All articles from May 12, 2017


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Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

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Pro-family crusader defends the unborn at UN event on Fatima: Don’t forget ‘children in the womb’

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

UNITED NATIONS, New York, May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The United Nations must pay attention to “children in the womb,” a pro-life advocate told a UN official at a Friday panel on Fatima.

Stefano Gennarini’s comment to Marta Santos Pais, UN special representative for the secretary-general on violence against children, triggered a burst of spontaneous applause from the 550-plus people packing the auditorium.

“So my plea especially to Marta Santos is that let’s pay attention to also children in the womb,” said Gennarini, who is with the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam).

“They also cry, they also feel pain, their heart is beating. We also need to pay attention to them, and cry for them.”

The Portuguese Santos Pais was one of several panelists at the Fatima event, co-sponsored by the UN Holy See and Portugal missions.

It marked May 13, the day the Virgin Mary first appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.

On Saturday, Pope Francis will be in Fatima to canonize two of the three visionaries, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, who were seven and nine years of age when Our Lady appeared to them and their cousin, Lucia Santos.

Over six monthly apparitions, she asked the children to fast and pray for the conversion of sinners, and foretold catastrophic events, including the Russian Bolshevik revolution and World War II.

Johnnette Benkovic of Women of Grace on EWTN was also on the panel, which discussed the “enduring relevance” of Fatima’s “message of peace.”

Benkovic mentioned Mother Teresa when explaining the “genius of women” to bring peace.

“I also want to thank Johnnette for bringing in Mother Teresa,” Gennarini said in the question period.

Mother Teresa “spoke of a powerful message of peace,” he said.

“She would always say, including here at the United Nations, that the greater destroyer of peace in the world today is abortion.”

In her talk, Santos Pais lauded the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals but didn’t mention these include the promotion of “sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

In order to free children from violence, it was necessary “to have safe, inclusive, relevant and empowering quality education,” and to invest in “creating protection services and institutions and awareness in society that can help to enhance in achieving such a goal,” Santos Pais said.

Gennarini spoke about the importance of Fatima for those in pro-life apostolate.

“The last we learnt about the message of Fatima from Sister Lucia was in a letter handwritten to Cardinal [Carlo] Caffarra,” which is in the Vatican archives, he said.

Sr. Lucia wrote “that the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.”

Lucia added, “encouraging us all, don’t be afraid,” Gennarini  said. “Because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will alway be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.”

Her letter “concludes, however, Our Lady has already crushed its head,” Gennarini said.

“I just thought this was a very encouraging message for all of us.”

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Cecile Richards, CEO Planned Parenthood.
Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

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Planned Parenthood president stands up to Trump: ‘We will never give up’ abortion

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

NEW YORK, New York, May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood Federation President Cecile Richards spelled out for a women’s gathering this week that the nation’s largest abortion chain is not planning to loosen its clutch on legalized abortion on demand.

Richards was honored at the New York Women’s Foundation 30th Anniversary Celebrating Women Breakfast held this week in Manhattan.

In her remarks, Richards alluded to "thousands of clinicians and escorts and doctors and staff who got up this morning and walked through picket lines all across this country to provide healthcare to women in America, including safe and legal abortion. And we will never give that up."

She also thanked Planned Parenthood’s customer base.

The honorees all spoke of the common theme of optimism, Elle reported.

Still, there was an apparent predisposition toward abortion and the same radical feminist element displayed at the pro-abortion protest that occurred in January in Washington, D.C. Numerous other liberal movements had jumped in to take advantage of the abortion industry having planned that event.

Elle’s coverage on the women’s breakfast event Thursday spoke of “a government seemingly hell bent on stripping away rights from women, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and the LGBTQ community.” And said of the event, “the message was clear: We refuse to be pessimistic, but we also refuse to back down.”

There was also a nod to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a fervent abortion supporter.

In her opening address for the event, New York Women’s Foundation Honorary Chair Abigail Disney proposed a future where she can "wear a pin saying 'I Voted For Hillary's Daughter.'" The comments received great applause.

Richards told the gathering that women, as always, have led the resistance.

"The day that speaker Paul Ryan announced that he was going to not only repeal the ACA but start blocking the millions of patients from coming to Planned Parenthood, you could not get a call into Congress," she said. "And one of the studies I've read has said that of the thousands of calls going into Congress to resist, 86 percent are being made by women."

Richards urged women in attendance to keep calling their representatives, going to town hall meetings, and supporting women-run organizations.

She closed by saying of the fight to keep abortion legal, “"We've got an enormously long road ahead of us, but we are doing this with joy and love."

Richards has sent the same message of refusal to give up her organization’s abortion business in previous comments.

When President Trump offered to work to maintain, or possibly increase Planned Parenthood’s millions of dollars in annual federal funding if the abortion behemoth would cease performing abortion, Richards said the proposal was "obscene and insulting."

 

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Fr. Mark Hodges

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Target launches gay pride products: We ‘proudly stand with the LGBT community’

Fr. Mark Hodges
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May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Target stores are promoting a gay pride line of products dubbed "Take Pride" despite facing huge losses from a boycott against the company's transgender bathroom policy.

The retailer is merchandising the gay agenda for the second year in a row, with rainbow-adorned shirts, pants, shorts, swim trunks, iPhone cases, and other items honoring Gay "Pride Month" in June.

The gay-affirming merchandise is accompanied by a promotional flyer with the promise: "For each PRIDE item sold, Target will donate 50 percent of the purchase price to GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network)."

When Target began its "Take Pride" line of merchandise, the company issued a statement:  

"We’re making our message loud and clear: Target proudly stands with the LGBT community … through all that we do," Laysha Ward, Target’s executive vice president and chief corporate responsibility officer, boasted. She cited gay demonstration "volunteer efforts" and "partnerships" with homosexual groups such as the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network "to the very products we carry in our stores and online."

Target's "Take Pride" promotional campaign follows a controversial transgender bathroom policy allowing men to use women's restrooms, changing rooms, intimate facilities, and vice versa. The corporate giant also eliminated all gender references in its toy and bedding departments, taking down "boys" and "girls" signs to support gender fluidity.  

In 2015, Target signed a "friend of the court" supporting homosexual "marriage." Their commercial for a “Made to Matter” line of products featured two gay men painting with a child.

