Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Video series sponsored by Jesuits promotes homosexuality

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, September 3, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A series of videos sponsored by the Jesuit Roman Catholic religious order, titled “Who are we to judge,” in reference to a comment made earlier this year by Pope Francis about homosexual priests, has come under fire for promoting the idea that there is no conflict between being a faithful Catholic and being an active homosexual. 

The video series was produced by the Ignatian News Network, a YouTube channel that is a joint project of the US Jesuits and Loyola Productions in Los Angeles, to feature videos about the work and mission of the American Jesuits. 

Prominently featured in the series is Arthur Fitzmaurice, the head of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry (CALGM), a group that is currently under censure by their local Catholic bishop for misrepresenting Catholic teaching. Fitzmaurice says in the videos that his “coming out” experience as a homosexual “strengthened my faith journey”. At first he said he had asked God, “how do I leave this cross behind me, how do I become a straight man?” which he said changed in time to “a realisation that God made me to be this gay person”. 

Fitzmaurice says that his group only wants “to create a Church where all are welcome at all parishes. And once they’re there, not just being welcomed, but a place where they’re going to thrive.” 

However, in June of last year, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, where CALGM is based, issued a statement saying that the group cannot be regarded as “authentically Catholic” due to their opposition to Catholic teaching.

In letters to the GALGM board, Cordileone requested that each member “strive to clearly present Catholic doctrine on homosexuality in its fullness” and “profess personally to hold and believe, and practice all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be true, whether from the natural moral law or by way revelation from God through Scripture and tradition”. The group’s leadership twice told Cordileone they refused to sign such a declaration. 

Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews.com that the video series presents an unbalanced view of Catholic teaching. 

“It is good to point out that the Church nowhere condemns people who are attracted to members of the same sex,” he said. “As the Church says, it is not the person with same-sex attraction that is disordered, it is the attraction itself that is disordered, and homosexual acts themselves are always gravely sinful.”  

But he said that it is a failure of pastoral charity and genuine brotherly love to “create the impression that sinful behavior is somehow morally acceptable in the Church, or that an identity based on disordered sexuality must be celebrated by the Church.” 

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“In a modern social and political climate where the Church is being persecuted precisely for her truthful and loving stand on human sexuality and marriage, what we need is not more ambiguity about what the Church teaches, but a more robust defense of the truth that she holds,” he said. 

“And organizations that have been rightly chastised by our bishops for their public opposition to Church teaching should not receive an uncritical hearing in Catholic media.” 

Paragraph 2357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that while people with same-sex attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” Scripture clearly “presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity.”  

“[T]radition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’. They are contrary to the natural law,” it adds. “They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

This teaching is not mentioned in any of the three videos of the series.

The first video in the series starts with an interview with Fr. James Martin, S.J., a prominent US media personality and Jesuit priest in New York, who has made advocating for the normalisation of homosexuality in the Catholic Church a prominent feature of his career. 

Martin says that “many LGBT people” “have very deep spiritual lives and are Christians.” He also denies a conflict between the Catholic Church and the homosexual movement, saying, “It’s not as if you have atheist gays on one side, and religious or spiritual straight people on the other.” 

Martin also praises the movement in the Catholic Church in the US and elsewhere that is a feature of many parishes that encourages homosexuals to believe they can be actively “gay” and faithful as Catholics, without contradiction. “The idea that someone could come out and be honest and transparent and open about the way that God created them, I think is terrific. I think it’s something that the Catholic Church can support,” he says. 

Martin adds, “If a music minister is gay, it doesn’t matter [to other parishioners] if they’re homosexual…it matters that they did a great job at the [liturgy of the] Easter Vigil. 

“If a spiritual director is gay, it doesn’t matter that they’re homosexual. It matters that they’ve brought people to God through prayer.” 

Episode 2 of the series features John Paul Godges, a “gay Catholic” author, who says at the opening of Episode 2, “My Christian faith, of course, has been a source of strength in my spiritual journey throughout my life as a gay man. My experience as a gay man has been a source of strength in my Christian journey.” 

“A gay identity can inspire and deepen a Christian faith.” 

Godges says, “I often tell people that being Catholic is like being American. And just because some politician prosecutes a misbegotten war, I’m not going to renounce my citizenship and flee to Canada. I’m going to stay and fight and communicate and converse and speak at retreats and do whatever I can to promote the best that’s in the Catholic Church…I’m not going to let anyone take that away from me.” 

In the third installement of the video he says that he hopes "that in the future lesbian and gay and bisexual and transgender people can be open and visible in the Church, and not have it be any big deal."

Fr. Boquet Boquet told LifeSiteNews.com that he agrees that people who experience same-sex attraction aren't “excluded” from the Church. He added, however, that there can never be any acceptance of homosexual behaviour. 

“Chaste persons who are attracted to others of the same sex understand and appreciate this stand of the Church, and many have lived lives of great virtue and holiness,” Fr. Boquet said. “Whatever our sinful dispositions,” Catholics who want to be faithful must “truly desire to leave these behind and in humility, ask for forgiveness in the sacrament of confession”. 

“The person who does this with a sincere heart will be forgiven, whoever he is attracted to,” he added. 


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

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By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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