was to start a new kind of magazine. Catherine possessed writing and editing skills. Abby was a graphic designer and photographer by trade. The sisters teamed up, pooled their resources, and produced the 68-page premier issue of Dignitas Magazine’ last April with a trail-blazing statement on the inside flap:

A stroll through the mall or a glance at the magazines in the check-out line will give you a clear idea of what our culture promotes as the ideal image of womanhood. The plunging necklines and disappearing hemlines of clothing in store windows tell you that to be a woman you must expose yourself to the world. Mainstream women’s magazines encourage this message by upholding edgy and provocative women celebrities as images to aspire to. These messages combine with hundreds of others to portray an ideal of womanhood that when tested proves unfulfilling, unattractive, and ultimately untrue.

“Our Catholic faith presents a nobler image of womanhood.

“The truth about our dignity from God gives us a powerful incentive to say ‘no’ to fashion trends that expose our bodies, and the beauty of Christ’s call to holiness motivates us to abandon the ugly provocativeness of our culture’s ideal womanhood. In their place, we discover the joyful challenge of dressing attractively yet modestly so as to affirm the worth of our bodies, as well as the fulfilling pursuit of an authentic life of virtue, especially the virtue of chastity.

The sisters stated that the the purpose of Dignitas Magazine is to “seek the truth about womanhood as God intended it to be, to encourage Catholic women to authentically live this truth, and to promote it in the world.

The sisters strive in their magazine to cultivate what they call a “very holistic approach” to the dignity of women, showcasing the beauty of authentic femininity, both inward and outward. Flipping through Dignitas, the casual reader will find articles on pro-life matters, a section on fashion, articles on the beauty of fertility, stories from the saints, and stories of real woman living out a Christ-centered femininity.

“If we have dignity that comes from God,” said Abby, “then that should impact how we dress, how we talk, how we present ourselves to the world.”

The pages of the first two issues of the online magazine have been viewed over 40 thousand times by people from every continent.

“It’s been so amazing to see how universal the theme of dignity is and how women from very different walks of life have been able to latch onto it and identify with it,” said Abby.

“A fifty year old woman told us that she ‘just loves’ that our magazine is out there and that she wants to share it with her daughters and nieces.”

The sisters hope one day to bring Dignitas to print if they can raise the money. They say that if enough people showed interest in supporting the magazine, they would have it printed “in a heartbeat”.

Nneka Bosland, a big fan of the magazine, told LifeSiteNews.com that God-fearing women “who are under so much pressure to be ‘sexy,’ immodest, immoral, and promiscuous” need a magazine like Dignitas to encourage them to “try to live a virtuous life and ‘enter through the narrow gate.’”

Dignitas showcases the beautiful life of purity, chastity and modesty that Christ has to offer,” she said.

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Lisa Bourne

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

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

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

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

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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