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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Cardinal Danneels admits being part of clerical ‘Mafia’ that plotted Francis’ election

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, out next week, is even more of a bombshell than expected. Not only do the two authors, Jürgen Mettepenningen and Karim Schelkens, reveal that the Cardinal was a regular member of a secret pressure group of Churchmen that met in the Swiss town of Sankt-Gallen, but the Cardinal himself has publicly and good-humoredly admitted the fact.

Danneels even said that what was officially but discreetly labeled “the Sankt-Gallen group” was referred to by its members as “the Mafia”. Its self-imposed aim was to counter the growing influence of Cardinal Ratzinger under the pontificate of Saint John Paul II, serving as a sort of outlet where handpicked cardinals and bishops could express their impatience at the traditional mindset of the Pope and his closest counsellor.

The Belgian press doesn't hesitate to say that one of the group's primary goals was the promotion of Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) in view of John Paul II’s nearing death – something the book itself, which is not yet available in bookstores, perhaps clarifies. The Sankt-Gallen group certainly aimed to promote the ideas and preferences for which they had found a champion in Pope Francis.

Said Schelkens in an interview this week: “The election of Bergoglio was prepared in Sankt-Gallen, without doubt. And the main lines of the program the Pope is carrying out are those that Danneels and Co were starting to discuss more than ten years ago.”

“They wanted Church reform, they wanted to bring the Church closer to the hearts of people; they moved forward by stages,” commented Mettepenningen. “At the beginning of the year 2000, when John Paul II’s end was becoming more foreseeable, they thought more strategically about what was going to happen to the Church after John Paul II. When Cardinal Silvestrini joined the group it took on a more tactical and strategic character.”

The new climate in the Church after Pope Benedict’s resignation made these things easier to discuss, according to Mettepenningen.

“It is only now that the existence of a society of same-minded Church leaders can be made known to the public,” he told the Dutch media KerkNet. “In the international press they were talking about the so-called ‘team Bergoglio’ that promoted his choice as Pope, but the name was badly chosen.

In 2013, it was about the content first, the person came afterwards. Danneels took part in both conclaves. He openly showed his disappointment after the first one. He described the second one, in which Pope Francis was elected, as his “personal resurrection.”

The biography was presented earlier this week at the National Sacred Heart Basilica in Koekelberg, in the presence of Cardinal Danneels who endorsed the two authors’ work.

A short video of the event was published on the Internet: it concentrates on the Sankt-Gallen group whose existence had never been revealed to the public.

Says Cardinal Danneels: “The Sankt-Gallen group is a sort of posh name. But in reality we said of ourselves, and of that group : ‘The Mafia’.”

A voice-over continues: “Cardinal Danneels speaks for the first time of the secret group of Church leaders to which he belonged. The group met every year since 1996, and together they organized the secret ‘resistance’ against Cardinal Ratzinger, who at that time was the right-hand man of John Paul II.”

Then Cardinal Danneels speaks again: “There were some bishops, a few cardinals – too many to name. Things were discussed very freely, no reports were made, so that everyone could blow off steam.”

The journalist explains: “When Pope John Paul II died in 2005, the group already pushed the present Pope to the fore. But it was to be Ratzinger all the same. Danneels could hardly hide his disappointment.”

The video cuts back to images of the cardinal just after Benedict XVI’s election: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” he said, unpleasantly, at the time.

The voiceover goes on: “It was not to be long until the Sankt-Gallen group got a new chance, because unexpectedly, Pope Benedict resigned."

Mettepenningen himself provides the next comment: “In 2013, in a way this group actually achieved its ends, notably through the choice of Pope Francis. You can say that through his participation in that group, Cardinal Danneels has been one of those who were the pioneers of the choice of Pope Franciscus.”

The journalist concludes: “That is why you could see him beaming on the balcony next to the Pope in Rome. Since then he has returned regularly to Rome to speak with the Pope.”

The Sankt-Gallen group – or the “Mafia”, to use the cardinal’s own description – was founded by Mgr Ivo Fürer, one year after his nomination as bishop of the small cathedral town. Cardinal Danneels joined a few years later.

Among the other members quoted by his biographers, Cardinals Carlo Maria Martini and Achille Silvestrini from Italy, Walter Kasper and Karl Lehmann from Germany, and the Dutch Cardinal Adriaan van Luyn as well as Basil Hume from England were prominent. There must have been more, as the book also speaks of members from Austria and France, as well as unnamed bishops. Why are some named, and others not? Did the named prelates give their consent to be “outed,” and if so did they have an objective?

Whatever their aim, Danneels for one has had no qualms about voicing his angry opposition to Pope Benedict and seems to glory in the fact that he has played a role in bringing a more “modern” Church vision into being, despite the fact that the Pope Emeritus is still alive.

Church historians Mettepenningen and Schelkens were given full access to Danneels’ personal archives which still bore the police tape that sealed them in the wake of the cover-up of a child-abuse scandal in which the Cardinal was accused of being involved. This is perhaps one of the clues to the disclosure of the “Mafia’s” existence: Danneels left his Episcopal palace under a cloud when he retired in 2010. Being presented as a “maker of kings,” as the Belgian press now calls him, is a deal more flattering and gives him a prominent role in bringing about the modernization of the Church.

Mettepenningen justified the group’s existence in an interview to the Flemish press: “During the lengthy pontificate of John Paul II there was an increasing tendency to centralize everything that was imposed from the top, with the margin of ‘free speech’ becoming ever narrower. From 1996 onwards, a group was erected in Sankt-Gallen by the bishop of Sankt-Gallen, a group of top cardinals and bishops from Europe who found their ‘freedom of speech’ with one another there. Since 1999, Cardinal Danneels was himself a member; together with Ivo Fürer, he was the member who belonged longest to the group.”

“Nobody knew anything about it but there were suspicions in Rome, where they were ‘not amused’ to know about this group that we called Sankt-Gallen in the biography – and which the cardinal, apparently, calls the Mafia, but it’s a term of endearment, showing a certain mischievousness.”

The Flemish media, Knack, that presented the book in a lengthy article, says the Vatican sent “the sinister Cardinal Camilo Ruini to try and find out who, what and where: he came up with an empty sack. At the same time, the Sankt-Gallen group tried to get a hold over developments in the Vatican. The question that was put more and more emphatically was: 'What after John Paul II? How can we avoid Ratzinger as Pope?'"

While the group’s existence was known of by some specialists – such as Austen Ivereigh of the Tablet who spoke of it in passing in The Great Reformer, his biography of Pope Francis – what Mettepenningen and Schelkens have published is an inside account, with the blessing of Danneels who remembers the meetings as “spiritual holidays,” a “form of mutual support and comfort in dark times,” as Knack puts it.

Danneels’ biographers show him to be a man who lost favor in Rome over his progressive stances. In 1980, at the general bishops’ synod which he was attending for the first time, Ratzinger expressed pessimism over divorce and general moral decay. Godfried Danneels responded that it was time to find a new “balance between the law and mercy.”

“That was new,” says Knack: when the time came for the synod to elect delegates, Danneels got more votes than Ratzinger. The same Danneels was vocal in his defense of a former fellow student, Gustavo Gutierrez – a liberation theologian who was in trouble with Ratzinger. Later, Rome was to block his nomination as president of the European bishop’s conference.

Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Universi Domini Gregis, 79, clearly condemns the constitution of a “Mafia” like the Sankt-Gallen group: “Confirming the prescriptions of my Predecessors, I likewise forbid anyone, even if he is a Cardinal, during the Pope's lifetime and without having consulted him, to make plans concerning the election of his successor, or to promise votes, or to make decisions in this regard in private gatherings.”

Ironically, he published the Apostolic Constitution in February 1996, the very year that the Sankt-Gallen group was formed.

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Steve Weatherbe

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All three provincial parties vote for gender free Ontario

Steve Weatherbe

TORONTO, September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Ontario MPPs appear ready to push the province even closer to the gender-free misutopia promised in its radical new sex education curriculum, as all parties approved a motion to remove all references to “mothers” and “fathers” from government documents. This was to save the feelings of same-sex, transgender, and, presumably, polygamous, test-tube and other kinds of parents.

“It’s trying to break down the family,” protested Gwen Landolt, vice president of REAL Women of Canada. “It’s clearly in accordance with what our Lesbian Premier Kathleen Wynne wants to do with the sex education curriculum.”

The curriculum, implemented this September, has generated a popular, non-partisan opposition among immigrant and other families in the Greater Toronto Area that has been spreading into other parts of Ontario. The Wynne curriculum introduces sexual issues to children in the early grades and normalizes aberrant sexual relations and “gender fluidity” throughout all grades.

The non-binding motion came from Liberal backbench MPP Glenn Thibeault. It called for the government to “replace gendered terminology with gender-neutral and inclusive language on all government forms as they are updated, amended, created, or replaced, in order to reflect the diverse nature of our province, including, but not limited to replacing the terms ‘mother’ or ‘father’ with terms such as ‘parent’ or ‘guardian’ to better recognize the rights of LGBTQ parents, and others.”

Thibeault said there were 10,000 forms requiring parents to identify themselves, and many of them still required this to be done as fathers and mothers. He spoke of a single mother who had complained to him about one such form.  “It was a reminder that she was a single parent and that being a single parent makes her feel different. It’s a reminder to single parents, to divorced parents, or queer or transgender parents that they and the way they are raising their child is not what is considered to be normal. But it is, and that is why I don’t think that was okay.”

Both the opposition parties supported the motion. The NDP’s critic on transgender issues, Cheri DiNovo, promised to follow it up soon with a “parents rights’ bill that would enable same-sex parents to register as such on their test-tube-conceived offspring’s birth certificate. Fellow NDPer Jennifer French, added that families come in all shapes and sizes. “It isn’t the gender of care, it is the nature of it,” she said.

There’s the rub for David Blankenhorn, head of the Washington D.C.-based Institute for American Values. “If it were just about making government forms more accessible to all kinds of people in their diversity, then I have nothing against I,” he told LifeSite. “What I worry about is erasing the notion of mothers and fathers. The evidence from social science is in. The best way for a child to be raised is by its biological mother and father.”

The IAV’s own research survey titled “Family Structure and Children’s Educational Outcomes” reveals that the child raised by both natural parents shows up already well ahead in pre-school. “Three- and four-year-old children growing up with their own married parents (or in an “intact” family) are three times less likely than those in any other family structure to experience emotional or behavioral problems such as attention deficit disorder,” it reports. Fourth grade students living in intact families “score higher on reading comprehension, compared to students living in stepfamilies, with single mothers, and in other types of families.”

The 2005 report summarizes then-current research thus: “If U.S. family structure was as strong today as it was in 1970, 643,000 fewer children each year would fail a grade at school… 531,000 fewer children each year would need psychotherapy, 453,000 fewer children each year would be involved in violence… 179,000 fewer children each year would consider suicide [and] 71,000 fewer children each year would attempt suicide.”

A Child Trends study done in 2011 showed that children living in intact families with married biological parents had fewest behavior problems in school, followed by those with unmarried biological parents. Children in step-families had far more problems and worst were those in unmarried step-families, usually the biological mother with a boyfriend.  So politically incorrect were these findings, they had to be reported first by the IAV’s redoubtable Elizabeth Marquardt.

Even less “PC” was the study using Canada Census data done by Simon Fraser University economist Doug Allen showing that children being raised by same-sex couples were 35 % less likely to graduate from high school than those raised by heterosexual families.

All of which prompts REAL Women’s Landolt to dismiss the justifications offered for Thibeault’s motion as “politically correct nonsense.” The truth, she added, “is well known. In every respect the best way to raise children is with both biological parents.”

Andre Schutten of the Ottawa-based Association for Reformed Political Action, told LifeSite that neutralization of documents was part of “social experiment that is telling our society and our kids that Moms and Dads don’t matter. They are optional and there will be no consequences to their elimination.”

But this is wrong, Schutten insists. “Most religions worldwide and the social science evidence shows that a child does best with a mother and a father. This doesn’t mean a single mother can’t be a good Mom, but it does mean society and governments shouldn’t be trying to undermine the best family. They should be encouraging and supporting it.”

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Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments
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Softening Christ’s teaching on marriage is ‘heresy,’ African cardinal tells World Meeting of Families

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PHILADELPHIA, September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Backing away from God’s plan for marriage and family is not the answer to sin in the world, a senior African cardinal in Pope Francis’ Vatican told those gathered for Wednesday’s World Meeting of Families keynote address.

Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea also spoke about the need for repentance from sin, expressed how the family today needs the defense of heroic witness, and criticized the idea of separating the Church’s teaching on marriage and family from pastoral practice.