The homosexual-affirming policies resulted in a massive boycott (#BoycottTarget, #FlushTarget) of the retailer by an estimated 1.5 million customers and declining Target stock value.

The transgender bathroom policy also resulted in complaints of sex offenses in Target changing rooms and bathrooms in California, Idaho, New Hampshire, Oregon, Texas, Washington state, and Ontario. 

The American Family Association (AFA) noted that dramatically declining sales and stock value forced Target to cancel expansion plans, fire five top executives, and cut CEO Brian Cornell's salary by one-third.

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Oklahoma state Rep. Chuck Strohm
Fr. Mark Hodges

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Oklahoma House: Abortion is murder and must become illegal

Fr. Mark Hodges

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Oklahoma House of Representatives adopted a resolution this week stating that abortion is "murder" and is to be opposed by state leaders.

In the resolution, state lawmakers direct "every public official in Oklahoma … to exercise their authority to stop (the) murder of unborn children by abortion." They also direct Oklahoma judges not to interfere with efforts to protect pre-born children.

House Resolution 1004, which had 20 Republican sponsors, was introduced by Republican Rep. Chuck Strohm, R-Jenks. It does not carry the weight of law but is regarded as a statement of official policy.

Officials whom the resolution seeks to enforce the protection of innocent human life include "sheriffs, district attorneys, judges and justices, the (state) Attorney General and the Governor."

In its preliminary "Whereas" section, the resolution grounds its authority in that "all human life is protected by God's law and the highest laws of the land."  

Legislators cite the Declaration of Independence affirmation that "all human beings are created in the image of God, and are thus endowed by their Creator with the unalienable right to life."  

The resolution further cites the U.S. Constitution that "no state shall deprive any human being of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness without due process of law."

Also in its "Whereas" section, the statement points out that "the Supreme Court of the United States overstepped its authority" when it Constitutionalized abortion-on-demand throughout all 50 states.

Strohm told the media that the U.S. Supreme Court violated “every act of decency and law” and abused the Constitution when it “forc(ed) the murder of unborn children on our society.”

A copy of the resolution is to be given to "the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate of each state's legislature, and each member of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation."

Oklahoma has a three-day waiting period for abortion and an informed consent law. Nevertheless, the state pays for abortions in cases of rape or incest or if a mother's health is in danger.

View the resolution here.

 

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Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signs a bill banning 'conversion therapy.'
Peter LaBarbera Peter LaBarbera Follow Peter

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Connecticut bans therapy for children with unwanted gay attractions

Peter LaBarbera Peter LaBarbera Follow Peter

May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Connecticut became the sixth state in the nation to ban pro-heterosexual therapy for minors, after not a single Republican (or Democrat) in the state Senate voted against the bill, which Gov. Dannel Malloy signed into law.

Gov. Malloy, a pro-LGBTQ Democrat, rushed to sign the so-called "conversion therapy ban" bill at a ceremony in his office at the Capitol, in what the Hartford Courant called "his fastest bill signing in seven years."

The bill, SB 6695, “prohibits health care providers or anyone else engaged in trade or commerce from providing conversion therapy.” That term is used and promoted by LGBT and liberal activists to denigrate pro-heterosexual therapy, often called “reparative therapy.” Most media use the politicized “conversion” term.

In signing the bill, the governor said, "This is supported by the science. It's supported by our cultural awakening and awareness that we are a society of many different players and very different folks, and we shouldn't try to make everyone just like us,” he said, according to the Hartford Courant.

“We should recognize that some people are simply not us, but that doesn't make them bad and it certainly doesn't make them mentally ill — and it certainly should not subject them, anyone, to therapies that we know don't work and aren't supported by science,” he said. 

No Senate Republicans voted no

The Connecticut Senate voted 36-0 to approve the bill and the state House voted 141-8 to pass it — stunning landslides considering that Republicans made historic gains in both houses riding the coattails of Donald Trump in November.

One former homosexual, Greg Quinlan, called the liberal rush to ban "heterosexual therapy" for minors "hysteria."

“There is no real evidence of reparative therapy doing any harm,” said Quinlan, founder and president of the Garden State Families, adding that claims by LGBT activists of therapeutic “coercion” are unfounded. “There is no electric shock, there are no IVs to induce vomiting. It’s talk therapy, like any other therapy.”

“Connecticut’s politicians succumbed to lies from the homosexual agenda,” he said. “They are pandering to the homosexual political left.”

Homosexual molestation victims “raped again,” says Doyle

Another ex-“gay” man, Christopher Doyle, a licensed therapist himself and co-coordinator the National Task Force for Therapy Equality, said Connecticut lawmakers effectively re-victimized sexually abused minors through their lopsided vote.

While gay activists continue to get cheap victories in liberal states like Connecticut, the ones that are losing are vulnerable young people who are conflicted and confused about their sexual and gender identity, some of whom arrived at their confusion due to sexual molestation,” said Doyle, who has fought liberal bans against reparative therapy across the country.

“So now, the state has raped them again: first, at the hands of their abusers, and second, at the hands of ignorant politicians who know nothing about mental health or the young people whom they are supposedly protecting,” he said.

A recent meta-analysis in the journal The New Atlantis by leading psychiatric scholars Lawrence Mayer, Ph.D, and Dr. Paul McHugh found that “compared to heterosexuals, non-heterosexuals are about two to three times as likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse.”

“Instead of protecting the rights of minors, these politicians are lining their pockets with political kickbacks from gay activists. Shame on them!” said the Virginia-based Doyle, who also heads up the ex-“gay” group Equality and Justice for All.

Meanwhile, homosexual and “transgender” activists celebrated SB 6695’s enactment.

“The reason that Connecticut is taking this step is really the confluence of evidence about this treatment,” said Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, reported the CTPost. Sen. Bye is “a lesbian who cited that 40 organizations, including all mental-health professionals, supported the legislation,” according to the report.

CT Catholic Conference AWOL

Connecticut now becomes the sixth state to ban pro-heterosexual therapy for minors, joining California, Vermont, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico and the District of Columbia.

LifeSiteNews spoke with several grassroots pro-family activists involved in opposing this legislation. Most were disappointed that the Connecticut Catholic Conference did not play a leading role in fighting against it.

