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Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
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Supreme Court judge: Marriage, religious liberty under attack

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MADISON, N.J., March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States’ commitment to religious liberty is being tested and hostility toward traditional moral beliefs is on the rise, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito told a group of Catholic lawyers Wednesday night.

Justice Alito repeated the words he had written in his own dissent in the Obergefell case legalizing homosexual “marriage,” telling the group that he suspected the decision would be used to “vilify those who disagree and treat them as bigots.” 

"We are seeing this is coming to pass," Alito said.

He then referenced a famed Bob Dylan song lyric, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

"A wind is picking up that is hostile to those with traditional moral beliefs," Alito said.

He told the audience that while religious freedom has been recognized in Congress and in the courts, attitudes are not so quick to change.

The Supreme Court Justice described how a Democratic lawmaker opposed his 2005 nomination because Alito would make "too many Catholics on the court."

Alito also called on Americans to raise awareness of threats to religious freedom in the wake of Supreme Court rulings such as the Hobby Lobby case, where the company’s Christian owners objected to being forced to provide contraception in violation of their religious beliefs.

"We are likely to see pitched battles in courts and Congress, state legislatures and town halls," he said. "But the most important fight is for the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. It is up to all of us to evangelize our fellow Americans about the issue of religious freedom."

Alito’s appearance was sponsored by Advocati Christi — or Advocates of Christ. The initiative is part of the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey’s Catholic Center for Evangelization. It offers outreach to Catholic lawyers and judges to “deepen their practice of the profession of faith, and integrate it into their daily life and practice.”

Alito spoke for about 45 minutes, according to an AP report.

He talked about the hostility faced by Catholics in the U.S. in previous centuries and his joy while staying up overnight as a Catholic youth in 1960 to witness John F. Kennedy’s election as the first Roman Catholic president.

"I felt it had lifted me up from the status of second-class American," Alito recalled.

While dissenting from the majority in the Obergefell decision in 2015, Justice Alito was alone in saying that marriage existed for the sake of procreation and child-rearing. He wrote that the majority opinion was based on ideas of romantic love.

He had also expressed a concern shared by the other conservative dissenting justices that the Obergefell decision supplants the democratic process with the views of five unelected justices.

“If a bare majority of justices can invent a new right and impose that right on the rest of the country, the only real limit on what future majorities will be able to do is their own sense of what those with political power and cultural influence are willing to tolerate,” Alito had written in his dissent.

“All Americans, whatever their thinking on that issue,” he concluded, “should worry about what the majority’s claim of power portends.”

Alito was a U.S. Attorney in New Jersey and based in Newark while a member of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. He was nominated to the High Court by President George W. Bush and has served since 2006.

 

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Trump is absolutely right about one thing…

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Today, LifeSite is launching its 2017 spring fundraising campaign! 

If you believe in the importance of having a strong, fearless, independent, and uncompromisingly pro-life and pro-family voice in the media, this is your chance to make a difference!

To keep this truth-mission afloat for the next quarter, we need your help to reach the minimum goal of $225,000 by March 31.

Since Jan. 1 of this year, over 7 MILLION people have visited LifeSite, where they’ve viewed over 15 MILLION pages - making LifeSite by far the #1 most-visited pro-life website on the Internet! And right now, we need just a tiny fraction of those readers to pitch in whatever they can!
 

Will you help us reach the goal today with a gift of $35 or more?

DONATE NOW Whatever you think of Donald Trump, there no question he’s absolutely right about one thing - the mainstream media are often shamelessly and incurably “dishonest.”

And that’s never more true than when it comes to the issues you and I care about the most: the sanctity of life, the family, faith, and freedom.

I thought I’d seen everything, but I was truly flabbergasted recently when The Atlantic published a bizarre article complaining about the invention of the ultrasound, and how it has been “used” to “push” the idea that “a fetus is a person.” (Imagine that!)

The author of the article even had the gall to complain that the ultrasound has been used “to create an imaginary (!) 'heartbeat,’” asking “What is a fetal heartbeat? And why does it matter?”

The article was so riddled with glaring factual errors about embryology and other topics, that The Atlantic was eventually forced to issue a 176-word correction to the piece!

This is the madness of the pro-abortion position. And THIS is how far the pro-abortion media will go to defend the “right” for mothers and fathers to kill their own children.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. These days much of the mainstream media are pushing an increasingly extreme, dangerous and intolerant sexual agenda, often (and as a father this is what really gets me) aimed directly at our kids!

We can’t let the media get away with this.

And that is precisely why LifeSite exists!

Call us crazy, but at LifeSite we have always aimed to stand up to these media juggernauts, like David to Goliath, believing in the power of Divine Providence and the TRUTH, to reach hearts and minds…and save lives.

When you support LifeSite, you aren’t just supporting another pro-life and pro-family apostolate. You are giving inspiration and support to our fiercely dedicated team of 25+ experienced pro-life and pro-family journalists, editors and support staff, who are in the trenches, fighting for truth every single day.

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Apb. Bruno Forte and Pope Francis. Photo: CNS
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Communion for adulterers is a ‘sign of obedience to God’s mercy’: Francis’ former Special Secretary to family synod

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Note: In above photo, Archbishop Bruno Forte and Pope Francis exchange the sign of peace during the Family Synod's closing Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Oct. 25, 2015.

ITALY, March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Italian Archbishop Bruno Forte said that it is loving “as God does” for priests to give Holy Communion to the civilly-divorced-and-remarried who are living in adultery. 

“The accompanying path culminates in communion for divorced and remarried that is a sign of obedience to God's mercy,” he said in a March 10 interview with RomaSette

The Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, was appointed Special Secretary to the 2014 Synod on the Family by Francis. He was credited with writing the synod’s controversial mid-term report which suggested that the Church emphasize the “positive” aspects of actions it considers to be mortally sinful, such as adultery, premarital cohabitation, and homosexual relations. 

In the interview, Forte defended Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, the Pope’s reflections after the conclusion of the Family Synod. He suggested that the four cardinals who raised a series of questions (dubia) to Francis, asking him if his teaching was in continuity with the faith, should by that very act have doubt cast on themselves. 

"The doubts that were raised present doubts on who has raised them,” he said. 

READ: Who are these four cardinals who wrote the ‘dubia’ to the Pope?

“At the center of Amoris Laetitia there is the crisis of the real family. The message is that, despite the wounds and the failures, it is worth it to bet on the family. And then what do we do? Love as God does. And how do we show this attention for those who are wounded? With pardon, which is the great strength of love,” he added. 

Forte said the proposals in Amoris can be summarized as welcoming, accompanying, discerning, and integrating. 

Last May the Archbishop revealed how Pope Francis told him during the Synod on the Family to avoid speaking “plainly” about the question of admitting remarried divorcees to Holy Communion, because doing so would make a “terrible mess.”

Forte claimed that the pope told him: “If we speak explicitly about communion for the divorced and remarried, you do not know what a terrible mess we will make. So we won’t speak plainly, do it in a way that the premises are there, then I will draw out the conclusions.” 

Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a strong rebuke earlier this year against those who use Amoris to justify Communion for those in adulterous unions. 

“Adultery is always a mortal sin and the bishops who create confusion about this must study the doctrine of the Church,” he said at that time. 

Müller said that Communion for civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics is not possible, as St. John Paul II’s exhortation Familiaris Consortio presented it: “Of course, this cannot be overcome because it is not only a positive law of John Paul II, but he expressed an essential element of Christian moral theology and the theology of the sacraments.”

The Catholic Church teaches that the faithful may receive Holy Communion if they have the proper disposition, namely that they be in the state of grace (free from mortal sin). The Church follows the teaching of St. Paul in this matter where he states that the one who “eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.” 

St. Paul teaches that the one who receives Communion unworthily “eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” 

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Texas Senate looking at bill to ban punishment of doctors for ‘wrongful birth’ of disabled kids

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AUSTIN, Texas, March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Texas State Senate is considering a bill that would prevent parents from suing doctors for "wrongful birth" if their child is born with a disability. 