“Even members of the Church can be tempted to soften Christ’s teaching on marriage and the family,” the cardinal said. “To varying degrees, the idea would consist in placing the Magisterium in a pretty box and separating it from pastoral practice, which could evolve according to such circumstances, fashions and emphases.”

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments referred to the idea as “a form of heresy” and “a dangerous, schizophrenic pathology,” according to Catholic News Agency.

Everyone needs Christ, Cardinal Sarah continued, everyone is capable of sin, but they can also receive God’s mercy if they authentically repent.

“This is why repentance is good news,” said Cardinal Sarah. “The acceptance of the roots of sin within our hearts is wisdom.”

The cardinal’s keynote remarks at the international Catholic family event in Philadelphia come just weeks before the Ordinary Synod on the Family is scheduled to convene at the Vatican.

The October assembly will be the follow-up gathering of bishops to last year’s contentious Extraordinary Synod, where some bishops endeavored to present a dissenting approach to pastoral practice as it relates to marriage and family. Specifically at issue are homosexual unions and Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Cardinal Sarah pointed to the results of original sin for societal evils and troubles such as relationship breakdown, personal strife, addiction, abortion, religious persecution and terrorism.

“If we do not go to the source, which is sin, nothing changes,” he said.

Sin is the root of the breakdown in the God-given understanding of the family at the beginning of creation, the cardinal continued, and also “the darkness that has entered, contrary to his plan of the love and unity found in the Trinity.”

Cardinal Sarah listed for example things such as homosexual unions, cohabitation, the lack of openness to life, abortion, divorce and unwillingness to care for sick or older family members, further making a connection between the crisis today in the family and laws that degrade it.

“Laws are passed that fuel this breakdown,” he said, “from those killing the innocent form of life in the womb, to new form of unions, to euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

According to the cardinal, it will be “the healing of the human family” that “makes us ready to receive the Good News, to welcome the mercy of God.”

Reconciliation is available through the Church, he said, which must welcome wounded sinners.

“We pass from death to life, through the power of the Holy Spirit,” Cardinal Sarah said. “This is not moralism. God’s grace comes before one’s duty.”

“We reply to a divine initiative,” he continued, “all those wounded by personal sin, and the sin of others, the divorced and separated, those who have cohabited, who live closed in on themselves, or in all kinds of self-seeking unions, can and must find in the Church a place for regeneration, without any finger being pointed at them.”

Cardinal Sarah shared the story of a family of 10 whose father was a firefighter that died in the September 11 terrorist attacks, leaving their mother alone to raise the children. The mother, who at first didn’t want children and at one point had left the faith, forgave the terrorists, herself later dying of cancer. The family’s youngest child was raised by her siblings and the oldest son will soon be ordained a priest.

The cardinal said that in spite of the challenges of married life and family life, they were “granted the grace to love selflessly to the end … first by repenting, then by receiving and believing in the kerygma, the Good News.”

“The family becomes the place where solitude, selfishness, egoism, find healing,” he said.

The family is the conduit by which good will come into the world, the cardinal said, and called for its defense.

“The world today needs saints with heroic witness to defend and nurture the family,” said Cardinal Sarah. “By opening ourselves to God’s grace and his Holy Spirit living in us, our homes and families can allow goodness to enter the world.”

Pope Francis is wrapping up his U.S. visit with an appearance over the weekend at the world Meeting of Families.

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House plans new tactic to defund Planned Parenthood, and repeal ObamaCare

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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The news that John Boehner is resigning as House Speaker overshadowed another development on Capitol Hill: House Republicans have announced the next skirmish in their battle to defund the nation's largest abortion provider.

Instead of using a Continuing Resolution to deny Planned Parenthood half-a-billion dollars in taxpayer funding, the chamber will vote for a "clean" bill that funds all of President Obama's priorities, side-stepping a potential government shutdown on the first of the month.

The Senate had already scheduled a vote on a "clean" bill for early next week, but the future of the more conservative House was unknown.

Congressman John Fleming, R-LA, told The Washington Post on Friday morning, "The commitment has been made that there will be no shutdown."

House leadership hopes members will use a process known as reconciliation. Bills passed using that method are not subject to filibuster and require only a majority of votes in both Republican-controlled chambers.

They plan to use the tactic to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal unspecific portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), conventionally known as ObamaCare. However, abandoning the CR would mean that pro-life politicians must vote to fund Planned Parenthood through December 11.

That doesn't sit well with some members of the House Freedom Caucus - the staunch, conservative voice of Congress - who do not feel they can vote for any funding for the scandal-plagued organization alleged to harvest and sell unborn babies' body parts.

As many as 50 Congressmen may vote against any CR containing Planned Parenthood funding, South Carolina Republican Mick Mulvaney said after a strategy meeting on Thursday.

Heritage Action also warns that reconciliation cannot be used, due to technicalities of the legislative process. Others dismiss their concerns.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said if the House stands its ground, it must wage - and win - the war in the public mind.

"If Barack Obama is so eager to cut up babies that he's willing to shut the government down," Gingrich said, "we ought to make it clear who's shutting down the government."

He dismissed concern that a backlash will sink Republicans in next year's election, as well. "This is all a Washington mythology to teach Republicans to be cowards," Gingrich said.

The announcement of reconciliation came at the same time that House Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation from Congress effective at the end of next month.

Some see this as a form of capitulation. Christian conservative talk show host Steve Deace said, "I take timing of Boehner's resignation to mean GOP leadership plans on caving on every fight this month, then Boehner falls on his sword."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said that he hoped “the Republican majority, which Speaker Boehner played a large role in creating, learns the right lesson from his resignation: to work with Democrats in a constructive way, rather than let a handful of extreme right-wingers dictate his party’s policy.”

The process is of less concern to pro-lifers than the outcome.

“Congress should do whatever it takes to make sure that Planned Parenthood doesn’t receive another dime from taxpayers," Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America told LifeSiteNews. "Pro-lifers supposedly have the majority in both houses. Use it.”

Congresswoman Diane Black, R-TN, agreed, saying, “I’m for whatever gets a bill to the president’s desk.”

Reconciliation would get the bill, and the defunding measure, into the Oval Office. President Obama has promised to veto the measure. At least, congressmen argue, the veto would put President Obama on the record as approving of an organization that allegedly deals in dismembers human body parts.

They hope that will be a victory in its own right.

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Pro-life leaders hope Boehner’s successor will be a fearless ‘fighter’

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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Pro-life leaders and presidential candidates had a mixed assessment of John Boehner's tenure as Speaker of the House, but they agree on want they want from his successor: Someone willing to fight for their principles no matter what the cost.

Boehner, who was elected to the House in 1990 and became speaker 20 years later, announced that his Congressional career would end on October 30.

The pro-life movement had a sometimes contentious relationship with the speaker from Ohio, a dependable pro-life vote who nonetheless was faulted for not using all the power of his office to promote a pro-life, pro-family agenda.

“During his time as speaker we’ve seen an unprecedented level of pro-life activity, including fights to stop taxpayer funding of abortion in Obamacare, to defund America’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, to strengthen the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, and to protect children and women at risk during painful late abortions after five months," said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser. "We thank Speaker Boehner for what he was able to accomplish and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life Committee, called Boehner a "dedicated ally" who has "demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the cause of life. All of us in the right-to-life movement are grateful to Speaker Boehner for his leadership in our common cause."

However, numerous pro-life leaders protested outside his office - often being locked outside - to force Boehner's hand to bring pro-life legislation to the floor. Their efforts secured Boehner's moving forward the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and lent strength to conservative members' demands that Planned Parenthood be defunded.

One of those leaders, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America, drew attention to Boehner's resignation statement to show his priorities - which placed the "institution" of Congress, as he called it, above all - were often misplaced.

"It’s my hope that the House will be led by a fighter, by someone who doesn’t put ‘institution’ above all but ‘life’ above all," Hawkins told LifeSiteNews.

Another who had pushed Boehner for more action on a pro-life legislative agenda, Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, told LifeSiteNews, "Although the speaker has been vocally pro-life, he has always been against" a potential government shutdown over defunding Planned Parenthood "and putting it on the president's desk. And we know there are no coincidences in God's economy."

"Yesterday, the Catholic pope came to speak a word of life, and today the speaker resigns," Newman says. "I trust this is an answer to prayer and that the Congress will soon get about the work of saving innocent children from death."

Presidential candidates weighed in on the announcement, as well. Donald Trump said it "was good; it was time" for Boehner to quit. Marco Rubio said it was time for new leadership, and Ted Cruz said he had long been at odds with the Speaker.

Weariness with his party's grassroots - and their representatives - threatened to force Boehner out against his will. Now those constituents hope for a House Speaker less open to compromise and weakness.

"American voters who put the Republican Party into the majority have grown weary of GOP leaders running into these political battles waving a white flag," said Tony Perkins, whose Family Research Council is hosting the Values Voters Summit in Washington this weekend. "We welcome Republican leadership that understands that some values, like life, religious liberty and national defense are worth fighting for -- no matter what."

California Republican Kevin McCarthy, who is currently the second highest Republican leader in the House, has been seen as a likely successor.

Longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie wrote, "Conservatives are not a wing of the GOP or an interest group -- we are the Republican Party. Boehner's resignation shows that there is a time limit on how long a small minority can run roughshod over the rights and interests of America's conservative majority."

Former Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli, who now heads the Senate Conservative Fund, said Boehner's Speakership was "hostile towards conservatives and our principle. Rather than fighting President Obama and his liberal policies, Speaker Boehner embraced them and betrayed his party’s own voters."

“The next Speaker of the House must be willing to defend the Constitution and stand up for the principles of freedom that make our nation great,” he said.

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British woman: daily porn use ‘destroyed’ my life

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

TOTNES, South Devon, U.K., September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Jessie Maegan's life followed the snowballing path typical of pornography addiction.

Jessie, 29, complied with her boyfriend, who told her that watching porn would "spice up" their sex life. It started "harmlessly," watching a little "porn" with him to get "in the mood." 

"The first time he put it on I told him I wasn't comfortable with it and told him to turn it off," Jessie explained.  "But, over the next week or so, he talked me into giving it a go."

After the first sessions with her boyfriend, the desire for pornography began to increase rapidly. After only a few months, they were caught in a trap: they had developed a habit of watching porn for long periods of time every night, to the point of losing sleep.

Porn was negatively impacting both their jobs. "I was exhausted all the time," Jessie said. But neither she nor her boyfriend stopped there.

The nature of addiction is that it robs you of life. In Jessie's case, it robbed her not only of sleep, but of her boyfriend.

Ultimately, the couple broke up, because, the boyfriend said, he needed to get his career under control. In reality, his porn addiction left him with so little sleep that he was failing at his job.

Jessie didn't stop porn when she lost her boyfriend. Instead, she tried to deal with the relational separation with more porn. Pornography had become her source of escape.

Jessie kept watching pornography alone. In fact, she said her addiction to porn only grew when she was left by herself. Like other addictions, pornography isolates its victim into an extreme, unhealthy introversion.

"I wasn't eating properly and I had no friends," Jessie admitted to The Sun, proving once again that the pathetic obsession with pornography disrupts both romantic relationships and friendships. "I was starting to ignore my friends, not replying to their calls or texts."

Click "like" if you say NO to porn!

When her boyfriend called to tell her he'd found someone else, Jessie ran deeper into porn, her refuge. Pornography "had taken control of my life," she admitted. "I'd become very anti-social, but I wasn't bothered, because I knew [porn] made me happy."

She began to watch pornography online more and more, up to eight hours a night. "I'd lose track of time, sometimes not getting to bed until four a.m.," Jessie admitted to The Sun. "I'd watch it on my phone in the park at lunchtimes and on my breaks from work.  I'd be counting down the minutes until I could finish my shift and get home to watch more."

Additionally, Jessie admits, "I started paying for the exclusive content, because by then I felt like I had seen it all." She ran up her credit card bill to over six thousand dollars in debt, "when I could barely afford my rent."

But the cost of porn was far more than just lucre. As her addiction grew worse, Jessie grew more attracted to greater and greater perversion. "I moved on to group stuff with S&M," she said.

"The more I saw, the more I wanted. The edgier the better." Again, Jessie didn't stop there.

Eventually, Jessie was fired from her job because she kept falling asleep at her desk.  Porn, like other addictions, is merciless; it negatively impacts every aspect of its victim's livelihood, including work.

It was only after she had lost her job to porn that Jessie decided she had a problem. In her own words, she had a "turning point." Then, she said, "I knew I had to get help."

Jessie admitted her porn addiction to friends and family. She sought help and signed up with an online counseling service, HelpAddictions.org.

