A south Wales couple ignored doctors’ advice to abort their daughter and now they’re sharing the story of their happy, healthy “miracle” child.
Willow Duffield was just 2 lbs., 6 oz. when she was born. Today she’s nine months old and being described as happy, thriving and on-target developmentally.
“She had so many different things that were stacking up against her. She is our miracle baby,” Leanne Duffield told WalesOnline.
For the first 20 weeks Duffield’s pregnancy had been normal. Then after a routine scan she and husband Chris were given distressing news. Doctors said there was a lack of amniotic fluid, and that this generally means the child has suffered abnormalities that would make survival impossible.
Duffield was scheduled for her next prenatal appointment, but then her water broke at 23 weeks and she was admitted to the hospital.
“When we had been for the scan there was no fluid at all,” she said. “But when my waters broke at 23 weeks it was just like it was with the others. It was a gush and I couldn’t understand.”
Doctors were afraid the baby’s lungs would be too undeveloped for her to breathe on her own or even for medics to ventilate her, WalesOnline reported.
"They thought I would deliver the baby and we had the bereavement midwife come and talk to us. It was a bit overwhelming," said Duffield.
However her labor did not progress and Duffield was later transferred to another hospital where she was kept on bed rest and given steroids to help the child’s lungs develop. With Duffield confined to the hospital, the family shared Christmas dinner with her there in her ward.
On January 13 she had a potentially fatal placental abruption, when the placenta detaches from the interior of the womb, and Willow was delivered by emergency C-section.
Even though the baby was born with lung problems, she did not have any of the complications with her limbs or spine the doctors had feared.
After nearly 100 days in the hospital Willow Duffield was allowed to go home in April with an oxygen tank, where she is steadily improving.
“A couple of oxygen tubes are nothing compared to what we were prepared for. We didn’t know what to expect, but we had prepared ourselves for the worst case scenario," said Chris.
The domino effect set in motion by last year’s U.S. Supreme Court DOMA decision continued Sunday as a U.S. District Judge in Alaska overturned the state’s 16-year-old marriage protection amendment.
Alaska had been the first state in the U.S. to enact such an amendment, which constitutionally defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The decision is just the latest in a string of federal court decisions overturning established state laws banning the recognition of same-sex “marriage.” In the last month alone, thirteen states have had their marriage protection laws struck down, and the U.S. Supreme Court has so far refused to intervene.
Judge Timothy Burgess, an appointee of President George W. Bush, heard arguments Friday in the case, which was brought by five homosexual couples seeking to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex “marriage.” Burgess took only two days to make his decision, issuing a ruling Sunday declaring the ban unconstitutional.
“Refusing the rights and responsibilities afforded by legal marriage sends the public a government-sponsored message that same-sex couples and their familial relationships do not warrant the status, benefits and dignity given to couples of the opposite sex,” Burgess wrote in his 25-page ruling.
“This Court finds that Alaska’s same-sex marriage laws violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment because no state interest provides `excessively persuasive justification’ for the significant infringement of rights that they inflicted upon homosexual individuals.”
Alaska began granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday morning. Meanwhile, the state must now recognize the “marriages” of gay couples who “wed” out-of-state.
Governor Sean Parnell, a Republican, vowed to appeal the ruling. “As Alaska's governor, I have a duty to defend and uphold the law and the Alaska Constitution," Parnell said in a statement.
But any appeal must be heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, making success unlikely. The Ninth Circuit is notoriously liberal, and just last week upheld rulings striking down similar marriage protection laws in Idaho and Nevada.
The largest pro-family advocacy group in Alaska decried the ruling, calling it a “subversion of the democratic process.”
“According to [Judge] Burgess, 68% of Alaskans who voted in 1998 to protect natural marriage in our Constitution were motivated by nothing more than animus and bigotry,” wrote Jim Minnery of Alaska Family Action in a blog post. “Apparently, Burgess agrees with one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs suing the State who said that marriage is a ‘changing institution.’”
“Changing exactly into what is the most frightening aspect of this ruling,” Minnery added. “Under what logical rationale would the Courts now deny other ‘evolving’ forms of marriage? Three wives for one husband? Marrying your aunt or niece or brother? Group marriage involving any number of couples and individuals with various sexual orientations? Once you eliminate sexual complementarity from the marriage equation, is there any reason to keep other cornerstones we've all taken for granted for generations including exclusivity, permanence and monogamy?”
“Ultimately, marriage laws have never been about validating romantic relationships,” Minnery wrote. “You don’t need a marriage license to be emotionally involved with another person. The purpose of marriage is to ensure the right of children to a relationship with their mother and father. That, in turn, encourages stability and responsibility between mom, dad, and children so that the family endures through time.”
Asked Minnery, “Who is the true owner of our state constitution? Is it the people of Alaska or unelected men and women who happen to wear black robes? If it's the latter, then the idea that we live in a representative democracy is nothing more than wishful thinking.”
In an interview with LifeSiteNews during a break in the Synod on the family last week, Raymond Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, stressed the importance of parents as the primary educators of their children.
The concept of parents as primary educators is taught by the Church and was given emphasis by the late St. Pope John Paul II. It is also a founding principle of Voice of the Family, the coalition of life and family groups around the world represented in Rome to assist the Synod Fathers in defending the family.
“The children who come to life by means of the cooperation of their parents with God are given to their parents for their education and upbringing,” said Cardinal Burke. “And it’s actually the parents who choose any kind of outside education that the children receive.”
In a position paper on the subject, Voice of the Family says, “Parental rights are under threat as never before, especially through the imposition of anti-life, anti-family sex education in schools and through the provision of abortion and contraception without parental knowledge.”
Having seen those threats over thirty years ago, St. Pope John Paul II wrote in his 1981 encyclical Familaris Consortio: “Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them.”
He added, “In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe when it cooperates in sex education, by entering into the same spirit that animates the parents.”
Cardinal Burke’s full remarks regarding parents as primary educators follow:
LifeSiteNews: Why does the Church teach that parents are the primary educators of their children. What does this mean and why is it important?
Cardinal Burke: When the Church teaches about the crowning of married life in procreation, in the notion of procreation is understood also the education of children. In other words, the children who come to life by means of the cooperation of their parents with God are given to their parents for their education and upbringing. And it’s actually the parents who choose any kind of outside education that the children receive.
Saint Augustine said that the child begins to imbue the faith already from his mother’s milk. And, it’s very true that children are formed by the faith of their parents, the attitudes, the virtues which their parents embody. And this is communicated to them both with words, but most of all, by the example of their parents.