Senate Bill 25 has generated panic from the abortion lobby, which says the bill would "allow doctors to lie" to their patients.

But the bill's sponsor, Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, says this absolutely isn't true.

"The fake news has been rampant on this issue," Creighton told LifeSiteNews. "It’s been heavy across social media using a Huffington Post article that didn’t for some reason bother to ask me to participate in [an] interview."

That parents may currently sue a doctor for damages if their child has a disability and went unaborted "promotes a mindset that disabled children have less value in some way [than] children that are born without those disabilities," said Creighton. This "archaic cause of action" allowed under Texas law right now isn't "in line with Texas values."

The bill "certainly follows a growing trend across the country to remove these statutes from state law," Creighton pointed out. "It is just overly punitive toward physicians to require them … to be liable for damages for rearing a child with disabilities only because that physician did exactly what they were supposed to do and provided a service to deliver life into the world."

In 2012, for example, an Oregon couple won a $3 million "wrongful birth" lawsuit because their daughter wasn't diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb. Had her parents known, they would have aborted her, they argued. In 2011, a Florida couple won $4.5 million in damages because they would have aborted their son had they known of his disability before his birth.

If SB 25 passes, it will become Texas law that "a cause of action may not arise, and damages may not be awarded, on behalf of any person, based on the claim that but for the act or omission of another, a person would not have been permitted to have been born alive but would have been aborted."

However, this "may not be construed to eliminate any duty of a physician or other healthcare practitioner under any other applicable law," the bill says

The Huffington Post article says: "If, for example, an OB-GYN discovered during an ultrasound that a fetus had severe abnormalities and failed to inform his or her patient ― knowing the mother might chose to terminate the pregnancy ― that mother would be prevented from later bringing what is known as a 'wrongful birth' suit."

This is an inaccurate way of putting it, Creighton said. The bill is not about creating some "sort of gateway for doctors to … have less than good intentions towards their patients and expecting mothers."

"If it’s within a standard of care today, between a physician and a patient, it remains that same standard of care the day after [this] bill passes. ... We would never support a law that changes any ethical standards for physicians," said Creighton.

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He said that the way the law is currently written, doctors actually might be incentivized to tell mothers that their children have disabilities when they may not, resulting in those children being aborted so the doctor doesn't face a potential lawsuit.

Certain prenatal testing that is "reimbursed by insurance companies" has "over a 10 percent margin of error," Creighton explained. So, "with this statute in place, it’s conceivable that some physicians might even choose" to recommend abortion if such a test indicates the baby may have a disability "just simply because … this statute exists."

"Holding a physician liable or accountable only because they provided a service to deliver life that ultimately was determined to be disabled – we just think that’s an awful reason in the court system to ask a physician to participate in the costs associated with rearing that child," said Creighton. "We also think it’s terrible to imply that a child with disabilities has somehow less value than a child that doesn’t and that that somehow should be defined as an injury."

SB 25 received a unanimous committee vote. Sen. Judith Zaffirini, a Democrat who has voted in favor of late-term abortion before, voted for SB 25.

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Mélanie has Down syndrome. Last night her dream came true: to be a weather girl on TV

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

PARIS, France, March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — At 21, Mélanie Ségard is a not only a charming young lady, she’s also a happy one: a girl with a dream come true.

More than 5 million French viewers – that’s a 20 percent share of the total audience – watched her present the national weather forecast on Tuesday evening on the main public station, France 2. No big deal? Wait! Mélanie has Down syndrome. And the public loved it.

Mélanie has dreams and ambitions like the rest of us. When she told the National Union of Parents of Mentally Handicapped Children (UNAPEI) of her dearest wish, they liked the idea. One of their objectives is to promote a positive image of the mentally handicapped.

Mélanie had the makings of a perfect messenger for the 65,000 people suffering from the anomaly related to a triple chromosome 21. But they didn’t hand it to her on a platter. They helped, but the success was hers.

At the beginning of the month, Mélanie Ségard posted a video message on a special Facebook page promising that if she got 100,000 “likes” she would present the weather bulletin on television. “Mélanie can do it,” it said.

She obtained more than 200,000 “likes” in 10 days. Meanwhile, several broadcasters contacted UNAPEI to say they were interested. France 2 was chosen as the most symbolic network on which to promote the handicapped rights: state-funded and widely watched.

On the big night, after having been coached by her “godmother” for the occasion, French actress and TV presenter Catherine Laborde – Mélanie can’t read – the young girl came on the set, radiant with happiness. Kindly helped along by the program’s usual presenter, Anaïs Baydémir, she forecast clouds, rain and sunshine for the following four days, reminding viewers to congratulate their friends named “Louise” on that saint’s feast day.

Baydémir then folded her young colleague in a warm embrace. Viewers were treated to a few images of Mélanie getting professional makeup for the recording and her joyful smiles when her job was done. The clip attracted several million views on Facebook and is still going strong.

The touching adventure of Mélanie Ségard was made possible by many friends and found sympathetic ears in the most unexpected places. Television magazines were full with stories of her presentation. At the shopping center last Saturday near Paris, there were video advertisements prompting shoppers to watch her weather forecast on France 2. Suddenly, France was discovering the beauty of human life, however fragile. Mélanie’s communicative enthusiasm has certainly changed the way many French people regard “trisomy,” as it’s called here.

In France, the “medical abortion” of babies with Down syndrome is legal beyond the normal deadline for elective abortion – 12 weeks’ gestation – right up to term. Screening for Down syndrome is all but compulsory. That includes routine sonograms, and 100 percent refunded blood screens for all women, followed by amniocentesis (a dangerous procedure for the child that involves an invasive procedure to obtain liquid from the amniotic sac with a large needle, with between one and two miscarriages for every 100 tests) when the blood screen reads positive.

Of every unborn baby diagnosed with Down syndrome, 96 percent are aborted. Their mothers being put under tremendous pressure to do so by the medical profession, not least because lawsuits have been won by parents angry to have given birth to a handicapped child whose illness had not been diagnosed.

And things are about to get worse. A new, cheaper and non-invasive prenatal test is set to be approved by the social security scheme, with full public funding: a simple blood test that allows the diagnosis of many genetic abnormalities in the fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation. Once that is integrated into the public health insurance system, it is “hoped” 100 percent of all Down syndrome babies will be identified before birth and aborted at an early stage.

This gives Mélanie’s initiative, and the very positive reactions to it, a sour-sweet taste.

Strangely enough, the event was welcomed by a member of the government media watchdog, the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA), Mémona Hintermann.

“These iconic, off-the-chart events, allow opinions to change. Melanie Ségard has opened a door. She has the courage to say: I’m not like you – so what?” she commented.

That same CSA barred a video co-produced by the French Fondation Jérôme-Lejeune showing children and young people with Down’s syndrome under a positive light. Dear Future Mom was censured for French television on the grounds that it could “disturb” women who might have decided or wanted to decide not to keep their unborn child with because it had that condition. Last November, the supreme administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, judged that the CSA had acted correctly in forbidding the film to be broadcast.

People with Down’s syndrome are mentally handicapped. But those who think they’re better off dead have neither rhyme nor reason.

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LifeSiteNews staff

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New research shows pornography use decreases satisfaction in relationships

LifeSiteNews staff

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2017 (NCOSE) — A new meta-analysis – a reliable method for combining relevant data from various studies for greater statistical power — examining the impact of pornography consumption on individuals’ interpersonal satisfaction was recently published, and its findings contradict previous misleading research.

“Pornography is sex-negative,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Pornography rewires an individual’s sexuality to pixels on a screen rather than to a real person, which is inherently inconsistent with healthy, organic relationships. A wide body of research is bringing attention to the various ways pornography negatively impacts both women and men, and this latest meta-analysis contributes important findings to that ongoing dialogue.”

The paper, entitled Pornography Consumption and Satisfaction: A Meta-Analysis, concluded that “Pornography consumption was associated with lower interpersonal satisfaction outcomes in cross-sectional surveys, longitudinal surveys, and experiments.” Specifically, pornography was linked to significant “lower sexual and relational satisfaction” among male viewers.