She gradually began taking her life back from pornography. "I slowly managed to cut back on my usage. By the time I had got down to just one hour of porn a day, I was desperate to stop completely. The day I did finally stop, I felt this amazing sense of relief," she said.  "By the time I went home to my parents for Christmas I felt like a normal human again."

Now The Herald reports that "by gradually reducing her viewing habits, Jessie has now quit online porn all together."

These days, Jessie shares her story so that others will find hope for recovery from porn addiction, too. "If I can stop just one other person getting drawn in, it will be worth it." As is the case with those who conquer their addictions, part of the healing process – which is lifelong – is to become a healer for others.

HelpAddictions.org reports that 72 million people use internet porn regularly, and almost a third are women. The Sun reports that a recent study has shown that porn addicts get the same buzz as alcoholics when they get their fix; the brain is stimulated in the same way as drug dependence.

Over one in every ten adults admits to having an addiction to internet pornography.

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Red Alert!

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We started our Fall fundraising campaign with some truly encouraging momentum. In the past few days, however, that momentum has begun to slow down, and now, with just under a week left in our campaign, we still have just under $125,000 to raise if we are going to reach our minimum goal of $200,000!

I’m not worried, since whenever we have faced similar situations in the past, our readers have always responded! However, we urgently need as many people as possible to respond today to bring our goal within striking distance.

Remember, this goal is only the very minimum amount needed to cover our basic operating expenses for the next quarter.

Please, donate whatever you can today!
 


Our quarterly campaigns are always both humbling and inspiring: humbling, in that they show us how completely we depend on the generosity of thousands of readers like you for everything we need to keep our doors open; and inspiring, in that for 18 years our readers have never, ever let us down.

Every campaign we receive hundreds of comments from readers who encourage us and assure us of the great importance of the work we do each day to build a true Culture of Life.

We hope this small sampling below will help you to recognize the vital role LifeSite is playing in effort to defend the weakest and most defenseless among us - the unborn - as well as the natural family and religious freedom:

 

  • No organization is more efficient, more effective, or more influential in the cause for LIFE than LifeSite News in my opinion --- your ability to get crucial information out quickly and accurately is a powerful force, and it is having a tremendous impact on hearts and minds. Keep up the wonderful work -- and may God continue to bless you and your efforts! ~ Susan, Ohio USA
     
  • Dear LifeSite News Staff: Greatly appreciate all your hard work and comprehensive coverage of life and family news and issues that impact all of us. LifeSite News is my number one source of daily journalistic news and information. Thank you so much!         ~ Helena, Ontario Canada
     
  • So very glad and thankful that you are there with us every day in this battle on so many fronts. It is a time of great troubles and I am most grateful that you are keeping us informed the way you do. May Our Holy Mother keep us on the right track. ~ Ruth, Massachusetts USA
     
  • In this culture war we need as many pro-life voices as we can. This is one of the reasons I support what you are doing. People have become way too complacent and need to be reminded that there IS an alternative to the culture of death. Keep up the good work. ~James, Alberta Canada
     
  • Most mainstream media is biased on pro-life and pro-traditional family issues. Thank you Lifesite News for reporting the news on these social issues from a traditional Catholic Christian perspective. Keep on being a light to the world. ~ Jose, Texas USA

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Governor John Kasich has not supported the "Heartbeat Bill" in the past, but it will come to him for his signature if approved by the Ohio House.
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Southwest Ohio’s last two abortion facilities face closure

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COLUMBUS, OH, September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The last two remaining abortion facilities in southwestern Ohio may be going out of business.

The facilities - one of them a Planned Parenthood - have been unable to comply with a state policy requiring abortion offices to have transfer agreements with a local hospital.

The bill, which was signed by Gov. John Kasich, also prevented any public hospital from granting such a transfer agreement.

Planned Parenthood in Cincinnati and Women's Med Center of Dayton asked for the Ohio Department of Health to grant them a variance.

On Friday, the department denied their request.

"After a summer mired in scandal, Planned Parenthood is now facing closure here in Ohio because of their failure to comply with some of our state's most basic safety requirements," said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. "Americans are turning a critical eye on America's abortion industry for a reason: Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry are consistently proving themselves to exist on the fringe of the traditional medical community, unwilling to follow either ethical guidelines set by their profession or unable to meet basic health standards enforced by the Department of Health."

"Ohio Right to Life is grateful to Governor Kasich and his administration for continuing to prioritize the health and safety of Ohio's women and children in the face of the abortion industry's reckless abandon," he added.

The region has had its share of abortion extremism. The Health Department turned down a request for a variance this summer to the Lebanon Road Surgery Center in Sharonville.

That abortion facility is operated by Martin Haskell, the abortionist who publicly described, and defended, the use of the partial birth abortion procedure.

"Planned Parenthood... is allegedly selling aborted baby body parts, and [Haskell] is the self-proclaimed poster child of the now banned partial-birth abortion technique" Gonidakis said. "Not only are they the perpetrators of grave crimes against human dignity, they can't even keep up with the traditional medical community and meet the simplest health standards."

"Ohio Right to Life thanks the Kasich administration for refusing to let these fringe elements skirt our state's public health policy," he said.

John Kasich is mounting a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, focusing his efforts on New Hampshire, where polls show him leaping ahead of Jeb Bush.

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Huckabee: Defunding Planned Parenthood is good, but we have a ‘better weapon’

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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says defunding Planned Parenthood "is an inadequate response to the atrocity of abortion."

Speaking with LifeSiteNews at the 10th annual Values Voters Summit, Huckabee said that "we should definitely defund" Planned Parenthood," but that "we have a better weapon."

Huckabee said that weapon "is electing a president who will honor the Constitution -- the 5th and 14th Amendment -- which provides due process and equal protection, and that would mean that we would protect human life."

Huckabee also commented on the resignation of Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, saying that "it caught us all off guard."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"I think he's responding to the dissatisfaction of the American people, who want to see some action on the part of the Republican Congress," said the former Arkansas governor.

Asked what is the one thing he would do as president to ensure protection of religious liberty, Huckabee said he would "make sure I have an Attorney General in the Justice Department that protected the First Amendment rights of every citizen, every business, every chaplain, every military member."

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Catholic schools reveal how they’ll teach Wynne’s radical sex ed: it’s ‘pure moral relativism,’ say critics

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TORONTO, September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The first of long anticipated resources that Ontario’s bishops assured parents would allow Catholic schools to teach the Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum through a “Catholic lens” have drawn fire from pro-family critics.

The Institute for Catholic Education’s parent and facilitator guides uploaded on its website earlier this month contain passages of “pure moral relativism,” “secular bafflegab,” and are so vague and general they leave room for even heretical interpretations of Church teaching, these critics charge.

This is particularly true when it comes to the hot-button issue of gender identity, points out Jack Fonseca, project manager with Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group.

He says that ICE’s parent guide for Grade 7 and 8 “appears to condone teaching the theory of ‘gender expression’ in Catholic schools, which in laymen terms means that is natural and normal for boys to present themselves as girls.”

“Isn’t that verging on heresy? I mean it’s a blatant contradiction of Christian anthropology of the human person,” he told LifeSiteNews, noting that Pope Francis has explicitly condemned gender identity theory.

A CLC analysis of the Liberal sex-ed curriculum documents that it teaches students by Grade 8 there are six genders as opposed to two biological sexes, a theory introduced to children in Grade 3, says Fonseca.

Released by the Liberals in February and rolled out in all the province’s publicly funded schools this September, the sex-ed agenda also introduces homosexuality in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6 and oral and anal sex in Grade 7.

And when Ontario’s bishops tasked ICE some six months ago with adapting this sex-ed curriculum, which they said Catholic schools had a “responsibility to follow”, to a “Catholic lens,” parents like Fonseca questioned how that was even possible.

“Now we know,” says Fonseca, who has two children in Waterloo’s Catholic elementary schools. “The Catholic lens is a farce, a pipe dream, and in fact, will do nothing to protect Catholic children from the Liberal government’s radical sexual agenda.”

The recently released ICE facilitator’s guide “exploring connections” between the sex-ed curriculum and the Catholic school graduate expectations states that, “Within our Catholic schools, it is important that topics related to human sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression, and initiatives that build understanding and respect for difference, be discussed against a clear moral background.”

“Being tolerant and inclusive of another person does not mean accepting that what he or she says is correct or in accordance with the Church’s teaching,” it goes on.

“Charity must always be shown in discussions where different viewpoints may arise. Respecting difference helps to build a truly Catholic culture in our schools,” the guide states. “To be truly Catholic is to respect diversity.”

This is “pure moral relativism,” according to Catholic lawyer Geoff Cauchi. “Charity without truth is not charitable at all.”

“We must all understand the difference between tolerance and approval,” he told LifeSiteNews in an email. “We must abstain from saying or doing anything that objectively conveys approval of conduct that is objectively disordered.”

CLC vice president Jeff Gunnarson says reading the ICE parent guide for Grade 7 and 8 is akin to trying to interpret a Rorschach ink blot: “They’re using secular bafflegab. They’re talking in such generalities you can drive a school bus through the gaps.”

The ICE parent guides list the ministry’s specific expectations on one column, and list the “Catholic lens” response to the expectations in the adjacent column. The “Catholic lens” responses are intended to be taught through the existing Catholic family life program Fully Alive.

“The ministry guidelines are quite specific,” says Gunnarson, who has two children currently enrolled in Waterloo district Catholic schools. “The ministry at least is saying, ‘Here’s what we’re teaching.’”

But the Catholic response in the ICE parent guide is not a point-by-point refutation of these expectations, only vague generalizations, he says.

“They’re not saying in anything here, ‘We do not condone such teaching, in fact Catholic teaching says this, A, B, C’,” Gunnarson told LifeSiteNews. Instead, “it doesn’t sound like they’re going to say anything that points out the immorality of the ministry’s curriculum expectations.”

He pointed to one ICE response to the ministry’s sex-ed curriculum for Grade 7 and 8. ICE states that students, through the Fully Alive program, will “examine some aspects of sexuality, including sexual characteristics, sexual identity and sexual roles.”

“What in the world does it mean by ‘sexual characteristics, sexual identity and sexual roles’?” questioned Gunnarson. “How do you really know what’s going to be said? This allows any teacher to teach any point in their own way.”

That’s Fonseca’s point as well.

The parent guide for Grade 7 and 8 lists this among the ministry’s objectives: “Identify ways of preventing STIs, including HIV, and/or unintended pregnancy, such as delaying first intercourse and other sexual activities until a person is older and using condoms consistently if and when a person becomes sexually active.”

The strongest response to this in the ICE parent guide from the Fully Alive is: “Students learn about chastity and the attitudes and behaviours that reflect their virtue and show respect for the gift of sexuality.”

Not good enough, says Fonseca.

Absent a clear statement that both premarital sex and contraception are gravely sinful, “most reasonable people” could conclude that the ICE resource “appears to approve of condom use and premarital sexual activity in the section that explains the curriculum expectations.”  

And echoing Gunnarson’s apprehension with the term “sexual identity,” Fonseca predicts this term “will give cover to left-wing activist teachers who want to normalize the theory of gender identity, transgenderism, transsexualism and cross-dressing.”

“I’d be rip-roaring mad if this came home with my kids,” Gunnarson said. “It’s written to deceive parents, into lulling them into a false sense of security, or to just confusing them so much that they just give up and say, ‘Well, I don’t understand any of it, but it looks like they’re not going to be super explicit.’”

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The ICE parent guide for Grades 4, 5 and 6 explaining the Catholic response to the Liberal sex-ed curriculum doesn’t say that Fully Alive includes explicit information on sexual intercourse and illustrations of male and female genitalia in both Grade 5 and Grade 6. (This information is available in the Fully Alive parent guides, accessed on the bishops website.)

The fundamental problem, according to lawyer Cauchi, is that the centerpiece of the Catholic response to the Liberal sex-ed curriculum – Fully Alive – is itself in contravention of Catholic teaching.

“I and others fought it back in the 90s and nobody listened to us,” he told LifeSiteNews in an earlier interview. “Most people have no confidence in ICE. ICE are the people who prepared Fully Alive, and Fully Alive does not comply with the ‘Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality’.”

That’s a Vatican document on teaching sex education, and it “says that there’s really supposed to be no sex education in school up to about the age of puberty,” Cauchi observed. “But ultimately” a child’s education in these matters is “all supposed to be under the complete direction of parents. And if parents reject the ‘so-called’ help their request is supposed to be honored.”