For that reason, the Church stresses this [role of parents as primary educator] very much so that parents wouldn’t think [that] because there are nursery schools and other kind of schools that somehow the schools would take their place or relieve them of the responsibility of educating their children, when in fact they have that primary responsibility.
I saw myself, in my years as an educator — which I enjoyed very much and consider it to be very important work — [that] it was always clear to me that the primary influence in young people’s lives were their parents. And as I’ve met those young people, now that they’re getting older, they’re very much like their parents. And I have to say myself, the older I get, I can see more and more in my own life the influence of my parents.
The Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) unanimously adopted its Same-Sex "Marriage" Public Policy Statement September 18, criticizing the “radical revisionist view” which “ignores millennia of legal and cultural affirmation” of marriage, and endeavors to replace it with a subjective concept of marriage based on emotional relationship.
The CMDA said this skewed belief is divorced from the natural and objective elements of marriage - physical union and procreation.
“Marriage is a consensual, exclusive and lifelong commitment between one man and one woman, expressed in a physical union uniquely designed to produce and nurture children,” the CDMA statement said.
“The universal recognition of conjugal marriage by virtually every civilization throughout history, arrived at from both secular and theistic perspectives, testifies to the natural evidence for marriage, its objective structure and its significant contribution to human flourishing and societal stability.”
The CDMA statement was released just a few weeks prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s October 6 dismissal of five U.S. states’ petitions to review lower court decisions overturning their marriage protection amendments.
The CMDA said that recognition of marriage as being between one man and one woman does not necessarily impede acceptance of other consensual relationships.
“The core debate hinges not on a moral evaluation of various types of relationships, but rather on the objective qualities that make marriage, marriage,” the CMDA statement said.
The benefits to children raised by both a mother and a father, the greater economic stability of intact families and the high cost to government and society when marriage breaks down were all listed by the CMDA to illustrate the government’s stake in preserving marriage.
The CMDA also critiqued court decisions that have asserted that support for marriage is not rational and instead based on hostility toward homosexuals, saying that these judgments have paved the way for religious persecution toward proponents of traditional marriage.
“Once the government adopts an official position that opposition to ‘same-sex marriage’ is based solely on animus and constitutes discrimination, the state can assert a compelling interest to advance this social policy--even if doing so means trampling the rights of religious conscientious objectors,” the CMDA statement said. “This assertion of government power to enforce the ideology of the state threatens not only the individual exercise of conscience but also the entire constitutional balance of the church-state relationship.”
“Such an aggressive, state-sponsored squelching of the free exercise of religion, as expressed in faith-based dissent, creates a powerful deterrent to free speech and the exercise of conscience,” the CMDA said. “Apart from the intervention of courts and/or a reversal of societal values, faithful supporters of conjugal marriage stand to face a virtual ideological Inquisition of increasing intensity.”
The CMDA statement concluded with a list of policy recommendations that would protect the rights of faith and conscience in law and policy, and in particular safeguard against legal assault of physicians who practice in accord with their conscience.
ROME – The Vatican’s Synod on the Family is giving homosexualist activists the “crack” they have sought in the Church’s doctrine on sexuality, at least according to Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry.
New Ways, a group that has been banned by the Vatican and several US bishops, has been in Rome for the past week for their “alternate” synod, a series of meetings by those who want to see the Church accept homosexuality or otherwise change its teaching on sexual issues.
“I think what we’re seeing is a crack in the ice that we have been waiting for, for a very long time,” De Bernardo said. “It’s a sign of a first step.”
Referencing the suggestion, reportedly made by some bishops at the Synod hall, that the Church should cease to use its traditional theological terminology for sexual sin, De Bernardo said he was “euphoric.”
“I think the change in language starts a chain reaction: A change in language will bring a change in pastoral practice which will bring about a change in teaching,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press.
DeBernardo said he could “name scores of people” who have left the Church over the Catholic Church’s teaching that the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered.”
Michael Brinkschroeder, co-president of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups, cited the “Francis effect,” which he said is making bishops more free to “engage in dialogue” with homosexuals.
“Francis has given signals for bishops to start pastoral work and dialogue,” Brinkschroeder said, citing Pope Francis’s infamous quip, “Who am I to judge?” in response to a question about homosexual priests in 2013.
Meanwhile, one of the UK’s leading homosexualist activists who is working to change Catholic teaching, Terrence Weldon, wrote on his blog “Queering the Church,” that he perceives a “shift in tone” to a more “sensitive” approach to homosexuality.
“At the synod, there have been numerous indications of a coming shift in tone and more sensitive pastoral practice in treating lesbian and gay Catholics and their relationships, including recognition of the harm done by the language of ‘intrinsically disordered’.”
These, he said, included the intervention of Ron and Mavis Pirola, co-directors of the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council, who, he said, suggested that same-sex “couples need to be welcomed by their families.”
Some Synod fathers have issued mixed messages, including Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, who said last week that the Church can never “bless” homosexual partnerings but refused to use the traditional language to describe same-sex partnerings.
Instead he said, “It’s something else to say that everyone makes his or her choice, that we don’t judge and that they might be great people even with this condition, but it’s different to say that the union itself is blessed or a good thing.”
For the most part, however, there is little new coming from the Synod. Thus far, the only suggestions of De Bernardo’s “crack” in the Church’s teaching on sexual morality and marriage are coming from unsurprising sources, mainly prelates who have long been more publicly favorable to the homosexualist movement’s goals. Conversely, the bishops and cardinals who have always staunchly defended Catholic teaching continue to do so.
The only difference is the clarity being lent to the positions by the proximity at the Synod, which one observer who works in the Vatican told LifeSiteNews “is starting to look like sides lining up.” While in their public statements most bishops maintain that the atmosphere is cordial and “fraternal,” reports are growing of growing contention on the Synod floor between two irreconcilable theological camps.
“But what we are seeing now, is certainly not a shift of the whole Catholic Church towards a more permissive position on homosexuality or any of the other doctrines or practices regarding sexuality, marriage and family,” the source told LifeSiteNews.
For decades there has been a sharp division inside the Catholic Church between those who see Catholic teaching as “an obstacle to human happiness and those who see it as the only path to the same,” the source said. The fact that the media, representing the secular world, favors the first side should not lead the public to believe that any change is coming soon. The Synod is merely forcing that longstanding argument into the public view.
“This division in the Church has certainly been very visible for over fifty years, at every level. The fact that one side or another is getting more press time right now makes no difference inside the Church, which may be what these activists are responding to.”
“It remains to be seen whether the pope will publicly endorse either or will try to continue to reconcile them.”
A Christian couple who were surprised by a septuple pregnancy are now grieving the loss of six little girls and one boy they had hoped would survive to become part of their family.