According to several sources, some speaking on background, the Catholic Conference barely resisted SB 6695, putting forth no direct lobby effort in the Capitol and getting involved only in the last couple of days before its passage to attempt to ensure that it did not undermine religious freedom.

A call seeking comment from the Connecticut Catholic Conference was not returned.

CJ Doyle, chairman of the Boston-based Catholic Action League, told LifeSiteNews that “as a general matter, the [Catholic] Church has been very tepid in resisting the homosexual agenda. Unfortunately, while they’re still willing to take a strong position against abortion, they’re weak on homosexuality.”

Doyle extended the reluctance to oppose the LGBTQ agenda to the Republicans and politicians in general.

“The liberals are aggressive and malevolent,” he said. “The conservatives run for cover. … It’s pretty obvious who’s going to prevail here.”

He said the anti-heterosexual-therapy law demonstrates the “totalitarian” tendencies of the homosexual-transgender movement: “This intrudes into the parent-child relationship,” he said, “another characteristic of totalitarian societies.

Pro-gender-confusion ‘transgender” therapy OK

The new Connecticut law defines "Conversion therapy" as “any practice or treatment administered to a person under 18 years of age that seeks to change the person's sexual orientation or gender identity, including, but not limited to, any effort to change gender expression or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward persons of the same gender.”

Notably, the law states that "’conversion therapy’ does not include counseling intended to … assist a person undergoing gender transition,” and as well as other LGBT-affirming interventions.

One group that did fight SB 6695 head on was Mass Resistance. Bill Brown, a Connecticut activist affiliated with MR, hand-delivered informational sheets opposing the LGBTQ bill.

“Bill HB 6695 is deceptively and dishonestly titled An Act Concerning the Protection of Youth from Conversion Therapy. In fact, it puts vulnerable kids in danger – to support a radical ideology. It would make it illegal for licensed therapists to help children deal with traumatic issues leading to homosexual or transgender behavior,” said the Mass Resistance flier.

“Homosexual and transgender behavior in children is very often a result of early sexual trauma such as sexual molestation, rape, exposure to pornography, abuse, or serious issues with one or both parents. Victimized youth can become further traumatized and even suicidal,” the MR flier states. “Skilled mental health professionals can often help them heal their severe emotional wounds and work through these issues. For many, it is literally a lifesaver.”

Brown told LifeSiteNews that he believes so few Republicans voted against the bill as part of a Senate strategy — which he disagrees with — of “playing it safe so they don’t look mean so they can get one more Republican senator in the next election.”

The Connecticut Senate is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats for the first time in decades.

Mass Resistance national founder and president Brian Camenker told LifeSiteNews that “Connecticut is unusual. There are lot of liberal states where this type of legislation has been killed,” noting it has been defeated twice in his own deep-blue state of Massachusetts.

Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, like Doyle, said SB 6695  was a “solution in search of a problem,” since "we had not been able to identify a single program in CT that would be outlawed by the bill.”

Wolgang favored an approach of amending the legislation to limit its potential to undermine religious freedom in other areas.

FIC challenged proponents of SB 6695 to “name the religious ministries in Connecticut that do conversion therapy, name the licensed professionals in Connecticut that supposedly practice conversion therapy, that are the targets of this bill. We don’t believe their claims that this exists in Connecticut.”

Doyle said, “During the entire legislative session, our Task Force could not find one licensed practitioner that actually worked with youth in any way remotely close to what the liberal-dominated legislature described. But that didn't stop them from banning a practice called ‘conversion therapy.’"

He said that term “was coined by gay activists to make the public believe that gay youth are being converted from ‘gay to straight.’ The reality is that licensed counselors do not convert gay youth, especially in coercive and tortuous ways that these activists are claiming.”

Doyle said the “lies of gay activists, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Human Rights Campaign, and National Center for Lesbian Rights, who are the organizations lobbying for these bills, are so fraudulent” that his National Task Force for Therapy Equality filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission last week to set the record straight for legislators and the wider public.

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President Trump, Ivanka sitting at his Oval Office desk and abortion extremist, globlist, Mao Tse Tung and Islam admirer and friend of Fidel Castro - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joining them.
Cherie Zaslawsky

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How Ivanka Trump Can Save the Republic

Cherie Zaslawsky
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Ivanka and husband Jared, both of whom have been given significant roles in the Trump administration. It is highly unusual for family members of a president to be given such authority.
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Ivanka clearly admires Canada's extremely liberal, globalist, feminist Prime Minister whose views and policies are the extreme opposite of almost everything that President Trump stands for and has promised in his election campaign.

May 12, 2017 (American Thinker) – If Ivanka Trump listens to the Americans who elected her father in one of the greatest upsets in American electoral history, she will discover her clear path to saving our Republic.

It is a measure of the unprecedented nature of the period of history we are in that a young woman with no background, experience or training in politics, political philosophy, American civics or the Constitution, finds herself in a position of such power.

Yet even in the absence of any credentials of the statesman or knowledgeable political officeholder, Ivanka has the opportunity to set our nation back on track to preserving our sovereignty and freedom, in addition to regaining our prosperity.

You might ask how such a young, idealistic, naïve woman born and bred to a cloistered life of privilege and luxury, and whose passion has been focused on fashion design and marketing, could suddenly become her country's savior, much as the young Joan of Arc did for France.

It is perhaps even more unlikely, given the fact that Ivanka's husband is a Democrat, and his father a major Democrat donor, and Ivanka herself appears to have adopted that party along with her husband's religion, that she would aid the country on the side of her father's largely conservative agenda.

And while it is commendable that Ivanka is developing an interest in historical figures, it is at best problematic, from the perspective of her father's supporters, that she's singing the praises of iconic leftist Eleanor Roosevelt.

In fact, in recent interviews with the New York Times, Ivanka "talked about unleashing the economic potential of women – some of her phrases sounding uncannily like those of Hillary Clinton – and effused about finding a new role model in Eleanor Roosevelt, whose autobiography she is reading."

We know she means well.  We know she is kindhearted. We know she has good intentions. "I'm really, really trying to learn," she told the NY Times. We also know where good intentions can lead when not backed by depth and breadth of historical perspective, understanding of political and economic complex realities, and awareness of possible unintended consequences.