“This new meta-analysis contradicts previous research that implied pornography is beneficial to its users. The meta-analysis included more than 50,000 participants from 10 countries, used sound methodology, and found clear and consistent results, which starkly contradicts the widely reported article Porn Sex Versus Real Sex: How Sexually Explicit Material Shapes Our Understanding of Sexual Anatomy, Physiology, and BehaviourThose researchers asked survey participants questions about the effects of their pornography consumption using a faulty methodology which could only yield positive results, and then presented the results as unbiased and valid despite the skewed methodology,” Hawkins added.

These findings of pornography’s negative impacts on relational satisfaction are consistent with an Open Letter on Porn written by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, world-renowned researchers and clinical psychologists. In their letter the Gottmans stated: “We are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony.”

Founded in 1962, National Center on Sexual Exploitation is the leading national organization opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, addiction and more. The organization changed its name from Morality In Media to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation early in 2015 to better describe the organization’s scope and mission, which is to expose the seamless connection between all forms of sexual exploitation.
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Fr. Mark Hodges

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Law banning abortion on babies that can feel pain takes effect in Ohio

Fr. Mark Hodges

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act went into effect in Ohio on Tuesday, protecting pre-born children from 20 weeks’ gestation.

The new state law was passed last year and signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich in December. It restricts abortions at 20 weeks or greater or when the unborn child can feel pain.

Physicians could face fourth-degree felony charges and up to 18 months in prison for violating the law. Women and the fathers of unborn babies also could sue doctors for performing illegal abortions.  

Ohio Right to Life president Michael Gonidakis explained that the new law changes the Roe v Wade "viability" standard for protection of the pre-born.

“The 20-week ban … challenges the current national abortion standard and properly moves the legal needle from viability to the baby’s ability to feel pain,” he said.

Similar laws are now in place in 16 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Planned Parenthood called the Pain-Capable Bill "unconstitutional" but did not legally challenge the law.

On the same day that Gov. Kasich signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in December, he vetoed the “Heartbeat Bill,” which would have protected children in the womb much earlier, as soon as their heartbeat can be detected.

Many scientists believe babies can feel pain much earlier than 20 weeks. Dr. Steven Zielinski's three decades of research has shown that babies in the womb can feel pain at “8 ½ weeks and possibly earlier.” Zielinski specializes in the concept of fetal pain.

At six to eight weeks from conception, a baby reacts to touch. By 18-20 weeks, all pain receptors (nociceptors) are present and nerves link these receptors to the brain’s thalamus and subcortical plate. Studies have shown pre-born babies recoiling and releasing stress hormones from painful stimuli.

Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, neonatology professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, testified before a U.S. Senate committee that scientific research proves pre-born babies can feel severe pain at 20 weeks or earlier.  

Dr. Malloy explained that administering pain medication for babies from 20 weeks’ gestation on is standard medical practice "because it’s supported by the literature completely."

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Abortion activists argue that to feel pain, the cerebral cortex must be neurologically mature, but modern science has refuted that notion. Even children born without most of their cerebral cortex still feel pain.

The Roe v Wade standard of "viability" in the 1970s was about 26 weeks, but advances in medical care have steadily moved "viability" earlier.  Today, "viability" is generally considered about 24 weeks, but Dr. Malloy noted in her Senate testimony that babies are surviving outside the womb as young as 20 weeks gestation.

Ohio has passed eighteen pro-life laws restricting abortion since Kasich became governor in 2011.

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95% of ‘faith-driven consumers’ turned off by Beauty and the Beast’s gay content: survey

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March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A survey of 6,700 faith-driven consumers revealed that 95 percent of them are less likely to see Disney's Beauty and the Beast remake due to its gay content.

The group Faith-Driven Consumer released these results along with other data about how Christians view the Disney brand in light of the announcement that Beauty and the Beast will contain an "exclusively gay moment."

This moment occurs between the male characters Gaston and his manservant Le Fou. Le Fou is sexually attracted to Gaston.

The survey was conducted by American Insights. It polled members of the "FDC community" online. Ninety-four percent "of Faith Driven Consumers are now less likely to spend money with Disney as a whole in light of the 'exclusively gay moment,'" FDC announced. 

Tell Disney 'NO' to the LGBT agenda in Beauty and the Beast. Sign the boycott pledge here

Fifty-eight percent of consumers polled think the normalization of homosexuality was Disney's motivation for including the gay scene. Fifteen percent said Disney's motivation was "to reject biblical Christian values regarding homosexuality."

Others think Disney's motivation was "to be intentionally inclusive of LGBT people" (19 percent), "to accommodate LGBT employees at Disney" (3 percent), and "to accurately reflect real-world diversity" (3 percent).

Eighty-seven percent of those polled "feel that Disney is not equally inclusive of Christians with biblically based values," FDC reported. Sixty-two percent "say Disney does not reflect their values well at all."

More than 128,000 people have pledged to boycott Beauty and the Beast.

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The gay content has caused international backlash. Russia banned unaccompanied children under 16 from the film. A Malaysian censorship board cut the gay scene out and Disney responded by pulling the movie from the country.

A Singapore Anglican bishop wrote to his clergy, telling them parents should be "strongly advised" about Beauty and the Beast’s "homosexual content."

The film opens in U.S. and Canadian theaters on Friday. 

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A 26-week-old preemie seeks human touch. Figure 1
Fr. Mark Hodges

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Touching story: 26-week-old preemie reaches out to nurse with tiny hand in captivating photo

Fr. Mark Hodges

March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A picture of a 26-week-old preemie reaching out to touch a nurse's hand affirms the humanity of the most fragile human beings.

The Daily Mail published the photo, found on a website for medical staff called Figure 1. It shows a tiny baby girl, born at 26 weeks’ gestation and weighing less than one pound, "seeking the comfort of human touch."

The baby girl's whole hand was only 3/4 of an inch.

"I was changing her nappy and she just held onto my hand," the nurse explained online. "I had to stop and just let her. Human touch is so important."

Scientists believe skin-to-skin contact is crucial to a child's physical and psychological development.

Birmingham City University's head of psychology, Professor Craig Jackson, explained that babies need skin-to-skin contact. They crave the type of relational and physical closeness they experienced in the womb.

A mother’s skin contact with her baby is known to stimulate the production of breast milk. Such contact also releases oxytocin, known to create interpersonal bonding.

The Daily Mail reported on a 20-year Bogota, Columbia, study of 250 babies on the effects of skin-to-skin contact. The results were published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The study tested "Kangaroo Mother Care" for low-weight newborns, which replaced the cautious incubator approach for the most fragile human beings with "strapping the baby upright to the mother's chest in skin-to-skin contact" and exclusively breast feeding.  

The study found that babies who were given close skin-to-skin contact were calmer, less hyperactive, less aggressive, more faithful to school attendance, more sociable, slept better, and grew more brain matter.

A major review of 21 studies and more than 3,000 babies concluded that the maternal skin-to-skin contact "was preferable to conventional neonatal care." Fathers making skin contact led to positive results as well.

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The nurse reported that the fragile little girl in the picture is now a "happy, healthy, 14-pound nine-month-old."  

"Premature babies are the definition of a miracle," she said. "I have the best job ever."

Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News opined, "If ever a picture was worth a thousand words, this is it."

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LeFou (Josh Gad), left, and Gaston (Luke Evans) in Beauty and the Beast. Disney
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More opposition to Beauty and the Beast’s ‘gay’ remake — petition exceeds 128,000 signatures

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March 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The fallout continues over Disney's Beauty and the Beast remake that refashions one of the film’s characters to be homosexual.

Christians, family groups and some foreign countries have objected to the company using a beloved fairy tale as a vehicle to normalize homosexual behavior.

LifeSiteNews’ petition against Disney’s decision to promote a sexual agenda has topped 128,000 signatures since its launch after surpassing the initial goal of 50,000 in its first day.

Earlier this week, Disney said it would not cut a controversial scene containing an “exclusively gay moment” after the Malaysian government’s Film Censorship Board approved the movie for release as long as the the scene was removed.