Lindsey and Steve Justice already have two daughters, but after trying unsuccessfully to become pregnant again, they discovered that Lindsey had developed polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which had seriously affected her fertility.
Lindsey turned to fertility drugs, after which she successfully conceived.
At her mid-first-trimester ultrasound it became apparent that Lindsey was carrying more that one child. A follow-up exam revealed she was in fact pregnant with septuplets.
The couple immediately rejected their doctor's suggestion of "selective reduction," the euphemism for killing and removing some of the pre-born children.
"He just said 'this is dangerous. The human body is not meant to carry six-plus babies, and for your health and for the babies--their chances of survival, your best medical option is to selectively reduce.' Steve and I didn't even have to look at each other. That was just not going to be an option," Lindsey told WCNC.
"We knew at that point, reaffirmed, that this was from God. It's not in our hands. It was a miracle, just a miracle. We were humbled to be counted worthy, although we're very unworthy to carry such a responsibility."
The couple set up an online journal where they have chronicled their experience of the conception, birth and death of their seven children, whom they named Mercy, Evie, Shiloh, Sage, Issac, Aspen, and Honor to form the acronym messiah.
Lindsey and Steve knew that for the babies to have a chance at survival Lindsey would have to get to at least 23 weeks in her pregnancy.
However, at 12 weeks Lindsey suffered a miscarriage of the baby they had named Isaac.
Then at week 21 Lindsey's waters broke and she went into labor, delivering first little girl they named Mercy and then in short order the five others.
"We said goodbye to Mercy, and I was laying on that table for two hours trying to do everything I could in my power, which was nothing, to relax and stop having contractions, but it wasn't God's will," Lindsey said.
Steve recalled, "She was holding three of them on her chest and I was getting the next two and I just wanted it stopped. I wanted them to stay in there. I was sobbing and you're like, can you just stop it?"
The parents recounted that their little girls lived for about two hours.
"And what I wouldn't give to nurse them, to hold them, to rock them to sleep, to dress them. I want to be their mom, I want them to be here, you know. But that wasn't God's will," Lindsey said.
Asked if she regretted their decision to reject selective reduction abortion, Lindsey said, "No. Oh gosh, I haven't even thought about that question. No, I would do the past however many, 21 weeks, again and again and again if I had the choice."
"We don't have strength right now, we are broken, we are in deep mourning. We held each one of our six girls and said goodbye to them. They were all living. They all have birth certificates, they all have a first name a middle name and a last name."
In their blog, Lindsey and Steve reflect that through their mourning they still see God's will and are at peace. "God took His 7 children that He loaned to us for a short time," they wrote.
Moreover, they see the "good" that sharing their story may bring to inspire others to reflect on the value of every life, no matter how short, and on the ultimate love of God for every child conceived, and for the child's parents.
"The earthly death of Mercy, Evie, Shiloh, Sage, Issac, Aspen, and Honor Justice is good. It is good because of so many reasons.
"It is good because it has given our family a very deep and tangible understanding of the Gospel: how painful it was for God to give His perfect one and only Son, how sufficient Christ is in our weakness, how Sovereign and good God’s will is for each of our lives, and how much better is the path of pain for the sake of knowing and sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
"The death of our children is good because it gives all who know and read their story an accurate picture of true joy and hope that is found only through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Lindsey and Steve Justice's journal of the story of messiah justice (not capitalized intentionally) titled, "This Crazy Wonderful Justice Life" is available here. Please use the password: HisGlory
Last Thursday, the president paid a surprise visit to show his support for California State Senator Ted Lieu, a politician who is best known to pro-family activists for spearheading a bill to ban reparative therapy, and boasting that an "attack on parental rights" was the "whole point" of his bill.
Lieu, who is now running for the U.S. House of Representatives, hopes to replace the retiring Henry Waxman, a Democrat who has held the seat for decades.
As a California state Senator from Torrance, Lieu authored a 2012 bill that would forbid minors from seeking therapy to overcome unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction, labeling the treatment “unprofessional conduct” and “therapeutic deception.”
“This is not a matter of forcing a child to do something against his or her will,” Dr. Michael Brown, the host of the nationally syndicated radio program “The Line of Fire,” told LifeSiteNews at the time. “This is a matter of forbidding parents, professional therapists, and young people to have the right of choice.”
In promoting the bill, Lieu affirmed that this was, indeed, his purpose.
Obama made the unscheduled stop at Lieu's campaign headquarters in Venice, California, en route to a fundraiser in Brentwood. Obama encouraged the volunteers to work non-stop to put Lieu in the Capitol.
“If I'm not directly shaking your hand, you should be on the phone,” Obama said, telling them his election was based on grassroots activism like their own.
Obama joked that he and the 45-year-old legislator, who was born in Taiwan, had a lot in common, including their service as state senators.
Politico reports, “After reporters were led out of the room, the president shook hands and took pictures with every volunteer.”
"I was surprised and thrilled," Lieu told the Los Angeles Times.
Rep. Steve Israel, D-NY, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told Politico the visit would make a big difference for the campaign. “President Obama has an unmatched ability to motivate our base so having him out here as we’re pushing early vote in California is a huge help,”
Lieu is favored to win the heavily Democratic district.
Doctor who performed 1,200 abortions: Late-term abortions ‘neither simple nor safe’
Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist, says known risks include 'infection, hemorrhage, damage to the uterus (including perforation and laceration of major blood vessels), bladder, vagina, intestine and other structures.'
Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist who now supports the right to life, is warning that late-term abortion is “neither simple nor safe.” He made the comments in response to news that the Whole Women's Health abortion franchise is about to open an office in his hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico, that will offer abortions up to the 18th week of pregnancy.
“The standard procedure for accomplishing an abortion at 18 weeks is a suction D&E [dilation and extraction],” he wrote. “In the early part of my career, I performed approximately 1,200 abortions up to 24 weeks gestation. I have considerable experience in this arena.”
“Once while performing a suction D&E at, coincidentally 18 weeks, I was unaware that I had perforated the uterus until I pulled my patient's intestines out through her cervix and vagina,” he remembered.
Other risks “include infection, hemorrhage, damage to the uterus (including perforation and laceration of major blood vessels), bladder, vagina, intestine and other structures.”
“It is well known that any abortion performed at or after 16-18 weeks carries the same degree of risk of death as childbirth,” he added. “Imagine delivering a child in a clinic.”
Due to the potential dangers it posed, Dr. Levatino said he only performed these procedures in a hospital setting. “It is my professional opinion that late-term abortion should never be performed outside of a hospital,” he said.