One alumna of the Fully Alive program, who graduated from a Catholic high school in 2008 and is now completing her Masters in Religious Education, says that one of her most vivid memories of the curriculum was Grade 6 boys excitedly flipping to the page in the Fully Alive textbook that had illustrations of human genitalia and a detailed description of sexual intercourse.

Other than that, she says, she recalls mainly that Fully Alive “was garbage. We didn’t learn anything substantial. It was pointless.”

Contact information:

NOTE: All communications should be respectful, non-accusatory and without harsh language. If you just want to vent rather than encourage change, please do not communicate with these people. Harsh communications greatly undermine the efforts of others to bring about positive change.

General Secretary:
* Note the following LifeSite report - Ontario bishops’ general secretary has been actively supporting Wynne’s child abusive sex-ed
Roger Lawler
email: [email protected]

Assistant to the General Secretary (French Services):
Fr. Jean Vézina
email: [email protected]

Office Manager and Assistant to the General Secretary:
Barbara Harrison
email: [email protected]

Mailing Address:
Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario
90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 810
Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3
Phone:(416) 923-1423 Fax: (416) 923-1509

ACBO Executive Committee:

His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins (President)
Archbishop of Toronto
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto ON M4T 1W2
Phone: 416-934-0606 Fax: 416-934-3452

Most Rev. Ronald P. Fabbro, c.s.b. (Vice-President)
Bishop of London
1070 Waterloo Street
London, ON N6A 3Y2
Phone: 519-433-0658 Fax: 519-433-0011

Most Rev. Gerard Bergie (Counselor)
Bishop of St. Catharines
Catholic Centre – Diocese of St. Catharines
P.O. Box 875
St. Catharines, ON L2R 6Z4
Phone: 905-684-0154 Fax: 905-684-7551

Most Rev. Marcel Damphousse (Counselor)
Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall
220 Montreal Road
Cornwall, ON K6H 1B4
Phone: 613-933-1138 Fax: 613-937-49

 

Find a full listing of LifeSiteNews' coverage of the Ontario government's explicit sex-ed program here.

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Pope Francis calls on UN to uphold right to life and the natural family

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NEW YORK, September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Pope Francis tied care for the environment to care for humanity in his address to United Nations this morning, saying that a right to the environment exists because every human life has value.

“First, it must be stated that a true ‘right of the environment’ does exist,” the Holy Father said. “First, because we human beings are part of the environment.”

“Because every creature, particularly a living creature, has an intrinsic value, in its existence, its life, its beauty and its interdependence with other creatures,” Pope Francis said, citing his recent environmental encyclical Laudato Si.

Speaking about the importance of care for creation, equality and poverty reduction throughout his address, the pope wove in that these are founded on the basic right to life, as well as recognition for God-given complementary male and female genders.

“Consequently, the defense of the environment and the fight against exclusion demand that we recognize a moral law written into human nature itself, one which includes the natural difference between man and woman (cf. Laudato Si’, 155), and absolute respect for life in all its stages and dimensions (cf. ibid., 123, 136)."

The Holy Father also said the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals must be founded in the right to life.

“These pillars of integral human development have a common foundation, which is the right to life and, more generally, what we could call the right to existence of human nature itself,” he said.

“The defense of the environment and the fight against exclusion demand that we recognize a moral law written into human nature itself, one which includes the natural difference between man and woman, and absolute respect for life in all its stages and dimensions."

The pontiff said solemn commitments are not enough in calling for an end to human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labor and prostitution, along with the drug and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime.

“Such is the magnitude of these situations and their toll in innocent lives, that we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences,” he stated. “We need to ensure that our institutions are truly effective in the struggle against all these scourges.”

He went on to say it should not be forgotten that political and economic activity is only effective when it is understood as prudential activity that is conscious of the fact that plans and programs are dealing with real human beings.

Pope Francis also commented on the importance of the family as the foundation for society, stating, “government leaders must do everything possible to ensure that all can have the minimum spiritual and material means needed to live in dignity and to create and support a family, which is the primary cell of any social development.”

He stressed the right of the family to oversee the education of its own children, and the Church to assist, as a means of managing their destiny and overcoming poverty.

“They must be built up and allowed to unfold for each individual, for every family, in communion with others, and in a right relationship with all those areas in which human social life develops – friends, communities, towns and cities, schools, businesses and unions, provinces, nations, etc.,” said Pope Francis. “This presupposes and requires the right to education – also for girls (excluded in certain places) – which is ensured first and foremost by respecting and reinforcing the primary right of the family to educate its children, as well as the right of churches and social groups to support and assist families in the education of their children.”

The pope quoted back the preamble to the UN’s own charter to illustrate the danger of imposing ideologies on cultures, specifically homosexual “marriage,” calling such action “irresponsible.”  

“Without the recognition of certain incontestable natural ethical limits and without the immediate implementation of those pillars of integral human development, the ideal of ‘saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war,’ and ‘promoting social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,’ risks becoming an unattainable illusion,” Pope Francis said, “or, even worse, idle chatter which serves as a cover for all kinds of abuse and corruption, or for carrying out an ideological colonization by the imposition of anomalous models and lifestyles which are alien to people’s identity and, in the end, irresponsible.”

The pope also appealed to the UN for consideration of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and parts of Africa, calling it a “painful situation.”

In concluding his address, Pope Francis again invoked the sanctity of all human life.

“The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life,” he said, “of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic.”

The United Nations appearance marks Pope Francis’ final day in New York before heading to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.

 

*****

The full English translation of Pope Francis' address to the United Nations:

Mr President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for your kind words.  Once again, following a tradition by which I feel honored, the Secretary General of the United Nations has invited the Pope to address this distinguished assembly of nations.  In my own name, and that of the entire Catholic community, I wish to express to you, Mr Ban Ki-moon, my heartfelt gratitude.  I greet the Heads of State and Heads of Government present, as well as the ambassadors, diplomats and political and technical officials accompanying them, the personnel of the United Nations engaged in this 70th Session of the General Assembly, the personnel of the various programs and agencies of the United Nations family, and all those who, in one way or another, take part in this meeting.  Through you, I also greet the citizens of all the nations represented in this hall.  I thank you, each and all, for your efforts in the service of mankind.

This is the fifth time that a Pope has visited the United Nations.  I follow in the footsteps of my predecessors Paul VI, in1965, John Paul II, in 1979 and 1995, and my most recent predecessor, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in 2008.  All of them expressed their great esteem for the Organization, which they considered the appropriate juridical and political response to this present moment of history, marked by our technical ability to overcome distances and frontiers and, apparently, to overcome all natural limits to the exercise of power.  An essential response, inasmuch as technological power, in the hands of nationalistic or falsely universalist ideologies, is capable of perpetrating tremendous atrocities.  I can only reiterate the appreciation expressed by my predecessors, in reaffirming the importance which the Catholic Church attaches to this Institution and the hope which she places in its activities.

The United Nations is presently celebrating its seventieth anniversary.  The history of this organized community of states is one of important common achievements over a period of unusually fast-paced changes.  Without claiming to be exhaustive, we can mention the codification and development of international law, the establishment of international norms regarding human rights, advances in humanitarian law, the resolution of numerous conflicts, operations of peace-keeping and reconciliation, and any number of other accomplishments in every area of international activity and endeavour.  All these achievements are lights which help to dispel the darkness of the disorder caused by unrestrained ambitions and collective forms of selfishness.  Certainly, many grave problems remain to be resolved, yet it is clear that, without all those interventions on the international level, mankind would not have been able to survive the unchecked use of its own possibilities.  Every one of these political, juridical and technical advances is a path towards attaining the ideal of human fraternity and a means for its greater realization.

For this reason I pay homage to all those men and women whose loyalty and self-sacrifice have benefitted humanity as a whole in these past seventy years.  In particular, I would recall today those who gave their lives for peace and reconciliation among peoples, from Dag Hammarskjöld to the many United Nations officials at every level who have been killed in the course of humanitarian missions, and missions of peace and reconciliation.

Beyond these achievements, the experience of the past seventy years has made it clear that reform and adaptation to the times is always necessary in the pursuit of the ultimate goal of granting all countries, without exception, a share in, and a genuine and equitable influence on, decision-making processes.  The need for greater equity is especially true in the case of those bodies with effective executive capability, such as the Security Council, the Financial Agencies and the groups or mechanisms specifically created to deal with economic crises.  This will help limit every kind of abuse or usury, especially where developing countries are concerned.  The International Financial Agencies are should care for the sustainable development of countries and should ensure that they are not subjected to oppressive lending systems which, far from promoting progress, subject people to mechanisms which generate greater poverty, exclusion and dependence.

The work of the United Nations, according to the principles set forth in the Preamble and the first Articles of its founding Charter, can be seen as the development and promotion of the rule of law, based on the realization that justice is an essential condition for achieving the ideal of universal fraternity.  In this context, it is helpful to recall that the limitation of power is an idea implicit in the concept of law itself.  To give to each his own, to cite the classic definition of justice, means that no human individual or group can consider itself absolute, permitted to bypass the dignity and the rights of other individuals or their social groupings.  The effective distribution of power (political, economic, defense-related, technological, etc.) among a plurality of subjects, and the creation of a juridical system for regulating claims and interests, are one concrete way of limiting power.  Yet today’s world presents us with many false rights and – at the same time – broad sectors which are vulnerable, victims of power badly exercised: for example, the natural environment and the vast ranks of the excluded.  These sectors are closely interconnected and made increasingly fragile by dominant political and economic relationships.  That is why their rights must be forcefully affirmed, by working to protect the environment and by putting an end to exclusion.

First, it must be stated that a true “right of the environment” does exist, for two reasons.  First, because we human beings are part of the environment.  We live in communion with it, since the environment itself entails ethical limits which human activity must acknowledge and respect.  Man, for all his remarkable gifts, which “are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology” (Laudato Si’, 81), is at the same time a part of these spheres.  He possesses a body shaped by physical, chemical and biological elements, and can only survive and develop if the ecological environment is favourable.  Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity.  Second, because every creature, particularly a living creature, has an intrinsic value, in its existence, its life, its beauty and its interdependence with other creatures.  We Christians, together with the other monotheistic religions, believe that the universe is the fruit of a loving decision by the Creator, who permits man respectfully to use creation for the good of his fellow men and for the glory of the Creator; he is not authorized to abuse it, much less to destroy it.  In all religions, the environment is a fundamental good (cf. ibid.).

The misuse and destruction of the environment are also accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion.  In effect, a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged, either because they are differently abled (handicapped), or because they lack adequate information and technical expertise, or are incapable of decisive political action.  Economic and social exclusion is a complete denial of human fraternity and a grave offense against human rights and the environment.  The poorest are those who suffer most from such offenses, for three serious reasons: they are cast off by society, forced to live off what is discarded and suffer unjustly from the abuse of the environment.  They are part of today’s widespread and quietly growing “culture of waste”.

The dramatic reality this whole situation of exclusion and inequality, with its evident effects, has led me, in union with the entire Christian people and many others, to take stock of my grave responsibility in this regard and to speak out, together with all those who are seeking urgently-needed and effective solutions.  The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit, which opens today, is an important sign of hope.  I am similarly confident that the Paris Conference on Climatic Change will secure fundamental and effective agreements.

Solemn commitments, however, are not enough, even though they are a necessary step toward solutions.  The classic definition of justice which I mentioned earlier contains as one of its essential elements a constant and perpetual will: Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius sum cuique tribuendi.  Our world demands of all government leaders a will which is effective, practical and constant, concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion, with its baneful consequences: human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labour, including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime.  Such is the magnitude of these situations and their toll in innocent lives, that we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences.  We need to ensure that our institutions are truly effective in the struggle against all these scourges.

The number and complexity of the problems require that we possess technical instruments of verification.  But this involves two risks.  We can rest content with the bureaucratic exercise of drawing up long lists of good proposals – goals, objectives and statistical indicators – or we can think that a single theoretical and aprioristic solution will provide an answer to all the challenges.  It must never be forgotten that political and economic activity is only effective when it is understood as a prudential activity, guided by a perennial concept of justice and constantly conscious of the fact that, above and beyond our plans and programmes, we are dealing with real men and women who live, struggle and suffer, and are often forced to live in great poverty, deprived of all rights.

To enable these real men and women to escape from extreme poverty, we must allow them to be dignified agents of their own destiny.  Integral human development and the full exercise of human dignity cannot be imposed.  They must be built up and allowed to unfold for each individual, for every family, in communion with others, and in a right relationship with all those areas in which human social life develops – friends, communities, towns and cities, schools, businesses and unions, provinces, nations, etc.  This presupposes and requires the right to education – also for girls (excluded in certain places) – which is ensured first and foremost by respecting and reinforcing the primary right of the family to educate its children, as well as the right of churches and social groups to support and assist families in the education of their children.  Education conceived in this way is the basis for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and for reclaiming the environment.