We also learn from the same Times article that Ivanka, sitting on a panel in Berlin with the likes of Merkel and Lagarde,  didn't know how to answer the straightforward question: whom do you represent: the president, the American people, or your business?  "I am rather unfamiliar with this role," said the first daughter.  But we can understand and sympathize with her dilemma, since she most emphatically does not represent either the president or the people who elected him.  If anything, she seems to represent Hillary Clinton, leftist Democrats, and assorted globalists… but it would be neither polite nor politic to say so.

We know, however, that she is very caring and compassionate.

In fact, we know she was so distressed over the photographs of the children dying in Syria from poison gas that she urged her father to bomb more Syrians, perhaps not realizing that more mothers and children might be killed – but then she couldn't be expected to know about the nitty-gritty of political strategic manipulation.

We know she cares about mothers because she is now a mother, and so she urged her father to include maternity leave benefits in any insurance program that replaces Obamacare – perhaps not realizing that the money to fund this generous welfare program must either come from taxes, thereby increasing the burden on the middle class, or from deficit spending, or else be taken away from other, possibly even more important programs.

We know she cares about the planet, because she and husband Jared are working to convince the president to walk back his strong position against carbon taxes – that's carbon as in carbon dioxide, the stuff we exhale and that plants need for their survival – but I digress.  Using her enormous influence with her father, Ivanka is pushing for the U.S. to stay in the Paris Climate agreements.  No less a globalist heavy hitter than Michael Bloomberg says he hopes President Trump will follow Ivanka's lead and reverse his campaign promise to pull America out of the Paris climate agreements, signed by Obama, which candidate Trump understood would cripple our industries, stifle our energy production, and dramatically raise our cost of living.

Says Bloomberg: "I hope he changes his mind and he listens to his daughter, who's supposedly a big advocate of staying the course."  It may strike some as odd that Bloomberg  seems to confer upon the inexperienced Ivanka the credentials of a climate scientist and policy wonk – or might he actually believe she can twist the president around her perfectly manicured pinky?

But let's give Ivanka credit for being smart, as well as beautiful.

Surely, she recognizes that a young, untutored woman woefully ignorant of history, economics, political theory, and the American founding documents does not belong in the seat of power, inside the Oval Office.

Surely, she realizes that the voters elected Donald Trump to the highest office in the land, and not his pretty daughter of whom he is so proud.

Surely, she recognizes that her political beliefs and perspectives are the antithesis of her father's.  And surely, she recognizes that each time she cajoles Daddy to "do the right thing" – which invariably turns out to be the liberal/socialist/globalist thing – she is urging him to betray his base, his own word, his integrity, and the very country he has vowed to make safe, strong, prosperous, and great again.

Surely, she realizes that if the president wants to have a family member close by besides his wife, it makes most sense that it be Don Jr., who, by all accounts, is a conservative and a patriot who believes in his father's agenda and would be supportive of him, rather than continuously trying to pry him away from his promises to the American people.

Surely, she is familiar with the Ten Commandments, which are basic to both Judaism and Christianity, which say, "Honor thy father and mother" – and surely, she recognizes that she should honor her father more than ever now that he is the president, and that for her to presume to tell him what to do is the height of arrogance as well as folly.

Yes, I feel certain that Ivanka is bright enough and compassionate enough to save her country by making the only conceivable intelligent decision – quite possibly the most important one of her life – to pack up her things, and move her husband and children back to New York, and focus on her life there as a wife and mother, and on her businesses, and to stay out of politics, out of Washington, and far away from the Oval Office.

Making this brave and bold move will endear her to millions of Americans and help make the country great again for all of us.

Ivanka Trump may then go down in history as the woman who saved America.

See related story,
Poll: Majority says Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner's WH roles inappropriate
 

This article was originally published on AmericanThinker.com and is re-published with permission.

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'Door to Hell' in Turkmenistan Matthew Baron / Shutterstock
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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Our Lady of Fatima showed them hell. Why pro-lifers should care 100 years later

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
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May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — One hundred years ago, three shepherd children in Portugal saw a vision of hell that so terrified them they thought they would die.

They saw a great sea of roaring fire into which were plunged demons and countless souls who had opposed God and his ways while they lived. The damned souls were like red-hot burning coals that emitted searing flames from their burning human-like forms. They shrieked and groaned, consumed by pain and despair.

It was Our Lady of Fatima who showed the children the horrifying vision of hell, where she said the “souls of poor sinners go.” She told them that “more souls go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”

Christians have always understood the sins of the flesh to be those actions which are a misuse and abuse of God’s gift of sexuality.

God created sexual relations to be between a man and woman united to one another in the faithful, exclusive, permanent, and life-giving relationship of marriage. Sins against the gift of sexuality include contracepted sex, adultery, fornication, prostitution, pornography, immodest dress, masturbation, homosexuality. Some sins of the flesh often give rise to other serious sins such as abortion, and can lead to unfaithfulness, marital breakdown, and divorce.

And worse yet, sins of the flesh can destroy one’s relationship with God, since the sinner in choosing them rejects God’s plan for sexuality, and in doing so, ultimately rejects God himself.

Perhaps more souls go to hell for sexual sins than any other kind because of how easy it is to fall into them, especially in today’s culture where sex is glorified as the main source of human happiness.

As a father of seven who is concerned about the salvation of my children, I become frightened when I observe the sexual lies with which the culture is trying to poison my children.

From the earliest ages, educational centers want to expose my children to sins of the flesh in sexual education courses, teaching them how to augment sexual pleasure with one’s self (masturbation) or with others (fornication, homosexuality) while removing the baby-making purpose of sexual activity (contracepted sex, abortion).

The entertainment industry wants to initiate my children, especially the older ones, into sins of the flesh by bombarding them with explicit sexual content (pornography, immodest dress). And it keeps adults addicted to sins of the flesh by giving them more of the same.

Governments have even used their political authority to enshrine in law certain sins of the flesh, making it illegal for anyone to speak out against such sins and to warn people of their danger (homosexuality).

As a reporter on the front lines of the pro-life movement who sees what’s happening every day in the battle for life and family, I often have to ask myself who I am really fighting, and what I am fighting for.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking I’m fighting against abortion providers, or the homosexual lobby, or corrupt governments. While these are capable of doing much evil and are responsible for doing much evil, they are not the real enemy. They’re just people, like everyone else, including me, who need to be saved from hell.