Yet the new abortion office, which was to open on September 15 but has not apparently begun operations, has made no arrangements with area health care providers in the event of a botched abortion, he said. “To date, three weeks after this abortion clinic was to open, no physician from Whole Women's Health has applied for admitting privileges to either Las Cruces hospital.”
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) also fined Whole Women's Health facilities in Austin and McAllen, Texas, more than $40,000 in 2011 for illegally disposing of aborted babies' remains. They threw the bloody body parts into the trash, which Stericycle then transported to a normal municipal landfill. Complete medical records, bearing the name and address of the women who came in for abortions, were also thrown into the dumpster, officials said.
“The toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby’s head,” he said. “You know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see white gelatinous material coming through the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. You can then extract the skull pieces. Many times a little face may come out and stare back at you.”
“Congratulations! You have just successfully performed a second-trimester Suction D&E abortion,” he said sarcastically.
“Whole Woman's Health of New Mexico not only opens up access to abortion care in southern New Mexico and Juárez, but it also gives access to women in El Paso and the swaths of west Texas,” the business wrote on its blog.
ROME – The Vatican’s interim report on the debates at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, released in Rome this morning, includes a range of controversial proposals that are eliciting strong reactions, including a statement from the Voice of the Family coalition charging that it amounts to a “betrayal” of the Catholic faith.
The document, which is not definitive and is merely meant to summarize the debates of the first week, asks whether “accepting and valuing [homosexuals’] sexual orientation” could align with Catholic doctrine; proposes allowing Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics on a “case-by-case basis”; and says pastors should emphasize the “positive aspects” of lifestyles the Church considers gravely sinful, including civil remarriage after divorce and premarital cohabitation.
After the document, known as the relatio post disceptationem, or ‘report after the debate,’ was read in the Synod hall this morning, numerous bishops reportedly rose to raise concerns or ask for clarification.
Cardinal Peter Erdo, the synod’s general relator and thus the document’s lead author, told a press conference at the Vatican this morning that some bishops questioned why the document fails to mention Church teaching that homosexual unions are “disordered.” Vatican reporter John Thavis, who describes the document as a “pastoral earthquake,” wrote that “at least one bishop asked what happened to the concept of sin,” noting that it is hardly mentioned in the document.
The document has drawn strong praise in mainstream media and from liberal Catholics. Joshua McElwee, the Vatican correspondent for the leftist National Catholic Reporter, commented on Twitter, "Reading this #Synod14 document, I don't know what to say. It feels like a whole new church, a whole new tone, a whole new posture. Wow."
Fr. James Martin, SJ, tweeted: "Today's stunning change in tone from the Catholic bishops on LGBT people shows what happens when the Holy Spirit is let loose.”
However, it has also met a sharp rebuke from Catholic activists. John Smeaton, co-founder of Voice of the Family, a coalition of 15 international pro-famiy groups, said it is “one of the worst official documents drafted in Church history.”
“Thankfully the report is a preliminary report for discussion, rather than a definitive proposal,” he said in a press release. “It is essential that the voices of those lay faithful who sincerely live out Catholic teaching are also taken into account. Catholic families are clinging to Christ’s teaching on marriage and chastity by their finger-tips.”
‘Accept people in their concrete being’
The document is largely framed in terms of the need to reach out to people in their sinful state, or, as it says, to “accept people in their concrete being.” This “requires that the doctrine of the faith … be proposed alongside with mercy,” it explains.
It emphasizes what it calls the “law of gradualness,” suggesting that while a couple may not live up to the “ideal” of Christian marriage as totally faithful and open to life, pastors should emphasize the “positive elements” in the relationship in order to help guide the couple to the ideal.
“Following the expansive gaze of Christ, whose light illuminates every man the Church turns respectfully to those who participate in her life in an incomplete and imperfect way, appreciating the positive values they contain rather than their limitations and shortcomings,” it states.
Communion for ‘remarried’ couples on a ‘case-by-case basis’?
In the case of divorced-and-remarried Catholics, the document calls for pastors to avoid “any language or behavior that might make them feel discriminated against.”
Though noting that “some” Synod fathers argued in favor of the current practice barring these Catholics from Communion, the bulk of the document’s discussion on the topic presents arguments from those opposing the practice.
“For some, partaking of the sacraments might occur where it is preceded by a penitential path – under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop – and with a clear undertaking in favor of the children,” it reads. “This would not be a general possibility, but the fruit of a discernment applied on a case-by-case basis, according to a law of gradualness, that takes into consideration the distinction between state of sin, state of grace and the attenuating circumstances.”
It then critiques those cardinals and bishops who defended Church teaching and who had suggested divorced-and-remarried Catholics could nevertheless do a “spiritual communion.”
“Suggesting limiting themselves to only ‘spiritual communion’ was questioned by more than a few Synodal Fathers: if spiritual communion is possible, why not allow them to partake in the sacrament?” the document reads.
‘Accept and value’ homosexuality?
In a section titled ‘Welcoming homosexual persons’, the document states: “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.” It then asks: “Are our communities capable of providing [them a welcoming home], accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”
“The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman,” it adds. “Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.”
At the Vatican press conference this morning, Michael Voris of ChurchMilitant.TV challenged the authors on this section. “Are the Synod fathers proposing that ‘gifts and qualities’ flow from the sexual orientation of homosexuality?” he asked. “Is the Synod proposing that there is something innate in the homosexual orientation that transcends and uplifts the Catholic Church, the Christian community, and if so, what would those particular gifts be?”
In response, Archbishop Bruno Forte, the Synod’s special secretary, said, “I guess that what I want to express is that we must respect the dignity of every person, and the fact to be homosexual doesn’t mean that this dignity must be not recognized and promoted. … I think it is the most important point, and also the attitude of the Church to welcome persons who have homosexual orientation is based on the dignity of the person they are.”
Speaking in Italian at another point in the press conference, Forte said that homosexual unions have "rights that should be protected," calling it an "issue of civilization and respect of those people."
Catholics must ‘oppose the course being taken within the Synod’
Patrick Buckley of European Life Network said the report is “an attack on marriage and family” that “in effect gives a tacit approval of adulterous relationships, thereby contradicting the Sixth Commandment and the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the indissolubility of marriage.”
Maria Madise, coordinator for Voice of the Family, asked whether parents must now “tell their children that the Vatican teaches that there are positive and constructive aspects to … mortal sins” such as cohabitation and homosexuality.
“It would be a false mercy to give Holy Communion to people who do not repent of their mortal sins against Christ’s teachings on sexual purity. Real mercy consists of offering people a clean conscience via the Sacrament of Confession and thus union with God,” she said.