At the same time, government leaders must do everything possible to ensure that all can have the minimum spiritual and material means needed to live in dignity and to create and support a family, which is the primary cell of any social development.  In practical terms, this absolute minimum has three names: lodging, labour, and land; and one spiritual name: spiritual freedom, which includes religious freedom, the right to education and other civil rights.

For all this, the simplest and best measure and indicator of the implementation of the new Agenda for development will be effective, practical and immediate access, on the part of all, to essential material and spiritual goods: housing, dignified and properly remunerated employment, adequate food and drinking water; religious freedom and, more generally, spiritual freedom and education.  These pillars of integral human development have a common foundation, which is the right to life and, more generally, what we could call the right to existence of human nature itself.

The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species.  The baneful consequences of an irresponsible mismanagement of the global economy, guided only by ambition for wealth and power, must serve as a summons to a forthright reflection on man: “man is not only a freedom which he creates for himself.  Man does not create himself.  He is spirit and will, but also nature” (BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Bundestag, 22 September 2011, cited in Laudato Si’, 6).  Creation is compromised “where we ourselves have the final word… The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any instance above ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves” (ID. Address to the Clergy of the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone, 6 August 2008, cited ibid.).  Consequently, the defence of the environment and the fight against exclusion demand that we recognize a moral law written into human nature itself, one which includes the natural difference between man and woman (cf. Laudato Si’, 155), and absolute respect for life in all its stages and dimensions (cf. ibid., 123, 136).

Without the recognition of certain incontestable natural ethical limits and without the immediate implementation of those pillars of integral human development, the ideal of “saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war” (Charter of the United Nations, Preamble), and “promoting social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom” (ibid.), risks becoming an unattainable illusion, or, even worse, idle chatter which serves as a cover for all kinds of abuse and corruption, or for carrying out an ideological colonization by the imposition of anomalous models and lifestyles which are alien to people’s identity and, in the end, irresponsible.

War is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment.  If we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war between nations and between peoples.

To this end, there is a need to ensure the uncontested rule of law and tireless recourse to negotiation, mediation and arbitration, as proposed by the Charter of the United Nations, which constitutes truly a fundamental juridical norm.  The experience of these seventy years since the founding of the United Nations in general, and in particular the experience of these first fifteen years of the third millennium, reveal both the effectiveness of the full application of international norms and the ineffectiveness of their lack of enforcement.  When the Charter of the United Nations is respected and applied with transparency and sincerity, and without ulterior motives, as an obligatory reference point of justice and not as a means of masking spurious intentions, peaceful results will be obtained.  When, on the other hand, the norm is considered simply as an instrument to be used whenever it proves favourable, and to be avoided when it is not, a true Pandora’s box is opened, releasing uncontrollable forces which gravely harm defenseless populations, the cultural milieu and even the biological environment.

The Preamble and the first Article of the Charter of the United Nations set forth the foundations of the international juridical framework: peace, the pacific solution of disputes and the development of friendly relations between the nations.  Strongly opposed to such statements, and in practice denying them, is the constant tendency to the proliferation of arms, especially weapons of mass distraction, such as nuclear weapons.  An ethics and a law based on the threat of mutual destruction – and possibly the destruction of all mankind – are self-contradictory and an affront to the entire framework of the United Nations, which would end up as “nations united by fear and distrust”.  There is urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the non-proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons.

The recent agreement reached on the nuclear question in a sensitive region of Asia and the Middle East is proof of the potential of political good will and of law, exercised with sincerity, patience and constancy.  I express my hope that this agreement will be lasting and efficacious, and bring forth the desired fruits with the cooperation of all the parties involved.

In this sense, hard evidence is not lacking of the negative effects of military and political interventions which are not coordinated between members of the international community.  For this reason, while regretting to have to do so, I must renew my repeated appeals regarding to the painful situation of the entire Middle East, North Africa and other African countries, where Christians, together with other cultural or ethnic groups, and even members of the majority religion who have no desire to be caught up in hatred and folly, have been forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their cultural and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative either of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and to peace by their own lives, or by enslavement.

These realities should serve as a grave summons to an examination of conscience on the part of those charged with the conduct of international affairs.  Not only in cases of religious or cultural persecution, but in every situation of conflict, as in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region, real human beings take precedence over partisan interests, however legitimate the latter may be.  In wars and conflicts there are individual persons, our brothers and sisters, men and women, young and old, boys and girls who weep, suffer and die.  Human beings who are easily discarded when our only response is to draw up lists of problems, strategies and disagreements.

As I wrote in my letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 9 August 2014, “the most basic understanding of human dignity compels the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities” and to protect innocent peoples.

Along the same lines I would mention another kind of conflict which is not always so open, yet is silently killing millions of people.  Another kind of war experienced by many of our societies as a result of the narcotics trade.  A war which is taken for granted and poorly fought.  Drug trafficking is by its very nature accompanied by trafficking in persons, money laundering, the arms trade, child exploitation and other forms of corruption.  A corruption which has penetrated to different levels of social, political, military, artistic and religious life, and, in many cases, has given rise to a parallel structure which threatens the credibility of our institutions.

I began this speech recalling the visits of my predecessors.  I would hope that my words will be taken above all as a continuation of the final words of the address of Pope Paul VI; although spoken almost exactly fifty years ago, they remain ever timely.   “The hour has come when a pause, a moment of recollection, reflection, even of prayer, is absolutely needed so that we may think back over our common origin, our history, our common destiny.  The appeal to the moral conscience of man has never been as necessary as it is today… For the danger comes neither from progress nor from science; if these are used well, they can help to solve a great number of the serious problems besetting mankind (Address to the United Nations Organization, 4 October 1965).  Among other things, human genius, well applied, will surely help to meet the grave challenges of ecological deterioration and of exclusion.  As Paul VI said: “The real danger comes from man, who has at his disposal ever more powerful instruments that are as well fitted to bring about ruin as they are to achieve lofty conquests” (ibid.).

The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic.  This common house of all men and women must also be built on the understanding of a certain sacredness of created nature.

Such understanding and respect call for a higher degree of wisdom, one which accepts transcendence, rejects the creation of an all-powerful élite, and recognizes that the full meaning of individual and collective life is found in selfless service to others and in the sage and respectful use of creation for the common good.  To repeat the words of Paul VI, “the edifice of modern civilization has to be built on spiritual principles, for they are the only ones capable not only of supporting it, but of shedding light on it” (ibid.).

El Gaucho Martín Fierro, a classic of literature in my native land, says: “Brothers should stand by each other, because this is the first law; keep a true bond between you always, at every time – because if you fight among yourselves, you’ll be devoured by those outside”.

The contemporary world, so apparently connected, is experiencing a growing and steady social fragmentation, which places at risk “the foundations of social life” and consequently leads to “battles over conflicting interests” (Laudato Si’, 229).

The present time invites us to give priority to actions which generate new processes in society, so as to bear fruit in significant and positive historical events (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 223).  We cannot permit ourselves to postpone “certain agendas” for the future.  The future demands of us critical and global decisions in the face of world-wide conflicts which increase the number of the excluded and those in need.

The praiseworthy international juridical framework of the United Nations Organization and of all its activities, like any other human endeavour, can be improved, yet it remains necessary; at the same time it can be the pledge of a secure and happy future for future generations.  And so it will, if the representatives of the States can set aside partisan and ideological interests, and sincerely strive to serve the common good.  I pray to Almighty God that this will be the case, and I assure you of my support and my prayers, and the support and prayers of all the faithful of the Catholic Church, that this Institution, all its member States, and each of its officials, will always render an effective service to mankind, a service respectful of diversity and capable of bringing out, for sake of the common good, the best in each people and in every individual

Upon all of you, and the peoples you represent, I invoke the blessing of the Most High, and all peace and prosperity.  Thank you.

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Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

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Priest attacked by activists, media, and even his diocese for calling homosexuality a ‘disorder’ - but he won’t back down

Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

MEXICO CITY, September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – After being viciously attacked by media last June for saying homosexuality is a “psychological disorder,” Mexican priest Fernando Ovalle, chancellor for the Archdiocese of San Luis Potosi, has recently confirmed he stands by his previous comments and is not backing down.

“I didn’t say any lies or anything false,” he said, according to media reports. “That is my stance, it is a disorder, because I’m sharing my view as a pastor from people that come, that ask for help and for God’s guidance,” he explained.

Ovalle first made his comments during a Sunday homily on June 28. By the next day, headlines saying the Archdiocese of San Luis Potosi had made such statements were circulating in mainstream local media.

Juan Jesus Priego, spokesman for the San Luis Potosi Archdiocese, later made declarations to the press saying that Ovalle’s views did not correspond to those of the Church, and according to Pulso, he explained homosexuality had been long taken off the mental disorder manuals, and therefore “we cannot refer to it as a mental disorder but as a sexual preference.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states that even though the “psychological genesis” of homosexuality “remains largely unexplained,” homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” and  “under no circumstance can they be approved.”

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Also, after Ovalle’s first comments, Jorge Vega, president for the Committee of Human Rights of San Luis Potosi, placed a complaint before Mexico’s National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination (CONAPRED) to have the priest investigated.

On July 4, just a week after Ovalle’s declarations, the LGBT community of San Luis Potosi held a march for Sexual Diversity. Media reported some protesters were carrying pictures of Ovalle.

Still, Ovalle recently refused to back down or apologize. “You made me famous,” he said to the press earlier this month. “They [the protesters] made me into a target, because they had [pictures of] me in their marches. I thought to myself, why did they not come looking for me? Let’s talk, maybe we’ll understand each other through dialogue.”

“It’s not discrimination,” he explained. “We have a family vision, a vision of faith, couples are one man with one woman, that has been the doctrine of the Church for two-thousand years."

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Winnipeg Tory candidate under fire for noting - six years ago - that abortions kill a lot of babies

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A Winnipeg pro-life Conservative candidate is receiving mainstream flak after a video surfaced from six years ago in which he compared abortion numbers in North America to the number of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack and to Jewish victims murdered in Nazi death camps in World War II.

Gordon Giesbrecht, a Winnipeg South Conservative candidate, who is also a physiologist and professor at the University of Manitoba, made the comments in a 2009 video published on a blog while he was the president of the Christian-based Horizon College & Seminary.

“‘To be or not to be.’ You’ve all heard that as a line in a Shakespearian play. Well, that’s also a question for which the answer is ‘no’ for many unborn fetuses in North America and around the world every year. Do you know how many? Let me put this in a perspective for you,” he says in the opening of the video.

Giesbrecht goes on to compare the number of abortions daily in North America as equal to “a 9/11 every day,” a number that he pointed out surpasses in the millions the number of Jews murdered by Nazis in WWII concentration camps.

“Since abortion became legal in North America several decades ago, over 42 million unborn babies have been aborted. That’s a 9/11 every day, for the past 35 years,” he said.

“That’s a very serious problem that confronts our youth in the world and in our churches,” he said. “Unfortunately, this issue is seldom, if ever, addressed in our churches today.”

Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition, the political arm of the country’s pro-life movement, called Giesbrecht’s comparison “100 per cent appropriate.”

“In no way does making such a comparison diminish the sense of injustice and barbarism visited upon the 6 million Jews, 3 million Polish Catholics, and other victims of Hitler’s hatred. His statements simply acknowledge that barbarism and injustice is being visited upon another class of voiceless human beings today. The numbers just can’t be denied, and Professor Giesbrecht was quite right in drawing the comparisons,” he told LifeSiteNews.

An estimated 100,000 babies are killed every year in Canada by abortion. Since 1988, when Canada’s abortion laws were struck down by the infamous Morgentaler decision, an estimated 2.8 million babies have been aborted. In the US alone, an estimated 57.7 million babies have been murdered since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized the procedure.

When LifeSiteNews asked Giesbrecht for comment, his campaign manager Olivia Baldwin-Valainis responded by phone that the Conservative Party position remains that the “debate on abortion is not one that’s going to be reopened under this government.” She said no further comment would be forthcoming.

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Campaign Life Coalition has given Giesbrecht a “supportable” status on its election website, calling him “pro-life.” Of all the candidates running in the riding, he was the only one to fill a questionnaire in which he stated his position regarding life.

Giesbrecht stated that he believes that life “begins at conception” and that if elected he would support “all legislative or policy proposals that would result in a meaningful increase of respect and protection for unborn human life.”

Fonseca said that the comparison of the abortion industry to Nazi death camps should be used “more often.”

