Karen Dudek

Prominent Catholics confused about contraception

Karen Dudek
By Karen Dudek
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May 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Recently, Melinda Gates announced her plan to spend billions to provide contraceptive drugs to poor women around the world. She has the support and encouragement of a group of Ursuline nuns. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, though she is behind the insurance mandate forcing employers to provide contraception to their employees, has been honored with an invitation to speak at commencement at the Jesuit University of Georgetown.

What is disturbing to the faithful who are united with the bishops and the Holy Father is that all these people are Catholics…they are influential, active, and deeply divided over the subject of contraception and other moral teachings of the church. This division was demonstrated painfully this past week when Jay Leno, another Catholic, confronted Rick Santorum on the “Tonight Show,” asking, “What is wrong with contraception, pornography and same-sex marriage?”

The word Catholic means “universal,” but all Catholics are not alike these days. From Nancy Pelosi to Kathleen Sebelius to Melinda Gates to Jay Leno, Catholics who were baptized into Christ are reducing the authority of the Church and her Magisterium (teaching office) to an even playing field of personal opinion that is rooted in our culture. They are refusing tradition (the constant teaching by the Church on a matter of faith and morals) and trading it in for what they believe is a more progressive, sophisticated view of the world:

“Melinda’s beliefs on birth control are different from those of the Catholic Church,” say the Ursulines, who “respect her right to speak from her research and experience of the world we live in.” Academy President Margaret Ann Moser says that the nuns are “proud of Gates’ dedication to social justice, and her compassion for the underserved ... Melinda Gates leads from her conscience, and acts on her beliefs as a concerned citizen of our world,” says Moser.

These Catholics, at best, are trying to revolutionize the world according to their personal view of morality: a subjective view that may be sincere, but still morally incorrect.

It is important to note that these Ursuline women do not represent the views of all female religious. Says Sr. MaryAnn Foggin, of the Servants of God’s Love in Ann Arbor, Michigan, “I am always sad to see women religious applaud, support, or endorse positions that are in direct opposition to the Catholic Church. It usually finds it’s way into the press and then is touted as the position of all women religious.”

These actions not only oppose and undermine the Church on her mission of social justice, denigrating her knowledge of science and the world, but they also contend that she is wrong in her teaching on contraception - a teaching that is based on unchanging moral truth, which we understand simply through natural law.

“Natural law says that if you want things to prosper, you have to use them in accord with their nature and live with the reality of the things you are using,” says Janet Smith, a moral theologian.

Dr. Angela Frank, an expert on sexual ethics and eugenics, is a fan of Church-supported Natural Family Planning. “We need self-control not birth control. The Church says we must work with fertility in a healthy way rather than take a pill to stop it.

The American cultural bias does not change objective truth to make a wrong action right or good. Following one’s conscience is incumbent on a conscience informed by truth: enlightened by prayer and the teachings of Jesus and the Magisterium. But many Catholics today are missing that crucial step.

According to Jessica Condon, a 27-year-old future nun with the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, “[w]e are all in a passionate search for the truth. But we are easily led astray by our relativistic mindsets to the failure of half-truths. We only want the truth insofar as it suits us. You may have heard this in the form of phrases like, ‘Do what your heart tells you and it’s your truth.’ or ‘I’m ok, you’re ok, we’re all ok.’ We form the truth to our consciences instead of forming our consciences according to the truth. But then we end up unsatisfied and unhappy, and we wonder why our lives are so miserable.”

Since “the Pill” became widely available in the ’60s, we have had time to evaluate the Church’s teachings and see for ourselves what kind of fruit it has brought about. According to Smith:

In the 60’s, it was not a stupid expectation that contraceptives would make for better marriages, fewer unwanted pregnancies, fewer abortions; but the cultural evidence today shows absolutely the contrary. And it’s very hard for us to see because our culture tells us that more and better contraceptives and more and greater access to abortion is absolutely necessary in this society[.] … Now the Church said otherwise … Pope Paul VI didn’t predict this in great detail, but he certainly predicted the broad strokes of what happened. And you might ask, “How did he see it when the rest of us couldn’t? What did he know that we didn’t know?” Well, he had a whole history of the church behind him, some two thousand years. And some of us, of course, believe he had the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and he couldn’t miss because he wasn’t using human wisdom here. Human wisdom showed something quite different, and I don’t think that human wisdom was implausible, but it has turned out to be dead wrong.

The Church has said that unless you live in accord with the nature of human sexuality, chaos will result. Ms. Condon describes the situation: “I saw a commercial for an intra-uterine contraceptive that promises that women who use it won’t have to worry about taking ‘the pill’ and it will take the stress out of birth control. In the same commercial, the makers state that using their product can cause bleeding, sterilization, and inadvertently aborting your baby if you are already pregnant[.] … What are these drugs really doing to women? What are they doing to men and to marriages? You would think that most people would ask themselves these questions. What many women see is that contraceptives give them ‘freedom.’ The ‘freedom’ to choose when and how they want to have children. Contraceptives such as the pill and intra-uterine contraceptives can kill your baby AND run the risk of making you infertile.”

Though the Pill was originally designed to prevent conception, it works today to prevent births through abortion.

According to the Catholic Church, abortion is not only “the expulsion of the immature fetus,” but is also “the killing of the same fetus in any way and at any time from the moment of conception.” This definition of abortion includes the use of any of the following:

• all birth control pills, because every birth control pill manufactured today causes early abortions part of the time;
• mini-pills, morning-after pills, and true abortion pills such as RU-486;
• injectable or insertable abortifacients such as NORPLANT and Depo-Provera
• the use of all intrauterine devices (IUDs), which are all abortifacients and act by preventing the implantation of the already-fertilized zygote.” (American Life League)

Planned Parenthood pro-abortionist Dr. Christopher Tietze affirmed that statistically, even with proper use of the Pill, it is only a matter of time before a woman becomes pregnant: “Within 10 years, 20 to 50 percent of pill users and a substantial majority of users of other methods may be expected to experience at least one repeat abortion.”

Problems for women on the Pill include heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, unwanted pregnancy, and indirect effects: increased promiscuity, illegitimate births, increased venereal disease, and degradation of marriage.

An estimated five hundred women a year die from effects from the Pill. It is ironic indeed that the same pill that feminists pushed as part of their solution to “excessive illegal abortion deaths” now kills five times as many women per year as illegal abortions themselves did before Roe v. Wade.

How does birth control affect the male/female relationship? According to Pope Paul VI, “it is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anticonceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.”

Says Condon, “Contraceptives are a lie that today’s society prevaricates. We need to not allow society to form our consciences, we need to allow the Truth found in Jesus and His Church to educate us and form our consciences[.] … [W]e will never be happy living a life full of half-truths. We will only be happy when our constant, passionate searching ends in Truth[.] … Stay true to Jesus, stay true to His Church, and find the Truth you have been looking for all your life.”

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

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

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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