“Many of those who claim to speak in the name of the universal Church have failed to teach the faithful. This failure has created unprecedented difficulties for families. No responsibility is taken for this failure in this disastrous mid-way report,” she added. “The Synod’s mid-way report will increase the incidence of faithful Catholics being labelled as ‘pharisees’, simply for upholding Catholic teaching on sexual purity.”
Smeaton concluded: “We urge Catholics not to be complacent or give in to a false sense of obedience, in the face of attacks on the fundamental principles of the natural law. Catholics are morally obliged to oppose the course being taken within the Synod.”
‘The drama continues’
Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila, who praised the document’s drafters as “heroes and heroines,” emphasized at the beginning of Monday’s press conference that it is “very provisionary” and “not a final document from the Synod.” However, he noted that it would be the “basis of future discussions.”
Pro-family Catholics reject Synod mid-way report, calling it ‘a betrayal’
An international coalition of pro-family groups has rejected the mid-way report of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, calling it 'a betrayal.'
Mon Oct 13, 2014 - 11:08 am EST
By Voice of the Family
By Voice of the Family
Voice of the Family
Note: Voice of the Family, a coalition of 15 international pro-family groups, released this Monday morning.
The Extraordinary Synod on the Family's mid-term report is nothing short of a "betrayal" of Catholic and family values, says an influential pro-family group.
Mincing no words, Voice of the Family's British spokesperson John Smeaton said that "those who are controlling the Synod have betrayed Catholic parents. The Synod’s mid-way report is one of the worst official documents drafted in Church history."
"Thankfully," said Smeaton, "the report is a preliminary report for discussion, rather than a definitive proposal."
Likewise, Irish representative Patrick Buckley said that the report "represents an attack on marriage and the family" by "in effect giving a tacit approval of adulterous relationships." Additionally, "the report undermines the Church's definitive teaching against contraception, and fails to recognize that homosexual inclination is objectively disordered," said Buckley.
Patrick Craine, Voice of the Family's North American spokesperson, said that the report "is not a faithful representation of the Synod discussions. Many Synod fathers have valiantly defended Church teaching inside and outside the Synod hall, yet their position is hardly reflected in the document at all."
"The report is right to call for pastoral outreach," said Craine, "but as Cardinal Ratzinger emphasized, outreach can only be done in the truth. As it is, the document undermines true pastoral care and can only do grave damage, in this world and the next, to those it purports to help."
"It would be a false mercy to give Holy Communion to people who do not repent of mortal sexual sins," said Voice of the Family coordinator Maria Madise, who said the report undermines Catholic families. "Will Catholic parents be forced to falsely tell their children that mortal sins like the use of contraception, cohabiting with partners, or living homosexual lifestyles have positive attributes?"
"Real mercy consists of offering people a clean conscience via the Sacrament of Confession and thus union with God," concluded Madise.
"It is essential that the voices of those lay faithful who sincerely live out Catholic teaching are also taken into account," said Smeaton. "Voice of the Family urges Catholics not to be complacent or give in to a false sense of obedience, in the face of attacks on the fundamental principles of the natural law at the Synod."
About Voice of the Family:
Voice of the Family is an international lay coalition of major pro-life and pro-family organizations that formed to offer expertise and resources to leaders of the church, the media, NGOs, and governments before, during, and after the Catholic Church's Synod on the Family. Its membership includes 15 influential pro-life and pro-family groups across the world. Its principles focus on changing the Culture of Death through sacramental marriage, opposition to contraception and abortion, and empowering parents.
Voice of the Family consists of 18 member organizations from eight nations on five continents. Members include Alfa Szövetség/Alpha Alliance, Campagne Québec-Vie, Campaign Life Catholics, Campaign Life Coalition Canada, Catholic Democrats, Catholic Voice, CENAP, Culture of Life Africa, European Life Network, Famiglia Domani, Family Life International NZ, Hnutí Pro život ČR, Human Life International (HLI), Liga pár páru ČR, LifeSiteNews.com, the National Association of Catholic Families (NACF), Profesionales por la Ética, and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).
I want to start by saying that I am skeptical that it is a sincere post. I am actually praying that it is not. It seems to me that one of the biggest strategies of the pro-abortion movement is to de-stigmatize abortion: to make it a simple, no-big-deal action like clipping your nails.
All of the comments seem to be from people thanking her for her courage and showing their support, which gives me pause. It also seems that any opposing thoughts are being deleted.
With that being said, if this is real, it is heartbreaking at the least. This young woman is literally writing a letter to her child to explain to her child why she is paying someone to end her child’s life. She does not try to pretend that this child is not alive, for she clearly recognized the humanity and soul of her child.
Before I go any further I will share her post with you.
I can feel you in there. I’ve got twice the appetite and half the energy. It breaks my heart that I don’t feel the enchantment that I’m supposed to feel. I am both sorry and not sorry.
I am sorry that this is goodbye. I’m sad that I’ll never get to meet you. You could have your father’s eyes and my nose and we could make our own traditions, be a family. But, Little Thing, we will meet again. I promise that the next time I see that little blue plus, the next time you are in the same reality as me, I will be ready for you.
Little Thing, I want you to be happy. More than I want good things for myself, I want the best things for the future. That’s why I can’t be your mother right now. I am still growing myself. It wouldn’t be fair to bring a new life into a world where I am still haunted by ghosts of the life I’ve lived. I want you to have all the things I didn’t have when I was a child. I want you to be better than I ever was and more magnificent than I ever could be. I can’t do to you what was done to me: Plant a seed made of love and spontaneity into a garden, and hope that it will grow on only dreams. Love and spontaneity are beautiful, but they have little merit. And while I have plenty of dreams to go around, dreams are not an effective enough tool for you to build a better tomorrow. I can’t bring you here. Not like this.
I love you, Little Thing, and I wish the circumstances were different. I promise I will see you again, and next time, you can call me Mom.
“Little Thing.” This is the name she chooses to call her pre-born child.
This “Little Thing” is not a thing; he or she is a human person. She talks about not bringing her child here, but she needs to understand that she has already done that. Her child is already here.
She talks about how her child might have her father’s eyes or her nose. But this has already been determined; if she does not kill this child she would find out whose eyes her child already has.
When she talks about not feeling the enchantment that she is supposed to feel, she needs to understand that this is something that will happen throughout the whole life of her child. I have seven children and in no way do I always feel that enchantment.
What I do feel is love, a love that drives me to protect my children at all costs. No matter what our living situation may be, no matter how much we may not have, no matter how tough times get, I will love them. I am their father and I know that to say I Iove my child means that I would do anything, including sacrificing all of my desires and wants to make sure my child is taken care of.
For her to say that she loves this child in the same breath as saying that she is going to abort her child is just not reality. This is a lie and deception that the real war on women has unleashed on this world. The lie that sacrificing the life of a child is an act of love that empowers women is the war on women.