“Because they’re true,” he said.

Rather than hindering the Giesbrecht’s chances of becoming elected in the October election, Fonseca believes the exposure has done the candidate good.

“In the end, I believe the media has done Mr. Giesbrecht a big favour, and they’ve helped put him on the path to electoral victory. Average people in Winnipeg South believe that human life is sacred. This media spotlight on his past comments only serve to inform voters that he’s a man who stands up for fundamental human rights and the equal worth and dignity of every human being. As they say in show business, that’s good press,” he said.

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia testifies before the House Judiciary Committee's Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee on Capitol Hill May 20, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Stephen Masker / Flickr
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Justice Scalia on gay ‘marriage’:  ‘I don’t know how you can get more extreme than that’

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

MEMPHIS, Tennessee, September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia still has scathing words against the decision to constitutionalize homosexual "marriage."

Justice Scalia spoke Tuesday for Constitution Day at Rhodes College, where his grandson is a student, warning that the Supreme Court has become a "threat to democracy."

The 79-year-old Reagan appointee said he worries about the nation's highest court, because it is "headed in the wrong direction."

"Saying that the Constitution requires [homosexual] practice, which is contrary to the religious beliefs of many of our citizens," Scalia said – "I don't know how you can get more extreme than that."

Scalia described the Obergefell v. Hodges decision as the "furthest imaginable extension of the Supreme Court doing whatever it wants." He rhetorically asked, "Do you really want your judges to rewrite the Constitution?"

Scalia also noted that the make-up of the Supreme Court is "terribly unrepresentative of our country" and pointed out that a law degree does not qualify one to judge transcendent moral issues. "What is it that I learned at Harvard Law School that makes me peculiarly qualified to determine such profound moral and ethical questions as whether there should be a right to abortion, whether there should be same-sex marriage, whether there should be a right to suicide?" Scalia asked. "It has nothing to do with the law."

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The conservative justice is well-known for his insistence that the judicial branch of government has the task of interpreting the law in light of the Constitution, not creating law from current cultural trends.

On June 26, the Supreme Court judge wrote his own dissent to the Obergefell decision. In what Church Militant calls "his most sharply worded dissent yet," Scalia called the decision an abuse of the judicial branch, which he said was usurping the authority of the legislative branch, and thus the will of the people.

Scalia's dissent described the Supreme Court's overreach in Obergefell as stepping outside the scope of its authority to dictate radical social policy – which properly is the domain of the democratic process. He wrote that the ruling was a "naked judicial claim to legislative – indeed, super-legislative – power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government."

All four dissenting judges – Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito – felt so strongly that each wrote his own dissent. "Today's decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court," Scalia wrote. He added that the decision lacks "even a thin veneer of law."

"This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine," Scalia dissented, "robs the People of ... the freedom to govern themselves."

In prophetic words that have already statistically come true, Scalia concluded that the Obergefell decision will "diminish this Court's reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis."

Scalia also entertained a Q&A session with students, who asked about U.S. drone strikes against Americans in the Middle East. Scalia opined, "If that person has taken up arms against the United States, what's the difference between allowing our soldiers to shoot him dead and allowing a drone to kill him?"

The Supreme Court's next session begins October 5.

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T-Girls founder Cassandra Lynn
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Oregon bar owner told to pay $400,000 to transgender patrons he says hurt his business

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PORTLAND, Oregon, September 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For the second time this year, an Oregon business has been hit with an enormous fine for allegedly violating the state's so-called "non-discrimination" law related to sexuality.

In April, Aaron and Melissa Klein were fined $135,000 for not providing a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. The Kleins had served at least one of the women in other capacities but declined to participate in the "wedding," so they were prosecuted by the state.

Now a Portland bar owner is being told by the same bureaucracy that targeted the Kleins that he must pay $400,000 to 11 transgender men who caused him to lose business.

In 2012, Chris Penner, owner of the Twilight Room Annex, told 11 people – including 10 men who identify as women – to stop coming into his place of business. After nearly two years of their business, Penner left a voice message telling them not to come back because they were driving away customers.

The "T-Girls" filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industry (BOLI), because – according to court documents – Penner said in his message, "People think that a) we're a tranny bar or b) we're a gay bar. We are neither. People are not coming in because they just don't want to be here on a Friday night now."

Penner actually made two calls to Cass Lynn, who is part of the T-Girls. In the first, he said that "unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control I am going to have to ask for you, Cass, and your group to not come back on Fridays. I really don't like have to do that, but unfortunately it's the area we're in and it's hurting business a lot."

"If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call. Again, I'm really sorry about having to do this, but give me a call," said Penner. Lynn did call back, asking for the "real reason" for Penner's request.

"There is no underlying reason for asking you folks not to come back other than money," Penner said in a second call. "Sales on Friday nights have been declining at the bar for the last 18 months. ... I own another bar in north Portland; sales are doing great on Fridays, and so I've done some investigating as to why my sales are declining and there's two things I keep hearing: people think that a) we're a tranny bar or b) we're a gay bar."

"We are neither," said Penner. "People are not coming in because they just don't want to be there on a Friday night now. In the beginning, sales were doing fine, but they've been on a steady decrease, so I have to look at what the problem is, what the reason is, and take care of it. That's my job as the owner. So unfortunately, I have to do what I have to do and that is the only reason. It's all about money."

Penner has since clarified that the T-Girls were leaving stall doors open in the women's restrooms and left seats up on toilets. Penner says that he used to host a weekly dance night for gay customers, and a gay pool team used to practice at his bar. But the complaints by customers against the T-Girls caused him to take action.

NBC News reports that Penner's attorney, Jonathan Radmacher, said the owner might keep fighting BOLI, even though this decision was expected. "Originally, the Rose City T-Girls approached his business and asked if this is going to be a problem, and they said, 'No,'" Radmacher said on Wednesday. "In essence, he was going back to them and saying, 'This is a problem for my business.' We think he's got a constitutional right to make that inquiry."

BOLI had given originally given the fine in 2013; this week's decision was related to Penner's appeal, which Radmacher says he knew was unlikely to succeed.

The Appeals Court said in its decision, "Because all of respondents' arguments are unpreserved, undeveloped, or unavailing in light of BOLI's factual findings, we affirm" the original decision by BOLI. Additionally, "because respondents do not challenge BOLI's findings of fact, those findings are the facts for purposes of judicial review."

The state's 2007 "non-discrimination" law says that "sexual orientation" and "gender" are protected statuses. The Kleins were found guilty despite denying service on the basis of the lesbian couple's chosen relationship and chosen ceremony, not their sexual orientation.

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House Speaker John Boehner http://speaker.gov
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John Boehner resigns from Congress

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

Updated at 12:30 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - After a tumultuous year that saw him repeatedly clash with his party's conservative base, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH, announced this morning that he is resigning from Congress. 

The announcement may mean the end of Congressional efforts to defund Planned Parenthood this at all costs this calendar year.

"The Speaker believes putting members through prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution," an unnamed aide told Reuters. "For the good of the Republican conference and the institution, he will resign the Speakership and his seat in Congress, effective October 30."

Boehner made the announcement at a closed-door meeting of his fellow Congressmen this morning, giving very few advance notice of his intentions. His closest ally, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, reportedly found out about the reason for the meeting only one minute before it commenced.

"This was a surprise to all of us,” Rep. Darrell Issa of California said.

Several members shed tears alongside the famously lachrymous Boehner, who closed by saying the Peace Prayer of St. Francis.

Boehner resigned one day after his 20-year effort to have a pope address Congress. But he had been part of another long-term battle against members of his party's caucus.

After deposing numerous members from leadership position for voting against his priorities on trade or procedural issues - but not on life or marriage - the party's conservatives had sought to force Boehner out of power. 

Rep. Ted Yoho led an insurrection against Boehner but garnered few votes in his short-lived attempt to take the top spot in the House. 

More recently, it came to light that Boehner lacked the votes to be re-elected Speaker if Rep. Mark Meadows pushed a measure to vacate the chair; Boehner would have to rely on Democratic votes, which were uncertain.

Conservatives had recently discussed elevating McCarthy to the top spot, on the condition that he name a more conservative member - such as Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio or Raul Labrador of Idaho - to another leadership position.

McCarthy is all but certain to become the next Speaker, insiders tell LifeSiteNews.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has announced he will not seek the job.

Boehner, who has served in the House since 1990, became Speaker after the 2010 midterm elections. But the Tea Party voters who powered the GOP back into the majority after an historic landslide for conservative Republicans found him too willing to accommodate President Barack Obama by funding Obama's initiatives while holding what they derided as "show votes" on conservative priorities. 

"Today’s announcement is a sign that the voice of the American people is breaking through in Washington," Michael A. Needham,  chief executive officer of Heritage Action for America. " Now is the time for a principled, conservative leader to emerge.  Heritage Action will continue fighting for conservative policy solutions and we look forward to working with the new leadership team."

Boehner said in his farewell statement, "My mission every day is to fight for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government.  Over the last five years, our majority has advanced conservative reforms that will help our children and their children.  I am proud of what we have accomplished."

"It was my plan to only serve as Speaker until the end of last year, but I stayed on to provide continuity to the Republican Conference and the House," he said. " It is my view, however, that prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution.  To that end, I will resign the Speakership and my seat in Congress on October 30.

“God bless this great country that has given me - the son of a bar owner from Cincinnati - the chance to serve," he said.

The Speaker will reveal more about his decision this weekend on Face the Nation.

As he left, members of both parties thanked him for his collegiality. “I looked out for him in ways that I could; he looked out for me in ways that he could," said former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV. "I will always consider John Boehner my friend."

Two closely allied presidential candidates took diametrically opposed positions on Boehner's exit.

Sen. Marco Rubio made the announcement live at the Values Voters Summit, a conservative and evangelical meeting taking place in the nation's capital.

Upon hearing it, the audience broke into a standing ovation.

"It is important at this moment with respect to him and the service that he’s provided to our country...and I’m not here today to bash anyone," Rubio said. "But the time has come to turn the page. The time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leadership in this country."

His one-time mentor, Jeb Bush, showed only support for Boehner's tenure. He said John Boehner had done an "excellent job" and tweeted:

But many will not be content until a more conservative, confrontational leader takes the helm - and takes the fight to President Obama.

"The Republican Establishment should look at the response of the grassroots to Boehner's departure," Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation. "The Republicans can still save the party, if they tread very carefully in choosing a new Speaker."

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Steve Weatherbe

Opinion

CBC’s ‘expert’ on Wynne’s sex ed is so radical he brought down an annual teen sex conference

Steve Weatherbe

TORONTO- September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Toronto sex educator Cory Silverberg, who almost single-handledly brought the annual Oregon Adolescent Sexuality Conference to an end after 30 years with last year’s presentation on the latest sex technology, has come out with a book for pre-teens on sex, fetchingly titled, Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings and You.

The 160-page book is heavily and brightly illustrated by artist Fiona Smyth with pictures of children in far more colours than the rainbow contains, conveying what CBC Radio show “Q” fulsomely describes as Silverberg’s “radically inclusive, diverse and open” approach.

Significantly, the CBC said nothing about Silverberg’s 2014 presentation on advances in sexual technology, with 11-year-old Oregonians and young teens in his audience, titled  “From Texting to Teledildonics: Is Technology Changing Sex?” This provoked such intense news media attention and alarm among parents and school boards that this year’s event was cancelled.

In fact, the CBC did consider supplementing their piece on Silverberg’s new book with criticism from conservative parents associated with the popular resistance to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s pansexual sex education curriculum. But when the designated conservative spokesman, Jack Fonseca of the Campaign Life Coalition, told CBC about Silverberg’s Oregon debacle, the publicly-owned broadcaster dropped him like a hot potato.

When Fonseca asked CBC Radio producer Tyrone Callender when the agreed-on interview would take place, Callender replied late on Wednesday, with, “Got the articles. Sorry I wasn't able to follow up with you earlier but I was working on several other segments today. Thank you for reaching out to offer your perspective on this issue.”  

Thank you but no thank you. By Thursday the sympathetic interview with Silverberg was on air without conservative criticism. Instead, the host served up parental opponents to the Ontario Sex Education Curriculum as straw men for Silverberg to knock down. Their hostility to Wynne’s agenda was not only un-Canadian, he obligingly offered, but based on “fear” and ignorance – “a problem of parents reacting without knowing what’s going into the curriculum.”