I love when St. Paul tells the Ephesians that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

It’s the devil and his legion of fallen angels who ensnare men and women by the sins of the flesh into the fires of hell.

Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the seers who lived much longer after the other two, once wrote a letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra in which she spoke about a final battle between God and Satan.

She wrote: “The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. However, Our Lady has already crushed its head.”

Those fighting for life, marriage, and the family must remember that on May 13, 2017 — the 100th anniversary of Our Lady appearing in Fatima — the ultimate fight is about saving souls from hell. This means saving those enslaved to sexual sins and those who profit from sexual sins, the abortionist, the pornographer, the brothel owner.

Our Lady of Fatima invited the children to help save souls through prayer and sacrifice.

The youngest seer, Jacinta Marto, was so moved by the vision of hell, and by the fact that she could do something to help people from going there, she began making sacrifices for the salvation of souls. She wouldn’t drink water so she could offer up her thirst. She would give away her afternoon snack so she could offer up her hunger. She would wear a rough knotted rope against her skin so she could offer up her discomfort.

Our Lady’s message about the reality of hell and the children’s example of what to do to help people from going there is something anyone fighting for life and family must take seriously. The prayer taught to the children should be constantly on our lips: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have the most need of your mercy."

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National March for Life, May 11, 2017. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
John Paul Meenan John Paul Meenan Follow John Paul

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We can never stop fighting abortion — even when it feels hopeless

John Paul Meenan John Paul Meenan Follow John Paul

OTTAWA, May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Canadian pro-lifers will likely hear that numbers were down at the March for Life, although enthusiasm and devotion were, as always, high. This was the 20th anniversary of the annual event, held the Thursday before May 14, when abortion was legalized under Pierre Trudeau. I (along with many others) have been to nearly every one, missing two due to travel, if memory serves. It is always a beautiful and enriching experience, even though motivated by the tragedy of the innumerable attacks against life, as pro-lifers gather together, meet each other, catch up, and realize that they are not alone.

I pondered why the numbers were not what they perhaps should be as I arrived on Parliament Hill, and noticed there were not as many school buses, with far fewer students from elementary or especially high school. Of course, if students do not get the day off, and are not transported to the event, almost none of these young potential pro-lifers will go. I heard in passing that even amenable school boards may now refuse to send students out of fear for insurance claims and the danger the 'protesters' present. Given the presence of dozens of police officers, and the even smaller number of rather pathetic protesters, they need not worry. There were the usual pro-abortion suspects, tragic-looking women with bare midriffs, holding hastily-written placards with such slogans as "If you don't like abortion, don't have one!" Well, that's not really the point, is it?  If you don't like murder, then don't kill?  Hmm. One pro-abortion protester of the male persuasion held up a sign that said, "If you take away their reproductive rights, we'll take away yours," replete with a scribbled pair of bloodied, detached testicles. Again, hmm. I don't think they understand the nature of 'analogy', and could use a basic course in Aristotelian logic. That may move the debate forward. But they are not really interested in debate or dialogue.

But back to the pro-lifers and the attenuated numbers: Without the plethora of semi-voluntary student attendance, on a Thursday, many people who are not in school have to work. There is also the vast area of Canada, with its dispersed population, making travel difficult and onerous. In the American March for Life, which they hold at the end of January in Washington, there are many millions of people living within easy driving range of the capital. But I have also heard of many Americans driving vast distances to attend their March, as do a number of Canadians. One way or another, the numbers south of the border are in the six digits. It is, as they say, an 'event' that one would not want to miss, something I and others had hoped would be the case for Canada's March also.  

Besides the drop in student numbers, I cannot help feel that a sense of complacency is settling into not only the broader society but even our hopefully stalwart pro-life souls, of 'what's the point,’ and ‘what good does all this do?’ We march, protest, write letters, pray and sacrifice, yet here we have nearly a half-century of legal abortion in Canada, with more than half of that with no restrictions whatsoever – in effect, no law. It is, as the saying goes, a decision between a 'woman and her doctor.’ Now, not even that, for any woman can get an abortion for any reason from any physician, whether her own or not, all paid for by the government, which means, by you and me.

Saint Thomas Aquinas states that law works in two ways: Pedagogically, teaching us what we should do, and coercively, requiring us to do it by 'force and fear,' should we be inclined to disobey.

One cannot help but think that abortion has been legal for so long, that most people in Canada now consider it perfectly legal, moral, even normal, and that to be 'against abortion' is a sign of anarchy, fascism, even mental illness. The same is now happening with euthanasia, even more rapidly, as we have been accustomed to state-sponsored death for some time now.    

Pope John Paul II teaches in Evangelium Vitae that the primary way that one builds the 'culture of life' is to live a moral life, doing one's duty of the moment, fulfilling one's vocation, raising children, spending time with family, taking care of the elderly and sick, all those little things that make up the life of sanctity and the way to heaven.

He also declares that the two primary underlying causes of abortion are the contraceptive mentality and the trivialization of sexuality, both of which breed a selfish, self-absorbed and hedonistic mentality, whereby one perceives any child conceived as an 'enemy' and an 'intruder' who has no right to be there; in fact, has no rights at all, unless such 'rights' are bestowed upon him by the whim and 'choice' of his mother, which may fluctuate and change at any point (definitely not his father, who also has no rights in this regard). Infanticide cannot be all that far away.

Abortion is a symptom and an effect of a far deeper and more complex moral decrepitude in our society, all that is entailed in what the Holy Father memorably termed the 'culture of death,’ but that does not mean that we stop protesting. For abortion is the culmination of this evil, the wholesale and widespread murder of innocents in the first phase of their existence. We cannot let it just stand. Rather, we must stand up and be counted, for these children cannot, even if we see such gestures as 'futile' in a worldly sense. For we do not it for the world, but for God, for the babies, for each other.

 

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Turns out ‘The Benedict Option’ is a hoax

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May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – I was a little mystified, having finished reading The Benedict Option (TBO), to discover not only that the book turns out to be in many respects an elaborate – albeit well-intentioned and probably evangelically useful – practical joke, but also that so few seem to have noticed that author Rod Dreher himself admits as much about halfway through, and cheerfully gives up the punchline.