The company opted to pull the movie from theaters there instead.

A Disney representative told Bloomberg, “The film has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia.”

Homosexual acts are banned in the Muslim-majority country of southeastern Asia country of nearly 30 million.

Movies with gay characters shown in Malaysia must have the characters portrayed negatively or repent by the film’s end to be approved.

The scene in question has the Le Fou character dancing happily away with another male upon landing in each other’s arms during a ballroom dance.

A trailer released with an earlier scene in the Beauty and the Beast remake shows Le Fou flirting with Gaston and appearing to embrace his same-sex attraction feelings.

Malaysia’s decision follows the Russian government restricting the film for children under 16. Russia has a law banning homosexual propaganda geared toward young people.

The news of the gay portrayal in the movie came the same week that Disney introduced same-sex kissing into one of its animated children’s television programs.

Less blatant homosexual characterization has been woven into Disney’s TV programming in recent years. Some have speculated that other Disney movies characters for many years have actually been gay, just not fully “out.”

Christian evangelist Franklin Graham criticized Disney’s use of a pointedly gay character in its Beauty and the Beast remake, saying Disney was “trying push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children.”

The group One Million Moms, which launched its own petition mentioning both Le Fou and the children’s cartoon, echoed Graham’s response. And an Alabama drive-in movie theater has declined to show the movie.

Joining the latest condemnation of Disney’s insertion of the gay agenda into the film is the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (American TFP).

The group launched a petition objecting to Disney presenting homosexuality as normal to children, saying it contradicts God’s law and is a danger for impressionable children.

“This is not entertainment and above all it’s not for children,” it states.

The American Family Association (AFA) has also produced a letter to Disney for supporters to sign.

AFA told its subscribers, “Parents should be warned that Disney has given the green light to a strong LGBTQ agenda in a movie that targets the 5- to 11-year-old demographic market.”

The group is co-producing an animated film as an alterative to the Disney’s efforts.

The Anglican Bishop of Singapore also weighed in, writing a letter to clergy asking them to warn their congregations "about the homosexual content in Disney’s remake of Beauty and the Beast."

Mom-lifestyle blogger Brooke Poston wrote about her family’s decision not only to skip the Beauty and the Beast remake but to cancel plans for a Disney vacation, linking to LifeSiteNews’ petition in the post.

The family’s response to Disney was significant given her daughter’s love of Disney princesses.

Poston told LifeSiteNews she received considerable hate mail as a result of her blog post. She was cursed and called horrible names, and her children were targeted as well.

She wrote another post in response, which gained media attention and subsequent coverage.

“By the next day,” she said, “Huffington Post reached out to me for a response and within 72 hours my thoughts were shared all over the world.”

While she was taken aback by the hostility directed at her family because of their decision, Poston maintains that she has no animus toward anyone, even those who have lashed out at her. She is simply acting according to her Bible-based convictions.

This week, two stars of the Beauty and the Beast reboot continued in this vein, jeering those who have taken issue with Disney’s gay character.

Actor Ian McKellen, who plays Cogsworth, the castle steward who was transformed into a clock in the story, said he has become a Disney fan because this version of Beauty and the Beast chose to include a gay character, CBN News reports.

"I'm glad Disney has grown up," McKellen said at the film’s New York City premiere on Monday.

"I love the fact that there's a little gay moment in this movie, you know, here we are in the 21st century,” he continued. “There's a lot of gay people around. Why shouldn't they be in the movie. Just briefly, it's lovely — lovely, lovely color."

McKellen, who is openly homosexual, joked that "Beauty and the Beast" has become "a gay extravaganza," and said those who had spoken out or taken action opposing Disney’s move were "stupid" and "prejudiced."

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Ewan McGregor, who plays Lumiere the candlestick, joked on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert about Christian views of homosexual behavior and took a shot at the drive-in theater owners who chose not to show the film.

"There is a lot of gay sex in this cartoon," he said. "If you live anywhere near Alabama, you should not go see this film. What would Jesus think?"

After Colbert played down the Le Fou characterization, McGregor corrected him, using profanity and going on to say that people need to get with the times.

"He's a gay character!" McGregor said. “It’s 2017 for #*&$ sake!”

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Michael Cook

Opinion

Crazy vegan billboards take over New York: animals are ‘different but equal’

Michael Cook

March 16, 2017 (MercatorNet) -- The concept of “consensus” is used to strong-arm the public into accepting climate change, or gay rights, or transgender bathrooms, or evolution, or the safety of genetically-modified foods, or global warming. Given the power of the consensus on these issues, don’t we need a consensus on whether human beings are radically different from animals?

Because, to judge from a world-wide advertising campaign, a good number of people do not believe that we are.

For four weeks in August and September last year, a gigantic billboard campaign in Times Square in New York promoted veganism – the idea that we should live without animal products of any kind, for cosmetics, footwear, research, entertainment and especially food. The key message was “different but equal” – that animals have exactly the same feelings and relationships as human beings do.

Actor Joaquin Phoenix said that the campaign, “encourages us to consider that our core similarities are far deeper than our surface differences. Now, more than ever, the world needs to hear this message.”

Why now more than ever? When thousands of innocent civilians are dying in wars in central Africa, or drowning in the Mediterranean, or being bombed in Syria, why now more than ever do we need to protect cute-looking animals?

The campaign, run by a vegan outfit called Be Fair Be Vegan has now moved from the Big Apple to the Apple Isle, the Australian state of Tasmania. Once again, the images on billboards in Hobart, the state’s capital, are starkly beautiful in black and white. Many people, especially young students, might find them persuasive.

“They value their lives like we do... we play ... we grieve ... we wonder ... we feel ... we are aware ... we think ... we value our lives ... we raise families ...”

Knowing what animals “think” or “feel” is a notoriously difficult philosophical problem. But it is nothing like human capacity for reasoning. The sheep, turkeys, calves and pigs on the billboards cannot visualise the future, compose music, decide to diet, add 2+2, or lobby for the rights of endangered species.

Protecting animals from brutal treatment in abattoirs or battery farms is not the point. One can support animal welfare without believing that Madagascar is a documentary and not a fantasy. We don’t have to accept cruelty as the price for believing that there is an essential difference between humans and animals.

Paradoxically, the “argument”, such as it is, of the billboards is that if animals look like human beings, they are honorary humans. But where does that leave animals who don’t look like humans? A squid? A rattlesnake? A tarantula? Why aren’t they on the billboards?

Actually one of them is. “Different but equal” are the words at the top of the billboard. Below them are images of a goldfish and a girl aged about three with a huge red equals sign between them. “We value our lives” is the slogan.

Tell me, would you allow the person who created that billboard to babysit your 3-year-old daughter? If she thinks that the life of a child and the life of a goldfish are of equal value, could she be trusted to save the toddler if there is a fire? Mightn’t she empty the fish tank first?

The fact is that people who think that animals should be treated with all the respect and tenderness due to human beings will end up treating human beings like animals.

Reprinted with permission from MercatorNet.

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Michael Cook

Opinion,

LGB vs. T: A crackup is looming in the LGBT community

Michael Cook

March 16, 2017 (MercatorNet) -- Prediction: by 2020, the LGBT acronym will have disappeared. The Ls, the Gs, the Bs, and the Ts will still be with us. But their alliance against the “straight” world will have broken up.

You can already hear the distant boom-boom of breaking ice. The latest absurd episode of LGB versus T took place in the American state of Maine earlier this week at Kennebunk High School. As a feature of its diversity week the school was to be the first in the state to fly the gay pride rainbow flag. But it was hauled down after a trans student complained that it might embarrass other trans students.

Something similar happened last year at the University of British Columbia. A trans woman incinerated a gay pride flag hoisted to celebrate LGBT OutWeek festivities. She later explained that she felt diminished when the university applauded the LGBT community. "Transsexual people do struggle with being marginalized within the LGBT community," said the chair of Vancouver's Trans Alliance Society.