His book is engagingly written for children raised on comic books with many of its messages delivered as cartoon balloons coming from the purple, green and orange heads of the small group of pre- and early-teens being treated to an imaginary tour of “sex” by their teacher. In keeping with Silverberg’s insistence that “it’s not my place… to tell kids that sexting is good or bad or that masturbation is a bad thing,” every kind of relationship is treated approvingly, regardless of how far it deviates from the normal. Reproduction via sexual intercourse, for example, “is [only] one way grown-ups make babies.”

Friendship, crushes, the different kinds of love, genitalia and different ways to touch others and oneself. While the genitals are explicitly depicted, masturbation is handled more delicately, with the clear message this needs to be done privately but not secretly.

If there is one thing the book is clearly against, it is sexual abuse. And a child can be sure there is something wrong going on when the other person insists on keeping it secret. Do the opposite, says Silverberg, and tell someone you trust, or better, tell several people.

While Silverberg told CBC Radio the book could be used by religious parents, there is little doubt that explicit illustrations of breasts, nipples and genitals would be deemed age-inappropriate at best, and immodest and offensive by conservative Christians, Jews, and Muslims. As for the encouragement of masturbation, this would not so much lead to discussion as to argument with religious parents. Finally, the trivialization of the traditional heterosexual marriage would alarm the same Ontarians that are protesting Premier Wynne’s radical sex curriculum.

If Silverberg seems tone-deaf to conservative Ontario, he is more like a visitor from another planet to the citizens of Oregon. In his keynote address to Oregon parents, educators, and ‘tweens as young as 11, he gave how-to, on-screen lessons on a virtual, interactive sex site called VirtualFem, on how make an avatar for Internet interactions, and on how to use “teledildonics,” which are genital stimulators that can be operated reciprocally by sexual partners in remote locations.

Silverberg begins, however, with a grotesquely botched history lesson revealing the field of sexology’s inherent bias against religion in general and Christianity in particular. He tells how St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “who kind of ruled everything,” wanted to “destroy all the mills” because these highly productive and progressive innovations, powered by wind and water, were places where classes mingled and sexual acts happened.

“So this would be tantamount to threatening to destroying the Internet, or destroying all cars and the knowledge to build them,” said Silverberg. While this comparison may be true, the rest is not. St. Bernard advised a single abbot whose mill brought prostitutes together with friar-millers to either kick out the women, replace the friars with civilians, or abandon the mill. Christian monasteries didn’t destroy mills, they famously built them and spread their use across Europe to the general enrichment of the population, along with other agricultural innovations.

All this has been explained by historian Rodney Stark in a series of books, such as The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom and Capitalism, and Western Success.

Silverberg is not the only sex educator to spread glaring falsehoods about the Catholic Church. Colorado Springs sex therapist David Snarch for many years told seminar-takers how the Church stood in Columbus’ way because it didn’t want its teaching that the world was flat to be refuted. In fact, educated Europe had known since before the time of Christ that the world was round.

One youth in Oregon recorded Silverberg’s talk and leaked it to KOIN6 TV, which launched a series of investigative reports that brought down a storm of criticism on the 30-year-old conference, including threats from the local sheriff to shut it down. This year the state-wide consortium of “progressive” educators decided to avoid the furore and cancelled the event several months ahead of time.

Campaign Life Coalition’s Jack Fonseca told LifeSiteNews, “Shame on the CBC for promoting a man who is on record having promoted a pornographic website and remote- control sex toys to children as young as 11 years old.  Such a person should never be given honours and accolades. This shows that CBC Radio has no integrity whatsoever, going even so far as to bury hard evidence. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that ‘Q’ is the same program that Jian Ghomeshi, the alleged abuser of women, used to host?”

 Find a full listing of LifeSiteNews' coverage of the Ontario government's explicit sex-ed program here.

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Opinion

How to talk about physician-assisted suicide: setting the record straight on ‘compassion’

John Stonestreet John Stonestreet

September 25, 2015 (BreakPoint) -- Yesterday, Eric Metaxas told you about the recent approval of physician-assisted suicide by the California legislature. Citing the work of Rosaria Butterfield, he gave us an historical perspective on how we as a culture have arrived at this troubling moment.

Now today, I’d like to talk with you about what we can do, what we must do, to defend life to our friends and neighbors.

To start, we have to understand this: While Christians believe (or at least should believe) that all human life is sacred from conception to natural death, many of our neighbors don’t share that conviction.

But that doesn’t mean we are at an impasse. In fact, there are many reasons to oppose physician-assisted suicide even for those that don’t share our belief in the sanctity of human life. And these are the kinds of arguments we need to be ready to make, as Chuck Colson would put it, over the backyard fence with our neighbors.

A great place to start: focus in on the definition of words, especially “dignity” and “compassion.” These words are used to great effect by pro-euthanasia forces, but they’ve been redefined. “Dignity” went from meaning worthy of honor and being treated with respect to meaning little more than fully affirming one’s lifestyle choices.

And, “compassion”? Well, that one’s been really debased. The word comes from the Latin for “to suffer with.” The Greek New Testament word rendered “compassion” meant to feel something in your guts. Both captured the intense and very personal quality of true compassion.

But today, compassion has been reduced to, as Walker Percy wrote in his 1987 novel “The Thanatos Syndrome,” an abstract decency and humanitarianism which makes doctors ready to turn “their backs on the Hippocratic oath and [kill] millions of old useless people, unborn children, born malformed children, for the good of mankind.”

We already know that Percy was correct about unborn children. And the rest of Percy’s “prophecy” is on track toward fulfillment as well.

Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation has written an indispensable report whose title sums it up well: “Always Care, Never Kill: How Physician-Assisted Suicide Endangers the Weak, Corrupts Medicine, Compromises the Family, and Violates Human Dignity and Equality.” In it, he shows how safeguards to minimize the risk of killing people against their will, “have proved to be inadequate and have often been watered down or eliminated over time.”

That’s exactly what happened in Belgium, which in 2014 revised its physician-assisted suicide law to cover children. As Eric Metaxas said on BreakPoint, “It requires willful blindness to believe that a child can ‘choose’ to be killed.”

And for the old? Well as Belgian law professor Étienne Montero observed, “What is presented at first as a right [to die] is going to become a kind of obligation.”

That’s because physician-assisted suicide “offers a cheap, quick fix in a world of increasingly scarce health-care resources.” Doctors, insurance providers, sadly even family members, are perversely incentivized to turn the tools of healing into techniques for killing.

Along the way, people will “view elderly or disabled family members as burdens,” and just as bad, lead the elderly and disabled to view themselves that way. And all this, in the name of “dignity” and “compassion.”

So this is what our neighbors must understand. Wherever physician-assisted suicide has reared its ugly head, “dignity” is reduced to an economic calculation, not an inherent quality that we all share. And there’s nothing “compassionate” about physician assisted suicide, either. Instead of suffering with someone, it merely insists they go away. Permanently.

Reprinted with permission from Break Point

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Steven Mosher Steven Mosher

Opinion,

On the 35th anniversary of China’s brutal one-child policy

Steven Mosher Steven Mosher

September 25, 2015 (POP) -- As Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Washington, his government continues the brutal one-child policy. Millions of women are forced to have abortions each year, while others, desperate for sons, end the lives of any little girls they conceive.

The resulting shortage of brides has given rise to a slave trade in women. We are caring for a young woman, Ming, whose own mother was sold into sexual slavery not once, but twice, by a husband who was desperate to pay off debts. As a result of this repeated abuse the mother died, and Ming and her older sister were left orphans.

When Ming was only five years old a gang of men came to her house, drove her father away, and then kidnapped her sister, who was then 10. Like her mother, Ming’s sister was sold into sexual slavery and has not been heard from since.

Ming’s father, being poor, was unable to afford to marry a second time. Sadly, he began sexually abusing his remaining daughter when she was barely past puberty. She became pregnant at 14 and gave birth the following year.

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The other villagers reported this violation of the one-child policy to the police, who came and beat up her father. Since the family had no money to pay the fine for having an “out-of-plan” child, he was arrested and put in prison.

We are currently caring for Ming and her baby girl in our half-way house. Ming, who just celebrated her 16th birthday, is learning how to read and write. She is also diligently looking for a job. And jobs are not easy for single mothers to find.

Please pray for Ming and her baby, both innocent victims of China’s one-child policy. And please help us continue to help mothers like her.

Reprinted with permission from Population Research Institute.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

Opinion,

Why is the NDP standing behind that ‘pro-life’ candidate? Because he’s not pro-life…

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The New Democrats have decided to continue supporting a Toronto-area candidate who came out saying he’s personally opposed to abortion and homosexual ‘marriage’ on biblical grounds. Calm down if you think the NDP just did a 180 on its extreme pro-abortion and anti-family-values platform. It didn’t.

The party that used to support the “little guy” is standing by their candidate KM Shanthikumar because they know that deep down he’s not really pro-life and pro-family, at least not enough to stand by his convictions when they matter most for his potential constituents, that is, when it comes to voting in the House of Commons.

NDP party brass know that they’ve got Shanthikumar wrapped around their finger when it comes to voting on life and family issues. They know that he will vote along party lines on these issues. After all, towing the party lines on these issues was demanded of him when he signed up as a party candidate.

When pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rag The Star came knocking on his door appalled by his statements, Shanthikumar — who is a priest in Scarborough’s Tamil community — assured them that his views on life and marriage run barely skin deep.

“That is my personal life. My personal life is different from (the) party line, because when I stand by the party, I have to stand by the party,” he told the Star reporter.

Shanthikumar is one of those types who makes the case that while he is ‘personally opposed’ to abortion, he thinks it’s OK for other people to have their pre-born children murdered by abortionists. He somehow thinks that there’s nothing wrong with separating his personal values from his professional life.

This is as absurd as saying that while you’re personally opposed to slavery, or incest, or domestic violence, or rape, or bribery, you won’t impose your views on others, because after all, they’re simply your personal views. If a political candidate were to say this, he would be rightfully booed off the stage into shame and oblivion.

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Let’s get this straight: Abortion is the greatest human rights violation of our age. It denies a child the most fundamental of human rights, the right to life. These are little human beings we are talking about here. It’s never OK to be merely ‘personally opposed’ to the gravest violations of the rights and dignity owed to others.

Shanthikumar wrote on his campaign website that he is “committed to building a fairer, more compassionate society.” It’s too bad that his society doesn’t include everyone, especially the pre-born. His ‘personal views’ unfortunately allow him to discriminate against the youngest and most vulnerable in our society.

Luckily, pro-lifers voting in the Scarborough - Rouge Park riding have Conservative candidate Leslyn Lewis who appears to be the real deal when it comes to standing by convictions.

Lewis replied to a Campaign Life Coalition questionnaire that if elected she would not only “strive to introduce and pass laws to protect unborn children from the time of conception (fertilization) onward” but that she would “support all legislative or policy proposals that would result in a meaningful increase of respect and protection for unborn human life.”

Now that’s what I call a principled stand and a candidate worth supporting.

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What my disturbing encounters with prostitution taught me about abortion

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Sept. 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Never in human history has there been a time in which the buying and selling of human flesh, in one form or another, has been more prevalent. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. Pornography depicting the brutalization of women and girls is among the most popular material on the Internet. And abortion, the financed destruction of tiny human beings developing in the womb, claims the lives of almost 42 million pre-born children each year.

The first time I fully realized how dehumanizing the “sex trade” is was when I was a teenager, walking through the streets of Amsterdam with a student group from my school to visit the Church of Our Lord in the Attic, a hidden house church from the 1600s. What our teachers had not realized when they planned the tour, however, is that we had to cut directly through the infamous Red Light District in order to get there. As they rushed us down the cobblestone streets with more than a little panic, we gaped at an utterly foreign sight: Rows and rows of windows with scantily clad women, their fatigue painted over with thick layers of makeup and mechanical come-hither smiles, standing there. Like meat packages at a butcher shop, I remember thinking. Even the “souvenir” shops sold only human body parts—postcards featuring only breasts or bottoms, nothing else. A human meat market—one brothel owner even compared the tourists viewing the girls to men deciding which pizza to order.

More than 60% of the girls and women who work there report getting sexually assaulted.

We have created a commodity culture, with one trend played out over and over again: Objectification leads to dehumanization. Dehumanization leads to victimization.

The same thing struck me when traveling in Hungary earlier this year. My cousin and I arrived in Budapest from Belgrade at four in the morning and climbed into a taxi to find a hostel. The driver soon took us to a less than reputable area of the city in search of an establishment that still had rooms available. I wondered, stupidly, why there were so many young girls still walking about, even though it was dark and the sun was not even stirring. And then our taxi pulled up to a stop sign, and I made eye contact with one of them. Her blue eyes were flat and emotionless.