Here is Dreher, towards the end of Chapter 6, quoting Catholic blogger Leah Libresco, a devotee of TBO who has been busy organizing Benedict Option events in D.C.:

“People are like, ‘This Benedict Option thing, it’s just being Christian, right?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes! You’ve figured out the koan!’” Libresco told me. “But people won’t do it unless you call it something different. It’s just the church being what the church is supposed to be, but if you give it a name, that makes people care.”

Merriam-Webster defines koan thusly: “a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.” Presumably, Libresco did not intend the word in its most literal sense. What she meant is, there’s something of the paradox, the joke, behind The Benedict Option.

And the joke is this: the Benedict Option isn’t. An option, I mean. No more than being a Christian is, for the simple reason that they're very nearly the same thing.

Some of the controversy that has greeted the publication of TBO is, I think, Dreher’s own fault: a consequence of his own aptitude for marketing his ideas and turning them into a movement, a la “Crunchy Cons.” Coin a new term and call it a movement, and one might be forgiven for expecting something new and radical, and therefore threatening. But, as Libresco suggests, there is little that is new in TBO, and if the book is radical, it’s largely with the radicalness of the Gospel. One blogger has boiled Dreher’s book down into 43 concrete proposals, and, with one or two possible exceptions, the final product reads more akin to Practical Christian Living 101, than Rod Dreher's Guide to How to Flee the Coming Apocalypse.

Historic Christianity offers a cornucopia of various “spiritualities” that, upon closer examination, turn out to be nothing more than the Gospel message with slight adjustments in emphasis as a response to specific historical exigencies. Such, I would suggest, is The Benedict Option. 

The endemic misinterpretations of TBO, I believe, originate in the first chapter, in which, having surveyed the cultural wreckage, proclaimed the Culture Wars effectively lost, and declared many political battles to be practically unwinnable in the immediate future, Dreher queries: “Could it be that the best way to fight the flood is to … stop fighting the flood?” The tone in which the question is asked, and the proposal immediately following – that Christians consider building “an ark” – suggest that Dreher himself answers resoundingly in the affirmative.

Many of his critics on the Christian right, I think, stop reading there. To willfully cede the public square and hunker down into some new breed of concrete-walled, isolated, pre-apocalyptic Christian communes – that sounds suicidal. Besides, surely we’ve learned by now that these kinds of fear-based, purity-obsessed communities have a tendency to disintegrate into chaotic infighting, occasionally with the mugshots of the community’s “spiritual leaders” gracing the front page of the local newspaper, and a generation of repressed children hungry for Hitchens and Dawkins and to proclaim atheism if only it means liberation from the religious authoritarianism of their youth.

And if that were what Dreher were proposing, that might be a fair criticism. But those who read TBO (and I’m not convinced that many of Dreher’s most vociferous critics have) may be surprised that his idea of building an “ark” is much more likely to take the form, for instance, of a group of co-religious D.C.-dwelling suburbanites organizing a regular Christian book study at a local pub, or strengthening the Newman House on the campus of their local state university, than buying up a plot of land in remotest North Dakota, going off-grid, and bidding sayonara to the corrupt pagans of the New Rome.

Indeed, Dreher would have stern words for the progenitors of the latter project. “A community so rigid that it cannot bend will break itself of its members,” Dreher warns those so carried away by enthusiasm as to make an idol of the community. “Communities that are wrapped too tight for fear of impurity will suffocate their members and strangle the joy out of life together. Ideology is the enemy of joyful community life, and the most destructive ideology is the belief that creating utopia is possible.”

Good advice, that.

So if not heading for the hills what, precisely, is Dreher proposing? Well, admittedly in some cases, heading for the hills: as in the small agrarian community that has grown up around the traditional Benedictine monastery in Clear Creek, Oklahoma. Dreher profiles the community in TBO, and approves. And why not, if that’s what you’re called to? But in a lot of cases, what Dreher is proposing seems to be less radical, and more organic. And in all cases, such as the Tipi Loschi community in Italy, he is careful to emphasize that TBO is much more about preserving and cultivating something good, than fleeing something evil.

Here is Dreher summarizing what he calls the “antipolitical politics” of the Benedict Option:

Secede culturally from the mainstream. Turn off the television. Put the smartphones away. Read books. Play games. Make music. Feast with your neighbors. It is not enough to avoid what is bad; you must also embrace what is good. Start a church, or a group within your church. Open a classical Christian school, or join and strengthen one that exists. Plant a garden, and participate in a local farmer’s market. Teach kids how to play music, and start a band. Join the volunteer fire department.

This is hardly terrifying stuff. One might even call it positively pedestrian. Most of Dreher’s other proposals are in a similar vein: rediscover traditional liturgical worship; revivify Christian ascetical practices such as regular fasting; consider homeschooling if your local school isn’t up to snuff; evangelize through the arts; take care to provide your children with good Christian friends; strive to live close to, and get personally involved in, your parish; strengthen your church’s support structures; renew your connection with the land; develop an appreciation of work as “vocation”; affirm the goodness of sexuality; reduce your media consumption.

Perhaps the most striking thing about TBO on the whole is how little, after the first chapter or so, Dreher talks about the sole differentiating factor that justifies his “Benedict Option” coinage – i.e. building intentional Christian communities. Those looking for a "how-to" guide to creating a Christian commune will have to look elsewhere. Instead, in general, he focuses his efforts on reminding Christians who they are and what they believe, and encouraging them to get serious about living their faith. The thinking seems to be: do this, and “Benedict Option” communities will arise of their own accord. 

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Here’s the thing that some of Dreher's critics are apt to ignore: Conscientious separation from the mainstream (“the world”) has always been an inescapable element of Christian spirituality. Live as a committed Christian, and de facto you will begin to stand apart from others, and never more than in our radically secularist age. If you don't, you're doing it wrong. You will also, inevitably, gravitate towards your co-religionists. And not because of an exclusionary elitism, but for any number of perfectly healthy reasons: the need for communal worship, for mutually enriching friendships built upon shared convictions, to encourage one another in the arduous battle for holiness, to name a few. A solitary Christian is an impoverished Christian, and a vulnerable one.

Historic Christianity offers a cornucopia of various “spiritualities” that, upon closer examination, turn out to be nothing more than the Gospel message with slight adjustments in emphasis as a response to specific historical exigencies. Such, I would suggest, is The Benedict Option. To be a practicing Christian is, inevitably, to live as part of intentional Christian community. In response to the atomization of modern life and the growing threats to Christian identity, Dreher has simply placed the emphasis on the word "intentional."