This is not a new idea, either. A couple of years ago, a gay activist wrote a much-criticised column in USA Today which argued that LGBs and Ts should go their separate ways:

Make no mistake, the gay community needs to file for divorce with the trans community. They are no longer working toward the same goals ... Unlike members of the trans community, who are working against their biology and trying to change who they are physically, gay or lesbian people are trying to be nobody but themselves. They are not seeking surgery or hormone treatments. They love the same gender; they don’t want to be a different gender.

Homosexuality represents a mistake about the purpose of sexuality; it is not a mistake about biology. Gays and lesbians affirm and even exaggerate their masculinity and femininity. The claim of transgenders is far more radical. They deny that the sex with which they were born with has any inherent meaning; it is just a matter of choice. So it’s just a matter of time before this marriage of convenience dissolves. The various groups will recognise that they have little in common other than feeling aggrieved by conventional sexual mores.

The hostility felt by some gays and lesbians towards the trans movement is matched or even exceeded by the fury of some feminists. Germaine Greer, the famously profane Australian feminist icon of the 70s and 80s, is fed up. A couple of years ago she was vilified for speaking her mind in a statement to a popular BBC show:

“Just because you lop off your penis and then wear a dress doesn't make you a ******* woman. I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that won’t turn me into a ******* cocker spaniel.

The view of radical feminists is that trans women are living in a world of Barbie doll femininity; they have not suffered under the oppression of the patriarchy and do not deserve to masquerade as women. They were outraged when Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner told Buzzfeed “The hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear” -- not bearing children, raising children, coping with sexism or making ends meet.  

Take, for instance, the eminent BBC presenter Jenni Murray. She was under fire earlier this month over an article she wrote in the Sunday Times Magazine about trans women. She denied being “transphobic”, but said that sex changes cannot turn men into “real women”. (The BBC chastised her for her incendiary remarks – so much for free speech!)

The issue has also split feminist theoreticians. Some scholars feel that trans women are just men colonising femininity. In their eyes, it’s a new strategy of dominance dreamed up by the same old patriarchy that invented glass ceilings. Janice Raymond, the author of a number of well-known feminist books, argues that the transgender movement threatens to unravel feminism:

“If we have to change our bodies in order to challenge gender norms, we are not transcending gender, ie, we are not free from gender. We are exchanging one gendered identity for the other. I think the task of radical feminism is to dismantle gender wherever it rears its hydra-headed appearance.”

If the New York Times is an accurate barometer of cultural trends, then feminism is in danger of being eclipsed by transgender issues, even though 49.6 percent of the world population are women, and only 0.3 percent (if that) are transgender. Wednesday March 8 was International Women’s Day (even Donald Trump tweeted about it), but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the editorial pages of the Times. What did catch the eye was a powerful op-ed column published the day before by Gavin Grimm, the trans boy at the centre of a legal fight in Virginia.

Conservatives are fond of quoting the prophetic words of the poet W.B. Yeats: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” But the first things to fall apart will be the ragtag alliance of opponents of traditional sexual mores and traditional marriage.

Reprinted with permission from MercatorNet.

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Doug Mainwaring

Opinion, , , ,

We are witnessing the death of unconditional love, and the result is catastrophic

Doug Mainwaring

March 15, 2017 (ThePublicDiscourse) -- Like unsuspecting characters in an Agatha Christie novel, we are all witnesses to the commission of a murder still in progress, carried out in slow motion. It is happening so slowly, and its ongoing occurrence is so protracted, so pervasive, and so familiar that we haven’t sensed the magnitude of the violence being done or the loss we’re incurring.

The victim is unconditional love. All of us are witnesses. Most of us are guilty.

Unconditional love is a mighty barrier that stands between each of us and evil encroaching in our minds and relationships. It makes us impervious to temptations to harm those we ought to love, whether family, neighbors, or strangers. When unconditional love is missing, self-centeredness expands and sin rushes in to fill the void, and it is often sin of the very worst kind.

Its presence raises up ordinary people, such as Mother Teresa, or Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, to be true saints, whose lives demonstrate extraordinary, selfless love. Its absence can make a monster of any of us.

The Insidious Reach of Pro-Choice America

As one clear piece of evidence, consider abortion. Abortion’s impact on unconditional love goes beyond the murderous act itself. Its casual acceptance among adults who are parents produces breathtaking, unintended consequences in countless families, robbing children of a sense of personal security and self-worth.

Although it may sound strange, I suspect there is a correlation between this form of parenting and our politically correct generation of snowflakes populating university campuses today. Why do these kids crave safe spaces—utterly impossible, womb-like campus environments—free from contention, from any form of ideological disagreement, and from anything that might trigger unhappy thoughts or unwelcome feelings? Perhaps it’s because they've never actually felt truly safe at home, especially since that day mom informed them she wholeheartedly supports abortion rights. What could be more insidious, more damaging to a young psyche than to know that mom was open to the proposition of ending your existence, banishing you from her womb, limb by limb, and then going on without remorse, as if you’d never existed?

And there may well be another component to this. As parents weed out their “wanted” children from the “unwanted,” discarded ones, they of course end up with fewer children to raise, and so not only more time and attention goes into those not aborted, but higher, unrealistic expectations are foisted on them as well. The kids know it; how could they not? They were chosen to live, so they had better live up to expectations, otherwise they might, at worst, be discarded by mom and dad too at any step along the way, or at best, they might be deemed more worthy of disappointment than love.

Those who are chosen to live also tend to be over-parented, and this too contributes to these children becoming snowflakes.

The point is, the insertion of the acceptance of abortion into any family creates an exceedingly weird dynamic as unconditional love—that which lies at the heart of any flourishing family—is irrevocably ripped out and children are left to suffer the consequences.

For a parent to admit support for abortion to his or her child is a form of child abuse. The admission snuffs out any notion on the child’s part of unconditional love of the parent for the child. Personally, I wouldn't know how to begin to tell my kid, “We aborted your older brother and younger sister, but we kept you.” How does that not erode a strong foundational sense of parental unconditional love?

Our family has been built through adoption. I was agnostic toward abortion until we brought our eldest son home. Abortion was something I had simply never thought much about. That night over twenty years ago, as I rocked our son to sleep for the first time, it occurred to me to be very grateful to his birth mom who chose not to abort him. In the very next moment, I was seized with horror over the realization that millions of boys and girls just like him had been killed in their mother’s wombs, denied the opportunity to take even their first breath. I felt sick to my stomach.

Abortion represents an outright rejection of unconditional love. God creates life, and invites us to participate with him in that work. But for many, children are no longer viewed as a gift from God. Instead, each and every child conceived now falls neatly into one of two categories:

A.) Convenient

B.) Inconvenient

The message to all children, beginning in a special way with millennials, is “You are expendable. You are lucky to be here.” Our throwaway culture has diminished us all more than we know.

Contraception and No-Fault Divorce

The widespread availability of contraception ushered in an age of sexual intercourse without consequence. Unconditional love was taken out of the equation and replaced with immediate, self-serving gratification. Love became inconsequential to sexual relations. With the possibility of procreation and the need for commitment gone, sex went from being a wonderful gift from God and an active participation in his work of creation to a sterile act, devoid of meaning and transcendence.

Likewise, easy, no-fault divorce has played an enormous role in the death of unconditional love. Marriage went from being a permanent, lifelong relationship to a temporary one. Our very high divorce rate signals the fact that as adults, few are capable of unconditional love. By rejecting our wives or husbands, whether we intend to or not, we tear apart our families. What is left is a broken reflection of what once was.

In essence, without using words and often without even intending to do so, we tell our children “My personal needs are far more important than your need for a loving home, nurtured by both Mom and Dad.” Divorce is an abandonment of unconditional love, an abdication of our roles in providing it. Parents who are meant to serve as conduits of God’s unconditional love for our children shut off the flow through divorce.

Again, as with abortion, through separation and divorce unconditional love is abandoned as the dominant quality in a family, and a strange dynamic between parent and child is given space to invade and take over. While abortion might give rise to helicopter parenting, divorce cripples or ends parenting. Parental love may still be present, but it becomes grossly, horrifically distended, like a reflection in a funhouse mirror. No child deserves to see that when they look at mom or dad.

Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage also replaced unconditional love with self-interest and self-love. What begins as an uneasiness with the other in young men or women becomes either outright fear and/or rejection of that which is complementary.

My good friend, the scripture scholar Fr. Francis Martin, once shared the following reflection with me regarding the opening chapters of Genesis:

No one human being exhausts the reality of humanity: There is always the “other” who cannot be reduced to what I am. Man and woman together make up humanity: They are not only “distinct but inseparable realities,” they are also ordained to an ultimate unity that is not that of parts making up a whole, but rather two modes of existing as human that are irreducible to one another—they are identical and different—as they make a third reality, a communion of persons.

Genderless marriage is a suppression and rejection of that which men and women need most, whether they realize it or not. Our souls long for an intimate relationship with one who is “other,” our complement, in order to be whole.

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Our generation is trading the heritage of complementarity for a future of state-enforced genderlessness, undermining our children’s rightful understanding of their own personhood. Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, has articulated a masterful, vivid, easy-to-understand explanation of complementarity:

Every society in the history of the world has seen that yin and yang—the masculine and the feminine—are not limited to humans or even just to animals.

Every language that I know of, except English, has masculine and feminine nouns. The sun is always he; the moon is always she. The day is always he; the night is always she. The water is she; the rocks are he. Most of us today think that’s projection of our own sexuality into the universe. That makes us strangers to the universe.

The shore is the most popular place on earth. Waterfront property is the most expensive property anywhere in the world. Why? Because that’s where the sea and the land meet. That’s where man and woman meet. The land without the sea is kind of boring. Desert. The sea without the land is kind of boring. “When are we going to land the ship?”

But the place where they meet—that’s where all the action is. And that’s where we want to be.

And whether all of us who are same-sex attracted, all who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered realize it or not, that is where we want to be. That is where we are born to be.

That is where we are drawn but often resist. By enacting same-sex marriage, we are making ourselves strangers to the cosmos. We are creating a sterile, synthetic environment isolated from the rest of the universe. We are impoverishing ourselves. Engaging in genderless marriage keeps the same-sex attracted from experiencing and expressing the riches of unconditional love.

No same-sex couple can reproduce without extraordinary medical and scientific interventions. Male mono-gendered couples can’t get around the fact that they need to acquire eggs and employ a female surrogate. Female mono-gendered couples can’t escape the fact that they need to obtain sperm, either through friendly donation or by visiting a sperm bank.

As a result, children produced for same-sex couples are being commodified. Obtained only through truly complex, non-normal means—namely, the buying and selling of genetic material and the renting of wombs—children become little more than chattel. Today, it’s considered normal for adults to assert their right to obtain a child for their own personal fulfillment through any means possible.

Love Never Ends

Alice Miller, in her acclaimed 1994 book, The Drama of the Gifted Child, tells us:

Far too many of us had to learn as children to hide our own feelings, needs, and memories skillfully in order to meet our parents’ expectations and win their “love.” . . .

When I used the word “gifted” in the title, I had in mind neither children who receive high grades in school nor children talented in a special way. I simply meant all of us who have survived an abusive childhood thanks to an ability to adapt even to unspeakable cruelty by becoming numb. . . . Without this “gift” offered us by nature, we would not have survived.

The abusive childhoods to which Miller refers are the nearly universal experience of every child. We proponents and enjoyers of the sexual revolution were, as children, some of its first collateral damage. Now we put our own children at risk.

In this revolution, some of us have been perpetrators. All of us are victims.

Thankfully, unconditional love is not yet dead. It never will be, as long as it is practiced by some who fight for it, who swim against the tide. But as a quality of our culture and in many lives, it barely has a pulse. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have God’s unconditional love available to each of us, and in turn, we can become conduits of that love:

[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. . . . (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Doug Mainwaring is a marriage and children’s rights activist. Doug can be reached at [email protected] 

Republished with permission from The Public Discourse. 

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Niamh Ui Bhriain

Opinion

Fake news: There was no pro-abortion ‘strike’ for repeal in Ireland

Niamh Ui Bhriain

DUBLIN, Ireland, March 16, 2017 (LifeInstitute) — In the past week, the international media have rushed to report, with breathless approval, on a supposed ‘strike’ for legalised abortion which was meant to have taken place in Ireland last Wednesday.

The Huffington Post, BBC, Buzzfeed and others talked excitedly about ‘thousands going on strike’ and claimed that the country was brought to a standstill because so many people went on strike to call for repeal of the 8th amendment, Ireland’s constitutional provision which protects the right to life of both mother and preborn child.

But, of course, as everyone now knows, there’s news, and then there’s fake news. So here’s the real news.

There was no ‘strike for repeal.' It simply didn’t happen.

Instead, what happened was that an ordinary, run-of-the-mill, pro-abortion protest — attended mostly by professional campaigners and students — was dressed up as a ‘strike’ in order to create the impression that Ireland was on the verge of major unrest because people were angry with our pro-life laws.

Everyone understands what a strike is: the word has an actual meaning: it means work stoppages and industrial action. It involves people in a workplace or workplaces acting collectively and refusing to work, taking the risk of defying the wishes of their employer, and suffering a loss of pay.

However, Irish abortion campaigners, being aware that almost no one would actually support a real strike in support of legalised abortion, just asked people to ‘take a day off work’ or to ‘wear black’ or to make some vague symbolic gesture in favour of repealing the right to life of preborn babies.

Taking a day off work is not a strike. That’s the first blindingly obvious point any self-respecting journalist would have put to the organisers, but this is the mainstream media, and this is abortion, so the rule is not to ask any awkward questions, or to point out the obvious. Instead, the media all dutifully and enthusiastically wrote up the fake ‘strike’ news.

A month of free media publicity, with helpful links to websites and starting times and dates, was duly carved out for this pro-abortion day of action, with lots of (unintentionally) hilarious videos of spooky characters forecasting ruination and desolation if an abortion referendum was not granted before the Big Day Of Action on March 8th.

(Irish abortion campaigners are extraordinarily flush with cash, because of millions coming in from U.S. billionaires like Chuck Feeney and George Soros to fund the push against Ireland’s pro-life culture.)

Still, as expected by everyone who wasn’t living in a media bubble, the pretend ‘strike’ turned out to be a damb squib.  

According to the Irish Times, a paper so devoted to repealing the 8th amendment that it is becoming known as the National Abortion Campaign Daily, only 1,000 people turned out at the lunchtime protest. Photographs of the gathering show that they were mostly students, and, when I was in college, skipping out of lectures was universally known as being on the doss, rather than being on strike.

The protestors assembled on O’Connell Bridge in Dublin, where roadworks were already filling most of the space, and made a half-hearted attempt to stop traffic for a short period of time. That evening, the Irish Times reported, the much-heralded march for abortion, which took place that evening in support of the pretend strike, only attracted some 2,000 people.

(Even the Irish branch of the world’s biggest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, didn’t go on ‘strike.’ Comrades, what are you like? )

So another day, another fake news story on abortion, but there’s a change in the air that even the media are finding hard to ignore.

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The most recent Edelsman Trust barometer shows that the media is distrusted globally, and in Ireland only 29 percent of people have trust in the media, an all-time low since the poll began 17 years ago.  In this instance, thanks to social media, and the evidence of their own eyes, people can see that there was no strike for abortion. And people are increasingly questioning why the media are less than honest about the strike — or about abortion in general.

That’s leading to many people looking for answers elsewhere, and so, for the past 18 months we’ve been training and organising thousands of activists to go door-to-door with us on the Life Canvass – the biggest and most effective grassroots campaign yet seen on this issue in Ireland, and we’re changing hearts and minds by sharing stories and information with ordinary people every day.

The results are making abortion campaigners and their media allies nervous, with support for full repeal of the 8th falling by a significant percentage in the past year.

We’ll keep at it, and while they are busy inventing fake news and pretend strikes, we’ll stay busy protecting mother and baby by raising up the pro-life majority to vote to save the 8th.