Here is my open letter to her:
H, if you can read this, I beg you to take a pause for a moment. You said that you feel your child inside of you. I want you to think about that statement. Your child is already here, and you are already this child’s mother. You can give this child the most precious gift in the world: the gift of life.
No matter what circumstances you are in right now, nothing warrants the death of your precious child. You, as this child’s mother, and your love, can overcome all the adversity you may face as you raise this precious child.
I have no idea what you believe about God, but I must share with you that you are a child of God, loved by Him and created in His image. Your child is also created in God’s image and is infinitely loved by God. Please understand that God actually gave his own Son, Jesus Christ for you and your child. Through Him you can find the strength to love your child and give your child the gift of life.
Please also understand that I have heard this line of thought from countless women who have gone through with abortion only to find themselves in deep pain down the road. The regret and hurt that often follows abortion is monumental and devastating for mothers and fathers. Please take a moment to read some of the testimonies from women who have been down this road and are speaking out about their experience.
Please also know that there are so many of us that would help you with anything you need to make sure your child has a wonderful life. We can also help you find an amazing family to adopt your child if that would be an option for you.
H, I am not just pleading for the life of your child, I am pleading for you. I know you are in a situation right now that seems overwhelming, and the world has told young women that the best solution for these situations is abortion. I know that you think this will be the best choice for you, that this will free you to live your life the way you want to.
Please understand that abortion is a lie. It is an attack not only on your child but also on you. It is an act of violence against women, a destroyer that takes what is beautiful and natural and turns it into death.
H, I love you enough to tell you the truth; that abortion will not only kill your child, it will rob you of motherhood. It will not make you cease to be a mom. That is something you are now and will be forever. Your motherhood, however, will be taken from you and thrown into the trash.
Please, H, love yourself enough to embrace the gift God has given you. You are loved and we can help you.
Youth Outreach Director of Priests for Life
President – Stand True Pro-life Outreach
‘Excuse me, but my baby is the wrong color. Give me my money back!’
This latest story from our brave new world is so crazy it may blow your mind.
Mon Oct 13, 2014 - 3:21 pm EST
By John Stonestreet
By John Stonestreet
By John Stonestreet
This latest story from our brave new world may blow your mind, so I’ll read straight from the Chicago Tribune: “A white Ohio woman is suing a Downers Grove-based sperm bank, alleging that the company mistakenly gave her vials from an African-American donor, a fact that she said has made it difficult for her and her same-sex partner to raise their now 2-year-old daughter in an all-white community.”
Now, I don’t doubt the lesbian couple’s love for the child. But I find it troubling which challenges the couple was willing and isn’t willing to tolerate. They’re suing because of the difficulties of raising a black child in a white community, but they were perfectly willing to risk raising the child without a father—a situation that the best evidence suggests poses far greater consequences for the child. Make no mistake: this is one of those stories that’s a mirror of our culture’s view of sex and children.
There is no doubt that having a mom and a dad in the home is the best situation for healthy development of children. The evidence is overwhelming. Children with fathers in the home tend to do better in school and in life in general. Children from fatherless homes are more likely to succumb to drugs and alcohol, suicide, and a host of social maladies. It’s not always the case, of course, but when it’s not it should be the exception… not the new rule.
A while back, I interviewed science writer Paul Raeburn on “BreakPoint This Week” about his book “Do Fathers Matter.” Now Raeburn isn’t a Christian, and he wouldn’t take a position on the issue of same-sex marriage. But there was no doubt in his mind that the overwhelming conclusion of the research is that fathers matter. A lot. Relationally, emotionally, spiritually—even biologically!
Well, back to Ohio. The plaintiff is asking the judge for $50,000 because she didn’t get the baby she ordered through the sperm donation process. Which brings up the other troubling reality in this story.
When we were discussing this news item, Shane Morris, one of our Colson Center writers, wryly observed, “Grandma always says, ‘If it’s the wrong color, you can return it,’ when she gives us sweaters. Hearing that said of a baby girl makes me not want to live on this planet anymore.”
The wife of another of our writers said, “The message to the child is something like, ‘We love you, honey, but we are suing the people who made your existence possible.’” And then she added, “We need to pray for that child.”
Indeed. Whatever the effect of our current social experimentation of intentionally producing children to not have either a father or a mother, I cannot imagine that this child will easily be able to come to terms with such mixed messages inherent in the lawsuit.
On multiple levels, this story illustrates our new and enormous cultural blind spot. Sexual autonomy is now considered the highest good in our society. And it comes as a package deal with so-called “reproductive freedom.” To quote my friend and co-author Sean McDowell, we want sex without babies, and babies without sex.
And the great tragic irony is that our so-called freedom means that our children are not free, nor are they seen as the unique creations of God that they are. They’re the products of our illusions of autonomy enabled by technological advances.
We now wish to create children on our terms… through science. We choose the traits that make them desirable—eye color, hair color, skin color; athletic prowess; intelligence; and so on—not simply because they are. And if at any time they displease us—either through skin color, disability, or the mere timing of their birth, we feel fully justified in getting someone else to eliminate them, or at least pay us for our inconvenience.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” And so ought we. As His Church, those lovingly adopted into His family, may we show our dehumanizing culture, and its children, a better way. Red and yellow, black and white, they are all precious in His sight.
Mom dying of cancer pens amazing letter to 29-year-old planning to kill herself
Kara Tippets, a mom of 4 kids, has some incredible advice to share with Brittany Maynard, who plans on killing herself on Nov. 1.
Mon Oct 13, 2014 - 3:04 pm EST
By Christina Martin
By Christina Martin
By Christina Martin
Kara Tippets is dying of stage 4 metastatic cancer. All the while, Kara Tippets is living life to the fullest. This beautiful wife, mother of four and follower of Jesus Christ is on a journey to find beauty in the midst of suffering. Her blog, ‘Mundane Faithfulness’ tells the story of her courageous battle.
Kara recently wrote a heartfelt letter to 29-year-old Brittany Maynard. Maynard, who is also dying of cancer, is best known for a video expressing her plan to commit doctor assisted suicide on Nov 1st.
Kara’s letter is full of empathy and compassion. She tells Brittany her heart aches for her. She lets her know she’s grieved by her pain and praying for her. She also affirms Brittany’s decision to tell her story:
Brittany, your life matters, your story matters, and your suffering matters. Thank you for stepping out from the privacy of your story and sharing it openly.
We see you, we see your life, and there are countless lovers of your heart that are praying you would change your mind.
Brittany, I love you, and I’m sorry you are dying. I am sorry that we are both being asked to walk a road that feels simply impossible to walk.