In early Rome, Christians were forced to risk everything to congregate together, often celebrating furtive masses in the dank catacombs. In medieval Europe, however, daily life was so intimately structured around Christian worship, and Christian doctrine so universally accepted, that the sense of “otherness,” even for committed believers, would have been dramatically reduced. The original “Benedict Option” had reached its full flowering, and every medieval town, frequently constructed around a monastery, amounted to a astonishingly vital Benedict Option community.

Dreher’s belief is that Christians today find themselves in circumstances more akin to the early Christians in Rome than to our medieval forebears. Urbanism, a frenetic commodity-based economy that brings in its wake radical instability and rampant materialism, the near-total triumph of the sexual revolution, and the catastrophic collapse of the churches amid doctrinal retreat and scandals: all of these have left many orthodox Christians besieged and isolated.

Unfortunately, in our egalitarian-obsessed society, the suggestion that Christians “stick together” so as to maintain some higher moral standard can strike us as elitist, paranoid, and possibly a rejection of Christ’s evangelical imperative (“Go out to all the world and preach the good news”). Elitism is certainly a risk, and the way to combat that is by nurturing humility grounded in a healthy sense of humor: something I think Dreher gets. But the greater risks at the moment are clearly fragmentation and isolation. These in turn sap Christians’ vital energy, rendering us far less effective as evangelists. It is not elitist to acknowledge that Christianity is a higher standard. Nor can we afford to lose sight of the reality that, rather than any specific political or apologetical initiative, it has always been the personal lived example of Christians adhering to that standard that has effected conversion.

Many of the criticisms of Dreher appear to arise from a failure to read the signs of the times, or of an excessive confidence in ordinary Christians’ capacity to withstand growing external pressure to conform. Consider, for instance, the protests against Dreher’s near-categorical advice to Christian parents to withdraw their children from public schools. Perhaps Dreher was too absolute. Perhaps he ought to have given some allowance for the wide divergence in the quality of public schools. I don’t know. But I do know that those who respond that it is necessary for Christian children to remain in public schools so as to act as “salt and light” to their non-Christian peers are displaying a potentially disastrous naiveté. Either they happen to have unusually saintly children, or they are grossly underestimating the challenges an isolated Christian teen faces in staying faithful in the midst of overwhelming peer pressure.

Those who fear that Dreher’s is a cowardly, defeatist, unevangelical project must consider the conclusion to TBO. There, he modifies his “ark” imagery, which he acknowledges can be misinterpreted. This image he counterbalances with one drawn from Ezekiel’s vision of Jerusalem, with a stream of life-giving water rushing from the altar of the temple, spreading out across the world.

The church, then, is both Ark and Wellspring – and Christians must live in both realities. God gave us the Ark of the church to keep us from drowning in the raging flood. But He also gave us the church as a place to drown our old selves symbolically in the water of baptism, and to grow in new life, nourished by the never-ending torrent of His grace. You cannot live the Benedict Option without seeing both visions simultaneously.

It is worth remembering that Christ himself spent thirty years separate from the world within that most intimate Benedict Option community – the Holy Family – growing in wisdom and stature. Then he opened the floodgates, and his teachings burst forth upon the world. We moderns in the West are all infected to some degree with an Americanist mentality – believing it our duty to change the world through our own frenetic activity. TBO, while perhaps not perfect, offers a necessary corrective, reminding us that our strength and power derive ultimately from union with Christ, and with one another. Contemplation precedes action. That is the powerful symbolism of the bustling medieval town, with the Benedictine abbey at its center.

It may be that I have understated the nature of Dreher’s project, or glossed over particular proposals that are not merely coextensive with the Gospel. I can perhaps understand the dismay, for instance, with which some activist types view Dreher’s take on politics. But those who persist in caricaturing his arguments by claiming that he is advocating political capitulation must, for honesty's sake, contend with his numerous qualifications, both in the book and elsewhere. Writes Dreher on his blog just this week: "I do not call for a withdrawal from politics as usual, but ... a recalibration of our idea of politics, such that we redirect our attention to the kind of politics that matters most."

And finally, to those who ridicule Dreher's belief that TBO is needed to weather the looming stormclouds of Christian persecution, which in many cases will be advanced through the vehicle of what they derisively call The Gay Agenda, I suppose all I can say is: open your eyes.

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Cardinal Sarah reveals surprising cause and remedy for the fears and anxieties of our time

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Note: numbers before quoted paragraphs are as published in Cardinal Sarah's book.

May 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Why have we seen such a dramatic increase in anxiety, fear, personal disorientation, irrational anger and forced imposition of political correctness over the past 50+ years in developed nations? Have you noticed how many now reject reason and sound arguments and accept only “facts”, “evidence” or “studies" that agree with what they desire – no matter how pathetically flawed their supporting items are? There is a surprising cause for most of this and an ages-old, surprising remedy.

We are in an age of increasing social madness. Cardinal Robert Sarah, in his new book, The Power of Silence, reveals this to be symptomatic of a widespread spiritual illness in modern Western culture. This illness, according to him, is largely caused by an absence of crucially needed, God and truth-revealing periods of silence of the ears, of the eyes and of the heart in the life of modern men and women.

Yes, silence. Sarah shows the way out of the tyranny of destructive external and internal noise and the incredible power and necessity of silence, which he proclaims is “more important than any other human work.”

Reading the comments under LifeSite’s well-researched and written reports, we are frequently struck by the inability of so many to calmly think and reason and to appreciate the implications of what the news reports reveal. Reason, facts, solid research - are all given much less importance, if any, these days than politically correct and especially emotional considerations. Modern man allows feelings and images to dominate and enslave him, much to his personal and social detriment. 

Cardinal Sarah warns us that, 

47. Humanity itself has returned to the sad prophecy of Isaiah, which was repeated by Jesus: "seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand…. For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with heart, and turn for me to heal them”. (Mt 13:13, 15) p.44

Because of all the noise experienced by our eyes, ears and hearts, modern man no longer hears, experiences and knows God. He is unable to comprehend the purpose and even the value of his life and the lives of others. Hence the acceptance of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, transgenerism and many other anti-human perversities. Today's men and women and youth are lost and swirling in a downward spiral of self-destroying anxieties, fears, vulgarity, disorientation and violence. 