 

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Bishop Sorondo in between Ban Ki Moon and Pope Francis
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Opinion, ,

ON TAPE: Did this bishop just reveal the real reason he invites pro-abort extremists to the Vatican?

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ANALYSIS

ROME, March 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- The bishop tasked by Pope Francis with running the Vatican’s organization for promoting science has flipped St. Thomas Aquinas' moral principle of "double effect" on its head, stating in an interview that it means that if the “positive effect [of an action] is greater than the negative effect, then you can do it.”

This novel interpretation (at face value, indistinguishable from the moral heresy of consequentialism) just might provide the key to understanding why this bishop has a consistent track record of inviting enemies of the Church to conferences he oversees who openly advocate for contraception, abortion, and coercive population control, evils condemned by the Church.

Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo made the comment in the context of defending a Vatican-run conference he oversaw where pro-contraception-and-abortion population controllers spoke about saving the world from humans. Sorondo, from Argentina and a close advisor of the Pope, is the Chancellor for both the Pontifical Academy of Sciences as well as the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

RELATED: One man, close to the pope, responsible for so much evil in the Vatican

During an interview with Jan Bentz for LifeSiteNews Sorondo downplayed the significance of pro-abortion population controllers such as Paul Ehrlich (who even supports forced abortion) and John Bongaarts addressing the conference.

He defended the invitations, saying that the pontifical academy “hears all voices” and has to “dialogue with everyone.” 

“An academy has to listen to all voices. Our academics are not even Catholics. The president is not Catholic,” he said. (Critics, however, have pointed to the conspicuous absence of faithful Catholic voices at the conference.)

Sorondo specifically defended Ehrlich’s invitation, saying, “He is a specialist in these things. That’s why we invited him, because he is a specialist in these things. He wrote a bunch of books on that, so he is a specialist.” 

When pressed about why the academy invited enemies of the Church who promote a vision of the human person and of the world that is at odds with Catholic teaching, Sorondo became agitated. Instead of answering the questions, he attempted to belittle the questioner’s “rational” capacity before putting him on the spot with his own question.

LifeSite: [Ehrlich] himself has written about his agenda, that he wants sterilization [to decrease the population]. […]

Sorondo: You have to change your criteria if you want to progress in life. You need to dialogue with all cultures of the world, as the Pope said. […] And we have reached agreements that are very important. [Our partners] want to defend human liberty, human life, and peace against the new forms of slavery. And thanks to the invitation of people that your [pro-life-and-pro-family] people don’t want us to invite — [such as] Ban Ki-Moon, Geoffrey Sachs — we have achieved what those who defend the family always talk about but never achieve at all.

We, on the other hand, have achieved…that the new objectives for sustainable development…we established target 8.6 [sic, it’s actually 8.7], that is to eradicate the new forms of slavery. And that is more important for the family than all that stuff that they do.

Understand?

LifeSite: Ok, Ok. 

Sorondo: You have to understand that. It is important that you understand that. You are a rational human being and reason must come before prejudices.

LifeSite: Well, I also have a doctorate in philosophy, so…

Sorondo: In what philosophy?

LifeSite: St. Thomas…

Sorondo: So, with reason, St. Thomas spoke about the principle of the “double effect.” What is it?

LifeSite: It’s when a certain action has an effect which the agent of the action had not intended, then this [second] effect, for example, does not fall under a moral judgement.

Sorondo:  Well, that’s a complicated way of saying it. It is easier to say that if an action has two effects, if the positive effect is greater than the negative effect, then you can do it.

LifeSite: No, that’s not the principle of double effect.

Sorondo: Then you have not understood the principle of the double effect. [...] You have to form your mind. And you have to understand St. Thomas better.

The ethical formula of “double effect,” attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas, enables one to evaluate the moral dimensions of an action that has two effects, one good and one evil, and to do the good action with moral certitude even though it might have an unintended consequence. In this way, according to Aquinas, killing in self-defense is morally justified.

Catholic moral theology has established specific guidelines when using the principle of double effect, including that: the intended action must be good in itself, the bad effect that results from the act may be foreseen but must not be intended, the good effect must not be brought about by using morally evil means, the good effect must be of equal or greater proportion to any evil effect which would result, and acts that have morally negative effects are permissible only when truly necessary, that is, when there are no other means by which the good may be obtained.

Sorondo’s understanding of the principle of double effect is concerning given the contraception and abortion advocates he has invited to speak at Vatican-run conferences. Some of the most prominent include:

• Paul Ehrlich: The author of the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb spoke at the February Biological Extinction conference. He has defended forced abortion, contraception, and mass forced sterilization as legitimate methods to decrease the world’s population.

Ban Ki Moon: The United Nations Secretary General spoke at the April 2015 “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity” PAS conference. Ki Moon promotes the so-called “right” to abortion worldwide and has criticized the lack of “safe abortion” in in conflict zones where it is illegal.

Jeffrey Sachs: The Director of the Earth Institute also spoke at the same conference as Ki Moon. Sachs is an international proponent of population control and abortion. He called legalized abortion a cost-effective way to eliminate “unwanted children” when contraception fails, in his 2008 book Commonwealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet. He has described abortion as a “lower-risk and lower-cost option” than bringing a new human life to the world.

John Bongaarts: The vice president of the Population Council also spoke at the Biological Extinction conference. Bongaarts, who also champions population control, told the conference that women need “access to birth control” to reduce fertility.

Applying Sorondo’s misunderstanding of the principle of double effect, one could argue that if decreasing the world’s population is viewed as a “positive effect” that has the “negative effect” of using contraception and abortion as a means of doing so, then “you can do it” since the positive effect is “greater than” the negative effect.

But is it possible that a Catholic bishop at the Vatican could be trying to move the Church towards accepting contraception, or even relaxing its teaching against abortion for the sake of a so-called greater good of preserving the earth?

Unfortunately, under Francis’ pontificate it seems that anything is possible. Sorondo has gone as far as to say that Francis’ declarations on the gravity of global warming as expressed in the encyclical Laudato Si’ are “magisterial” teaching that are equivalent to the Church’s condemnation of other grave evils.

And to make matters worse, Sorondo admitted at the Biological Extinction conference that he does not “know exactly what is the doctrine of the Church – we know some part but not all the doctrine of the Church about the question of the fecundity.”

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Pro-abort population controller ‘thrilled’ with direction Francis is taking Church

Those were his actual words, coming from a bishop who has been appointed by Pope Francis to head two Vatican pontifical academies. If he does not know what the Church teaches about fertility and procreation, then why has he been given positions of responsibility and influence within the Church’s pontifical academies that deal with this topic?

There is a saying that birds of a feather flock together. And Sorondo is flocking with contraception and abortion advocates Ki Moon, Sachs, Ehrlich, Bongaarts, and others. And speaking of sayings about birds, there is another: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

If someone consistently associates with pro-contraception-and-abortion population controllers, if he consistently gives them a platform at the conferences he oversees, if he even uses some of the same talking points they use to justify their position, can he — or anyone else — rationally deny that he is one of them?

How many more conferences must there be where Sorondo gives the Church’s enemies prominent platforms before it can be said that Sorondo himself is no friend of the Church and must be removed from his influential post?

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‘Beastliness’: Former pro-family author trashes Christians for boycotting Beauty and the Beast over gay scene

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March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Former pro-life and pro-family columnist and broadcaster Michael Coren threw a tantrum in a CBC opinion piece last week when he vilified Christians for boycotting Disney’s Beauty and the Beast because of its promotion of the LGBT agenda. 

Coren slammed Christians for what he called their “manic homophobia” that “informs and infects what goes on within much of the Christian right in the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, in Canada.”

He called the boycotters “bigots” who “prefer to perceive the world in banal caricatures” where they must oppose “bathroom bills,” force teens into “conversion therapy,” and engage in “bullying and beatings” of people they disagree with. 

“Problem is, those banal caricatures lead, in real life, not to harmless beauty but to dreadful and sometimes fatal beastliness,” he wrote. 