I think the telling of your story is important.
I think it is good for our culture to know what is happening in Oregon.
It’s a discussion that needs to be brought out of the quiet corners and brought brightly into the light. You sharing your story has done that. It matters, and it is unbelievably important. Thank you.
In order to truly show love to others we must be willing to give hard truths. Kara tenderly lets Brittany know she disagrees with her decision. She tells her that suffering is not the absence of goodness or beauty, but it’s the place where true beauty can be known. She believes that in choosing death, Brittany is robbing those that love her of extending love to her in her final hours. She is also robbing herself of embracing the beauty found in suffering.
That last kiss, that last warm touch, that last breath, matters — but it was never intended for us to decide when that last breath is breathed.
Kara tells Brittany that she’s been told a horrible lie. She’s been told that her dying won’t be beautiful and the suffering will be too great. She also speaks out against the doctor assisting with her suicide. She writes that the doctor has walked away from the Hippocratic oath that says, “first, do no harm.” This doctor has chosen to walk away from protecting life.
I appreciate Kara’s letter because it’s written from a place of empathy and love. The letter is not a rebuke to Brittany, but rather a letter urging her to see the value in her life.
As pro-lifers we must understand the fight against the culture of death has many battlegrounds. From the womb to the tomb, cradle to the grave, life is worth protecting. Doctor assisted suicide is being masked as a merciful act. In reality the advancement of this cause will lead to a scary and slippery slope in America. How much pain will someone need to be in to take their life? What condition or disease will justify swallowing poison? Will those who chose to suffer through illness be pitied while those who take their life are considered brave? This is the road Brittany and the ‘right to die’ advocates are taking us down.
I pray Kara’s letter gets to Brittany. I pray it touches her heart and helps her to see that even one more day is worth fighting for.
199 babies saved from abortion during 40 Days for Life campaign…so far!
Here are the stories of just a few of those babies.
Mon Oct 13, 2014 - 2:35 pm EST
By Shawn Carney
By Shawn Carney
By Shawn Carney
We are at the halfway point. Have you participated in the 40 Days for Life campaign yet? If not … there is plenty of time. And here’s some motivation.
Halfway through these 40 days of prayer and fasting, we are aware of 199 babies whose mothers chose life at the very last moment!
Here are the stories of just a few of those babies.
Volunteers in Dallas say they have “two jubilant reports” from the sidewalk outside the Planned Parenthood abortion mega-center where the 40 Days for Life vigil is going on.
In one instance, the vigil participants were able to talk to a woman who “just needed someone to help” … and she quickly learned that the help she really needed was not available at Planned Parenthood. One of the volunteers says it brought tears to her eyes when the woman chose life for her child.
A second woman stopped her car near Planned Parenthood when she saw someone with a sign that said “Pregnant? Need help?” The sign also had a phone number … which the woman started to call.
She said she was thinking about abortion – she’d had one before, and now had two children in diapers. Her simple plea: “I need help!” Counselors put her in touch with a pregnancy center that would offer the assistance she – and her baby – would need.
One of the newer volunteers in Portland was able to start a conversation with a young woman who was on her way into Planned Parenthood.
It was her boyfriend who was encouraging the abortion. “She felt she couldn’t take care of another child,” said Therese, the local leader. “She has three children and said she didn’t have enough resources. She was in a tough situation.”
The volunteers told her there were many types of help available, and that the older children would love their new baby brother or sister. “After some more encouragement, she was showing us pictures of her other children,” Therese said. “And smiling!”
She then left … knowing where she could find help and support following her decision to reject abortion.
Baltimore volunteers watched a woman leave the abortion center after having been there for four hours. Usually, that’s bad news. But in this case, the woman walked up to the people praying outside and said, “I will keep my baby.”
She was four months along in her pregnancy, she told the vigil participants, who said she seemed overjoyed with her decision.
“A miracle happened,” said Kim in Baltimore, “and all who witnessed it are forever changed. A life was saved through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ … and none can deny His merciful heart and His mighty hand in action.”
First Lady Michelle Obama may have decided not to campaign in some Senate races, but she has released a new one-minute radio ad for Wendy Davis, telling Texans to elect her for the children.
Michelle said, “On November 4, you have a chance to make a real difference for our children by voting for Wendy Davis for governor.”
She said that. Out loud.
Barack's bitter-half continues that you should pull the lever for Davis' doomed candidacy, "because she wants to give all our kids a chance to build a better life for themselves and for their families."
"'All our kids'—well, except for the ones who won't have a chance to build a life at all, thanks to Wendy Davis' ardent support of abortion,” Mark Finkelstein writes at NewsBusters.
Evidently the irony of trying to spin a woman whose only claim to fame is trying to preserve late-term abortions as a champion of children was lost upon the campaign, which has never shown itself averse to shameless lying and distasteful rhetoric.
Wendy Davis' campaign sells baby clothes branding the (fortunately fully delivered) baby a member of “Generation Wendy,” and she has repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that Republican candidate Greg Abbott is wheelchair-bound.
“I care about the life of every child: every child that goes to bed hungry, every child that goes to bed without a proper education, every child that goes to bed without being able to be a part of the Texas dream” – every child except the most defenseless, often the child of a poor woman and too often that of an ethnic minority.
Other than letting poor brown kids be cut to pieces until they are on the cusp of birth, she's all heart.
Earlier this week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker released a new ad in response to an EMILY’s List campaign regurgitating the usual “War on Women” blather. But rather than fighting back with a clear, unapologetic defense of pro-life principles and policies, it tries to defuse the situation with mealy-mouthed equivocation:
Hi, I’m Scott Walker. I’m pro-life. But there’s no doubt in my mind the decision of whether or not to end a pregnancy is an agonizing one. That’s why I support legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options. The bill leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor. Now, reasonable people can disagree on this issue. Our priority is to protect the health and safety of all Wisconsin citizens.
Accept “end a pregnancy” as a euphemism for killing a child? Check. Emphasize that he’s leaving abortion between “a woman and her doctor”? Check. Gratuitously affirm that favoring legal abortion can be “reasonable”? Check. Bend over backward to insist it’s all about the women rather than their babies? Check.
This is exactly what many feared would happen when Scott Walker hired pro-abortion spokeswoman Alleigh Marre for his re-election campaign. This may have been a deluded attempt to appear more reasonable than the caricature, but all Walker has done is preemptively conceded the legitimacy of various pro-abortion premises and rhetorical fictions.
Contrary to Right Wisconsin’s Collin Roth, who calls the ad a “worthy attempt,” it would have been less damaging if he had just kept his mouth shut. Silence may be weaksauce, but at least it doesn’t go out of its way to draw attention to just how weak.