She was very young, and very pretty. She wore a light black jacket with a fur fringe, and painted-on pants that must have hurt to walk in. She must have been freezing—it was so ice-cold that every short breath came out in a puff of steam. An older woman, lounging against an abandoned storefront, barked something at her that I didn’t understand, and jerked her head towards me. She started to walk over to the car, gesturing at me and then to herself. And that’s when I realized that she’d been told to find out if I was a potential customer. I felt quite sick as we drove away, although I was naïve to be so surprised. Budapest, after all, is a sex tourist destination, an Eastern European Bangkok. I’d read about it. I’d just never come face to face with the reality—a girl who should have been in school, selling herself to strangers at the orders of others.

Those who defend legalized prostitution—although the differences between legal and illegal prostitution are few—defend it in much the same way that other horrible practices are defended. “Prostitution advocates often use the word ‘choice,’” as Benjamin Nolot of Exodus Cry, an anti-human trafficking organization, noted in his documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.

Choice is a sacred word in a culture that worships individualism, and there is no cap on the number of lives that can be sacrificed to it. Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, herself a former stripper, occasionally takes time off from promoting abortion to advocate for the legalization of prostitution. “I see a lot of similarity between the issues,” she says. “Choice, my body is my own, autonomy, and all those good things.”

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It should surprise no one that somebody who trumpets the destruction and misery of abortion should also laud an industry that specializes in the degradation of all those who engage with it. After all, this is the same Joyce Arthur who defended Planned Parenthood’s dealing in baby parts as a good thing, and even said that Canadian mothers, too, could offer to donate the dismembered body parts of their pre-born children to be used for research. With abortion, as with human trafficking, the pattern is the same: Humans are the sum of their parts, and humans are only valuable in so far as the monetary value of their bodies. Human bodies only serve the purpose of being useful to others.

Dr. Mary Anne Layden, who researches the links between pornography and human trafficking, put it this way: “This is a business and I think that a lot of pimps would stop doing this if there wasn’t any money involved, but it’s a business and as soon as you tell somebody it’s a product, as soon as you say this [is] something you buy, then this is something you can steal. Those two things are hooked. If you can buy it, you can steal it, and even better if you steal it because then you don’t pay for it. So the sexual exploitation industry, whether it’s strip clubs or prostitution or pornography, is where you buy it. Sexual violence is where you steal it – rape and child molestation and sexual harassment is where you steal it. So these things are all seamlessly connected. There isn’t a way to draw a bright line of demarcation between rape and prostitution and pornography and child molestation. There are not bright lines of demarcation.”

And when the intentionally sterile sex occasionally results in the production of a child, most pimps and rapists immediately avail themselves of the happy-to-help abortion industry. The mother’s body, in their mind, is only useful to serve the sexual needs of paying customers, not to nurture with love and tenderness the tiny, fragile body of her son or daughter. The sexual exploitation industries sell the bodies of women and girls to men, and the abortion industry waits patiently to destroy the unwanted sons and daughters of victims and rapists. Sometimes, they can sell the body parts of those sons and daughters to research firms. All body parts are put to good use. The market gods are happy.

A culture without morals meets capitalism without ethics, and what we have created is a commodity culture. Pornography dehumanizes women for a mass audience, and human trafficking and prostitution allows men to play out their fantasies in real life. When I interviewed anti-sex trafficking activist and Member of Parliament Joy Smith, she told me that pimps use today’s pornography to groom their victims into accepting assault—and that in studies done of johns, huge numbers of them report using prostitution so that they can live out fantasies they would never try on “real women.” And the abortionists, of course, can take care of any resulting children, since they are not, in the eyes of our culture, “real children.”

Commodity culture, with one trend played out over and over again: Objectification leads to dehumanization. Dehumanization leads to victimization.

It’s because our materialist society no longer believes in the soul. They’ve forgotten that we are not a body, we are a soul that has a body. Indeed, it is the soul that comes up time and time again when those who have been involved in the exploitation industries struggle to explain the depth and brutality of the damage that has been done. “Every time I sold myself, I felt like I was selling my soul,” said one former prostitute.” No one understands “the pain and destruction to a woman’s heart and soul” that is inflicted by the sex trade, explained Annie Lobert, a former sex worker. When I brought young women onto the porn sets, “I watched their souls die,” one former porn producer told me.

Again and again, former victims and former perpetrators struggle to find words to describe the destruction our commodity culture has wrought, and time and time again they find themselves drawn to words that beckon towards the transcendent. They know, because they have felt the pain and the horror, that human beings are not simply two randomly-ordered bodies of flesh coming together for brief pleasure. We are so much more than that. We were not built for abuse and degradation, but for love and dignity.

Many times throughout the history of humanity, we have forgotten these simple truths. And that is why, more than two hundred years after the great Christian abolitionist William Wilberforce triumphed in his battle against the slave trade, we are again fighting the same evils. We tossed out God and truth, and the pimps and flesh-peddlers came creeping back in. We announced that humans were simply animals, and human traffickers and pornographers obligingly treated them as such. We taught everyone that materialism explained everything, and that souls did not exist—and the abortionists nodded and busied their tools to begin the work of dismembering and discarding the soulless clumps of cells we once recognized as our perfectly created sons and daughters.

Things have never been perfect. Prostitution and infanticide are as old as time. But we used to recognize these things as awful practices that preyed on the most vulnerable, and sought to stamp them out. Now, we live in a culture that has abandoned the moral framework necessary to recognize transcendent concepts like the dignity of the human person, the sanctity of human life, and infinite preciousness of the human soul.

It is when we begin to recognize these things that, through the human rubble and sex-driven carnage, we can begin to turn to a place where we realize that the value of a human being cannot be monetized, and that to try such a thing is an evil that spawns unstoppable wickedness. 

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You think pro-lifers are ‘divisive’? Check out these ‘hard sayings’ by Jesus Christ

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September 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The most common criticism that LifeSite and many of the more effective pro-life, pro-family leaders endure is that we are “divisive”, that we “judge” and that Jesus would not say what we say or that Jesus is more loving and accepting of all people, etc.  

These criticisms are made in response to uncomfortable, accurate revelations about the actions of others – even though the revelations have a positive, loved-based purpose, as a father would have for his children or a brother for his siblings or a man or woman for their nation.

The Jesus that the critics, among both clergy and the public, and especially from those who promote acceptance of unnatural sexual behavior, refer to, is a fictional, sentimental Jesus. 

The real, scriptural Jesus was in fact very divisive. He was divisive in that he revealed the hidden or not so hidden thoughts and actions of those who rejected, and were divided from the will of God.

The division they accused Jesus and all the apostles and saints of was of the critics’ own making – not Jesus’s. They could not stand what he revealed or rebuked them for. They refused to repent and accept the direction and love of Jesus. They crucified him for this as they also crucified many saints through the ages.

Similarly, what LifeSite frequently exposes is division that already exists (we do not create it) and which others are determined must be kept hidden or wrongly justified. They do not want the truth that could harm their worldly status, wealth, power over others, their harmful plans and manipulations or their wrong way of life or their sins to be revealed.  And yet, that is exactly what Jesus did, but as actions of love, teaching and just judgment.

Most people have some familiarity with many of the uplifting and most commonly stated love and acceptance sayings of Jesus, such as "love one another as I have loved you." After all, Jesus is love. God is love.

But, true love is always far more than beautiful sayings and warm feelings. The greatest love challenges and makes hard decisons. The ultimate love is to give one’s life for another, even when that other spits on, abuses and crucifies the one who loves.

Below are just some of the sayings of Jesus, the hard sayings that many prefer to deny Jesus ever said. However, the real Jesus cannot possibly be known without acceptance of these sayings as well. These are also essential to the roadmap to eternal life and, which many do not or do not want to comprehend.

They are also as much of the love teachings of Jesus as are are all the other sayings. They are integral to Jesus's great commandments of "love one another as I have loved you" and "love God with your whole mind and heart and soul".

 

Some of the Hard Sayings of Jesus Christ

Gospel of Matthew

4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

5:29-30 “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”

7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

7:15-27 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit.

8:11-12 “I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

10:14-16 “And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

10:21-22 “Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name's sake.”

10:33-38 “… whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

13:40-42 “Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

13:49-50, 57 “So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.” … And they took offense at him.

14:3-4 “For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; because John said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her."

15:18-20 “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man…”

16:3-4 “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah." So he left them and departed.

16:23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."

18:6-9 “… but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the man by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.”

19:8-9 "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."

Matthew 23:33 "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?"

 

Gospel of Mark

3:28-29 "Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" -- for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."

8:33, 38 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men. … For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

9:41 Jesus answered, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you?”

16:13-16 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at him. But he said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”

21:16-17 “You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name's sake.”

 

Gospel of John

3:18-20 “He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

5:14 "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you."

John 6:70 Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!"

7:7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil.”

7:43-44 So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him…

John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

15:6 “If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.”

15:18-25 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It is to fulfill the word that is written in their law, `They hated me without a cause.'”

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Mother of 7 young children has brain tumor and urgently needs your help

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September 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Terry Vanderheyden may be a familiar name to some long-time LifeSiteNews readers. He was one of our Canadian journalists for several years prior to his finding work in his field of naturopathy.  Terry and his wife Laurie are among those heroic Catholic parents that have decided to forgo a dual income and home school their children to preserve their faith.  They left big city life to give their children the healthy choice of rural life. 

As their GoFundMe page says: Laurie and Terry Vanderheyden and their 7 great kids, really need some help. Specifically, $92,270 CAD ($70,000 USD) to fund her therapy treatment in the US. They’ve only raised about a quarter of what is needed at this point, so they need the help urgently.

Laurie has a type of brain tumor that is called an acoustic neuroma. It initially caused partial facial paralysis, including the inability to close her right eye.

Hearing loss (which seems to have begun) on the same side is another effect of the tumor as it grows.

The paralysis began Aug. 15, 1992 but the tumor was not discovered until 2005. The tumor has been slow-growing but now measures 4x3 cm (1.75x1.25"). There is now also an extension over the carotid artery which is very concerning.

Because the tumor continues to grow, Laurie and Terry have been looking at various treatment options for some time.

THE TREATMENT

The surgeon she has dealt with would like to remove it, though is concerned with the possible risks to the surrounding area and has said it would result in hearing loss and complete facial paralysis of the right side.

Their radiation oncologist confirmed that surgery is not a good option for Laurie, nor is conventional (termed "gamma knife") radiation therapy. The head of radiation oncology for Princess Margaret Hospital (Toronto) has recommended "fractionated proton beam" radiation therapy, a less harmful and more appropriate and effective type of treatment for her type of tumor. Proton Beam is only available in a handful of centers worldwide.

Furthermore, Loma Linda University (where the treatment was invented) published a series of 30 cases of acoustic neuroma treated with proton beam, all of which completely resolved with the treatment.

Sadly, Laurie has been denied coverage from the Ontario Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health reasoned that she should take an optional treatment in Ontario, but as mentioned earlier, the safest and most effective treatment for her situation is the Proton Radiation.

She needs to get this treatment in the US.

THE COST ($70k USD IS FOR THE TREATMENT ONLY)

The treatment encompasses 7-8 weeks, starting with a pre-consultation 1-2 weeks before commencing 6 weeks of daily radiation treatments (Monday-Friday).

THE PLAN

Laurie and Terry plan to travel as a family as it would be too long a time for the family to be separated and also because Laurie home-schools the children. Terry will be working part time on-line, helping with the homeschooling and making sure Laurie gets any needed rest.

Laurie and Terry are hoping that some of you generous and loving people will be able to help them out. If you cannot help personally, please pass this information on however you may, and please pray for Laurie's healing.

God bless your generosity!

Click here to make a donation to Laurie’s treatment.

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Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life Campaign Director

The Pulse,

12 babies saved already as 40 Days for Life gets going

Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life Campaign Director

September 25, 2015 (40DaysforLife) -- This 40 Days for Life campaign is just getting started … and we already know of at least 12 babies that have been spared from abortion! We’ll share specifics in the days ahead, but these early results point to one thing … your presence matters! 

A few days ago, the moms of those 12 babies – and many others right now where you live – had abortion appointments. They had their minds made up … and showed up for their abortion.

But when they arrived at the abortion center, they encountered something they didn’t expect: hope. God wants to offer hope to those seeking abortion … and He can use you to do that. Your peaceful presence is the last – often unexpected – sign of hope.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

But for the woman who goes through with the abortion, your presence is also the first sign of mercy. That is why it’s important to be there before, during and after the abortion. In this campaign, there are 40 Days for Life vigils taking place in 16 countries. Find the one nearest you and be that sign of God’s hope! 

https://40daysforlife.com/browse-campaigns/

Reprinted with permission from 40 Days for Life

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