How dare this man who says he is Christian mock and belittle parents for what they choose to have as an influence on their kids. Not that anyone who knows Coren would take his words seriously. A few years ago, Coren abandoned the Catholic Church because he could no longer see truth in her teachings defending life as well as marriage between a man and woman. 

Coren, who once wrote beautifully in defense of marriage, life, and family, has now prostituted out his talents to the highest bidder who will publish his diatribes. He especially loves deriding Christians who hold God’s definition of marriage as expressed in the Bible. He has even gone as low as defending abortion. How true it is that the corruption of the best is the worst. 

In Coren’s warped worldview, it’s just fine for a parent to destroy her preborn child because of the circumstances of that baby’s conception. But if a parent decides to protect her child from a negative influence in a film, then suddenly she is a “bigot” and a “beast.”

But, of course, Coren thinks that it’s perfectly natural and normal for two men or two women to be sexually attracted to each other, to become “married,” to masturbate with one another, and to adopt and raise children. And Christians who faithfully follow the Bible and who agree with science that it takes both a mother and a father to properly raise a child have no place in his worldview. 

And speaking about the Bible, here’s something telling: As Coren goes out of his way to bash Bible-believing Christians who see a problem with a film containing blatant homosexual indoctrination, the film’s director admitted in a 2012 interview with Passport Magazine that he has a fetish to “rip pages out of the Bible” when he enters hotel rooms. See any similarity?

Christian parents have every right to boycott a film they think might harm their children. 

Who can blame parents who believe in real marriage for not wanting their children to experience what the film’s director called an “exclusively gay moment” in the Disney movie?

Tell Disney 'NO' to the LGBT agenda in Beauty and the Beast. Sign the boycott pledge here

Director Bill Condon ignited controversy earlier this month when he disclosed in an interview that the Le Fou character would exhibit same-sex attraction toward the character of Gaston.

"Le Fou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," he said, adding that the homosexual subplot leads up to a “nice, exclusively gay moment.” 

According to a report by The Charlotte Observer’s Lawrence Toppman, there are two homosexual moments in the film. The first comes when “a young man whirls into the surprised Le Fou’s arms, and they dance happily away together” and a bit later in that number, Le Fou “spins across the room and lands on the reclining Gaston’s lap, wrapping Gaston’s arms around him.”

Of course, Christian parents don’t want their children being exposed to blatant homosexual propaganda. 

They don’t want their kids wondering if perhaps it’s OK for two men to have a romantic relationship together. And parents certainly don’t want their children exposed to the insinuation of a homosexual lap dance. Gross. 

The real “beast” here is surely not the parents who are being hit over the head from a bully pulpit by someone who doesn’t agree with how they’re raising their kids.

The “fatal beastliness” that Coren says he sees in Christian parents is really coming out from his own pen as he derides them for their beliefs. Maybe it's time for Coren to stand in front of a mirror big enough so he can notice the giant redwood in his own eye.

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Questioned as to whether she thinks dismemberment abortion is "inhumane", representative from ACLU said, "No. No I do not."
Michele Hendrickson

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ACLU admits they think dismembering someone is ‘humane’

Michele Hendrickson

March 16, 2017 (StudentsforLife) -- This is a good news bad news situation.

Let’s start with the bad news:

There are still people out there who wholeheartedly believe that tearing apart a young living human’s body, limb from limb, is OK. They are so accepting of this barbaric practice that they will testify in front of a State House saying so.

Take this person for example: Rachelle Yeung, Public Policy Counsel for the ACLU of Maryland.  She, along with the entire Maryland State House of Delegates, watched a former abortionist’s explanation and reenactment of a D&E abortion.  Something that made the entire room look up from their cell phones and left everyone in shock.  Everyone, that is, except for representatives from NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU.

After Ms. Young’s brief and detached testimony in opposition of a bill that would protect living human beings from the suffering endured by dismemberment the womb, she was questioned as to whether she considers the procedure “inhumane”.  Her answer? “No.  No I do not.”

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW:

This is what a dismemberment abortion looks like using medical diagrams:

But wait!  The good news:

Those opposing life-saving legislation were in the minority. Three pro-abortion representatives, whose entire job description is to lobby and testify in the Maryland General Assembly, showed up to give basic and unemotional testimony.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

In comparison, TEN supporters of the Dismemberment Abortion Ban showed up including: a student leader from Huntingtown High School, a physician, a mom who delivered her son at 26 weeks (when dismemberment abortions are currently legal), two women who shared personal stories of how the abortion industry betrayed them, and myself, representing the pro-life generation in Maryland.

We were a powerful force. I was honored to work alongside bold delegates, passionate professionals, and student leaders who are bringing real change to Maryland.

You can watch my testimony here:

If you are in Maryland and would like to support our future efforts in changing the culture for LIFE, please contact me: [email protected]

Reprinted with permission from Students for Life.

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

The Pulse

Why does this Vatican bishop include the rainbow in his coat of arms?

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Screenshot of www.vincenzopaglia.it. Screenshot of www.vincenzopaglia.it.
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Archbishop Paglia depicted in the painting he commissioned.
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The coat of arms of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia

Update on March 17, 2017: Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia is a member of the Communita Sant' Egidio and that design on his coat of arms – dove flying before a rainbow – is actually the symbol of that organization, which has existed since the late 1960s. The obvious reference is to the story of Noah. 


March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The archbishop who had himself featured in a homoerotic painting he commissioned gives the rainbow a prominent spot in the center of his coat of arms.

The rainbow coat of arms belongs to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who used to run the Pontifical Council for the Family and now heads the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. 

Paglia is the archbishop behind the controversial Vatican sex-ed program "The Meeting Point." The curriculum has been criticized for its ultra-sexual photos. It leaves out parents and mortal sin.

The homoerotic painting that Paglia commissioned was painted by a homosexual artist. In the painting, a shirtless Paglia in his bishops' skullcap is pictured tenderly embracing another nude man as Jesus carries them up in a giant net to heaven. The nets Jesus is lifting to heaven contain people who have committed various sins for which the painting suggests they show no remorse. In this painting, the outline of the Christ figure's genitals is visible through a translucent cloth - contrary to the Catholic artistic tradition.

Paglia also recently praised a prominent abortion and same-sex "marriage" campaigner. This, combined with the homoerotic painting, led a coalition of Italian pro-life and pro-family groups to start a petition asking him to resign or be removed

When he was head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Paglia oversaw the publication of a book embracing the “Kasper proposal” to admit to Holy Communion those living in what the Church considers an active state of adultery.

The coat of arms is featured at the top of Paglia's personal webpage, www.vincenzopaglia.it. The Diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia, of which he used to be a bishop, links to Paglia's personal website page under his section on their website. The shield is published on what appears to be Paglia's flickr page.

The coat of arms is also available at Wikipedia Commons, where it is attributed to Paglia.

The rainbow is a biblical sign of hope, but has in recent years been used as a symbol of the LGBT movement. 

With which is Archbishop Paglia trying to associate himself?

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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

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Washington Post: Defunding Planned Parenthood means ‘thousands more babies’

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Content from the Washington Post on Snapchat, with a friend's reaction. Is this supposed to be scary?

March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – According to a Washington Post story and Snapchat promotion, if Planned Parenthood is defunded America needs to brace for "several thousand more babies."

If Planned Parenthood is defunded, many women will be "without services to help them avoid pregnancy, resulting in thousands of additional births," according to the article, which cited the Congressional Budget Office's new report on Obamacare replacement legislation.

(The article makes no mention of the widespread availability of condoms in virtually every CVS and Walmart in the country – and all the health departments, schools, and leftist groups that hand them out for free.) 

"Anti-abortion advocates zeroed in on the expectation that more babies would be born, which struck them as reason to celebrate," the article continued. (Ya think?)

If Planned Parenthood isn't defunded, how many babies will we be missing because they were aborted?

The Washington Post's new motto is "democracy dies in darkness." Well, so do hundreds of thousands of preborn babies every year at Planned Parenthood.

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