If you’re still not getting the impression that Team Walker really doesn’t want to talk about abortion, the statement they released with the ad spells it out even more:
Special interests from Washington, D.C., are spending millions of dollars to distract voters from Governor Walker’s positive record and Wisconsin’s improving economy which have helped to create more than 100,000 new jobs and 25,000 businesses over the last four years.
And incredibly, that’s not all. TheCapTimesreports that Walker did not receive Pro-Life Wisconsin’s endorsement in 2014 because he declined to fill out a candidate survey, yet his website still touts their support, presenting their 2012 endorsement as if it was current. (Pro-Life Wisconsin declined an invitation to comment on this new ad; neither Wisconsin Right to Life, who has endorsed Walker this year, nor Wisconsin Family Action have responded to requests for comment.)
Even more troubling from the self-proclaimed 100% pro-life candidate:
Asked by Channel 3000 on Wednesday whether he wanted all abortions made illegal, Walker responded, “That’s not even an option in the state. The Supreme Court more than 40 years ago ruled that is not an option.”
It may seem baffling, but the writing was on the wall. This is simply the natural progression of a governor who’s decided the culture wars are just too politically messy. After all, he has previously said of pro-life laws state GOP leaders ditched, “it’s not on my radar if it’s not about jobs, balancing the budget or lowering taxes,” and claimed “the women I talk to in my state never talk about” abortion. By my math, all this falls well short of 100%.
No matter how many times they run the experiment, Republican leaders and their hack consultants and strategists simply refuse to learn that there is no hiding from the issues voters care about more than they do, that changing the subject never makes hostile narratives go away, or that it’s all but impossible to weasel out of principle without looking like you’re doing exactly that.
Cardinal Danneels’ message at the Synod was subtle, but misguided
The Belgian prelate seems to either ignore or forget the pain and hurt of abandoned spouses.
Mon Oct 13, 2014 - 4:29 am EST
By Pat Buckley
By Pat Buckley
By Pat Buckley
The interventions presented by cardinals and bishops to the Synod on the Family are not being made public by the Synod press office but daily bulletins are being released which give some highlights of the proceedings of each session without attributing them to anyone. The press office is exercising a stringent level of censorship, nevertheless some interventions are finding their way into the press and the blogosphere.
The intervention by Belgian Cardinal, Godfried Cardinal Danneels, for example has already been published. The attitude of Cardinal Danneels, who is one of the Synod fathers personally selected by Pope Francis, is well known particularly for opposing Church teaching on marriage. LifeSiteNews reported in June 2013 that Danneels referred to “gay marriage” laws as a “positive development.”
“I think it’s a positive development that states are free to open up civil marriage for gays if they want,” the cardinal told the Dutch language newspaper De Tijd, even as he said he thinks such unions should be given a different name than marriage.
The tone of Danneels intervention at the Synod was carefully measured and to illustrate his comments on mercy he once again returned to the topic of communion for Catholics who have divorced and civilly remarried while their first marriage remains valid in the eyes of the Church.
“There should be no immediate focus on the painful question of Communion being denied to those who have entered into a second marriage. True listening carries healing within it,” he said.
The approach suggested by Cardinal Daneels appears to be very one-sided and seems to either ignore or forget the pain and hurt of the abandoned spouse, who is the other party to the indissoluble marriage, and the children of that marriage.
The indissolubility of marriage was taught to the Apostles and the Church by Jesus Himself and His command was to go out and teach all nations. He did not say that they must dialogue or compromise or accommodate other teachings.
The entire text of Cardinal Daneels intervention is set out below:
“God is just and merciful. He can’t contradict himself. He can separate good and evil in a great straddle. We, we have difficulty because we are only poor ballet dancers for a moment in the whole of history.
It is up to us, poor sinners, to find ways of mercy which do not deny the truth; to find a way for the times in which we live and for every culture. It is up to us to find ways of mercy.
I will limit myself to a single way of mercy, which is so necessary today. Many are confronted with the failure of their first marriage and have committed themselves to a second marriage which, however, is neither valid for the Church, nor sacramental. Today there are many people in this situation. What do we do for them? They often desire regularisation but known that there are no options. While many fall away there are others who suffer much. What do we do for all these brothers and sisters who desire to be able to marry anew for the Church?
I regularly think that we could established something in the Church like the catechumenate and the ordo penitentium of the past, for which the Church could be a mother. Actually, what matters is more is to organise some pastoral care for divorced and remarried people, and less about an institutional change. How to form priests and laity for this specific ministry like, in the past, for the catechumens and for those in the process of receiving pardon for their sin?
In the first place we are invited to greatly respect our brothers and sisters, the divorced and remarried. Mercy starts where we have unconditional respect for all who want to live within the Church but can’t marry again for the Church and receive Communion.
The same respect is due to every actual marriage. Some carry within them the seeds waiting for spring. Very often divorced and remarried faithful are consciously or subconsciously looking for a way out. But there is no way out. In many cases couples are on the way to the ideal they so desire. Respect must be the ministry of our Mother the Church a ministry which sees the growth, the journey.
How to create space in the mission of the Church for a ministry for divorced and remarried people? In the first place, let us try and find these people. Many are hiding and dare not speak about it, sometimes not even with their partner. There is much hidden suffering. It is up to us priests to search for the sheep who want to come home but do not have the courage to say so.
Let us invite these people to come together, to meet and listen to one another, but in the presence of the shepherd. A shepherd who listens with his heart. There should be no immediate focus on the painful question of Communion being denied to those who have entered into a second marriage. True listening carries healing within it.
It is so important to speak with them, to let them speak about the beauty of marriage and the Christian family. Beauty is so powerful! This is obviously not esthetic beauty, but beauty who is the sister of truth and goodness. According to Aristotle “beauty is truth in all its glory”. Pulchrum est splendor veri.
Among our contemporaries there is much scepticism about the truth; even goodness can discourage, but beauty disarms. Beauty heals. Archimedes said about our world today, “Give me a place to stand and I will lift the world.”
The divorced and remarried are not the only suffering children, but there are far more than we think. My appeal – in all simplicity – is: to love God’s children. Their pain and suffering is often great. They don’t immediately ask for the regulations of the Church to change. Their cry is rather one to the shepherds with their hearts in the right place, why carry the wounded lamb on their shoulders. Beauty disarms. We hold the cards: there is indeed nothing more beautiful than Christian marriage and a deeply faithful family. But we must communicate the truth to divorced and remarried people – delicately – with the words of Saint Francis in mind, which he spoke to the superiors of his small communities, “never let anyone leave you in sadness”.