Sarah goes so far as to proclaim that, “In killing silence, man assassinates God.” p.57

Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet

Let me further quote liberally from Cardinal Sarah and the astonishing insights in his book:

74. Our world no longer hears God because it is constantly speaking, at a devastating speed and volume, in order to say nothing. Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet. It holds fourth in an unending monologue. Postmodern society rejects the past and looks at the present as a cheap consumer object; it pictures the future in terms of an almost obsessive progress. It's dream, which has become a sad reality, will have been to lock silence away in a damp, dark dungeon. Thus there is a dictatorship of speech, a dictatorship of verbal emphasis. In this theatre of shadows, nothing is left but a purulent wound of mechanical words, without perspective, without truth, and without foundation. Quite often "truth" is nothing more than the pure and misleading creation of the media, corroborated by fabricated images and testimonies.

When that happens the word of God fades away, inaccessible and inaudible. Postmodernity is an ongoing offence and aggression against the divine silence. From morning to evening, from evening to morning, silence no longer has any place at all; the noise tries to prevent God himself from speaking. In this hell of noise, man disintegrates and is lost; he is broken up into countless worries, fantasies, and fears. In order to get out of these depressing tunnels, he desperately awaits noise so that it will bring him a few consolations. Noise is a deceptive, addictive, and false tranquilizer. P. 56

Those are powerful, perceptive words! Much of the chaos that we report every day in LifeSite stories is reflected in those two preceding paragraphs. Cardinal Sarah does not "beat around the bush.” He gives it to us straight so that we might be able to fully understand and respond to our illness. That is what a genuine doctor of the soul must do. This is not facile “accompaniment,” but rather true shepherding and acceptance of the call to be a prophet for our time.

The silence of the eyes

Sarah carefully explains that the silence he is talking about involves much more that what enters the ears. Everything that enters the mind and heart through the senses, emotions and memories can create howling internal “noise” and greatly disturb our internal equilibrium, sense of being and relationship to our Creator.

I have never heard the term, “silence of the eyes,” but Cardinal Sarah explains it well, especially as it applies to our modern culture:

46. The silence of the eyes consists of being able to close one’s eyes in order to contemplate God who is in us, in the interior depths of our personal abyss. Images are drugs that we can no longer do without, because they are present everywhere and at every moment. Our eyes are sick, intoxicated, they can no longer close. It is necessary to stop one’s ears too, because there are sonic images that assault and violate our sense of hearing, our intellect, and our imagination. P.44

43. For some years now there has been a constant onslaught of images, lights, and colours that blind man. His interior dwelling is violated by the unhealthy, provocative images of pornography, bestial violence, and all sorts of worldly obscenities that assault purity of heart and infiltrate through the door of sight. P.42

44. The faculty of sight, which ought to see and contemplate the essential things, is turned aside to what is artificial. Our eyes confuse day and night because our whole lives are so immersed in a permanent light. In the cities that shine with a thousand lights, our eyes no longer find restful areas of darkness, and consciences no longer recognize sin.

Negative impact on the conscience

All this external and subsequent internal “noise” has had a profoundly negative impact on the consciences of modern men and women. Our otherwise natural perceptions of right and wrong are suppressed or confused. Modern man can’t comprehend the reality of moral absolutes and instead wallows in ever-changing, emotionally self-serving and personally destructive moral relativism.

Cardinal Sarah continues,

To a large extent, humanity has lost an awareness of the seriousness of sin and of the disorder that its presence has introduced into personal, ecclesial, and social life. More than 50 years ago, in his homily on September 20, 1964, Blessed Paul VI stated this tragedy in these terms:

In the language of respectable people today, in their books, in the things that they say about man, you will not find that dreadful word which, however, is very frequent in the religious world – our world – especially in close relation to God: the word is “sin". In today's way of thinking, people are no longer regarded as sinners. They're categorized as being healthy, sick, good, strong, weak, rich, poor, wise, ignorant; but one never encounters the word sin. The human intellect having thus been detached from divine wisdom, this word "sin" does not recur because we have lost the concept of sin. One of the most penetrating and grave words of Pope Pius XII, of venerable memory, was, "the modern world has lost the sense of sin." What is this if not the rupture of our relationship with, God, caused precisely by "sin".

Those words were written by Paul VI in 1964, but so much has happened since then that we can confidently say that the word “sin” is no longer even “very frequent in the religious world.” Pastors, bishops and even the current Pope don’t like to inflict guilt on the flock, and especially on those engaged in immoral behaviours, by using the word “sin”. If any sin is mentioned at all it is often in relation to supposed “sins” against the environment or economic or other worldly issue “sins” or the sin of being too "rigid" and faithful.

Sarah next presents a poetic and powerful quote from Saint John Paul II in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitencia dated December 2, 1984 (no. 18).

45. Far from God and from the lights that spring from the true Light, man can no longer see the stars, cities have become such flashlights the dazzle our eyes. Modern life does not allow us to look calmly at things. Our eyelids remain open incessantly, but our eyes are forced to look at a sort of ongoing spectacle. The dictatorship of the image, which plunges our attention into a perpetual whirlpool, detests silence. Man feels obliged to seek ever new realities that give him an appetite to own things; but his eyes are red, haggard, and sick. The artificial spectacles and the screens glowing uninterruptedly try to bewitch the mind and the soul. In the brightly lit prisons of the modern world, man is separated from himself and from God. He is riveted to ephemeral things, farther and farther away from what is essential. P.43

I have so far only read up to page 56 in the The Power of Silence, but already Sarah has given a few prescriptions here and there on how to overcome this tyranny of noise.

He quotes Mother Teresa who wrote, “silence of speech, gesture, or activity finds its full meaning in the search for God. This search is truly possible only in a silent heart.” Sarah says that “This nun did not like to speak and fled the storms of worldly noise.”

“Silence needs meekness and humility”, writes Sarah, “and it also opens for us the way to these two qualities. The humblest, meekest, and most silent of all beings is God. Silence is the only means by which to enter into this great mystery of God… In silence, man is absorbed by the divine and the world’s  movements no longer have any hold on his soul.” There is the solution.

I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of The Power of Silence. There is no doubt that many LifeSite readers would also benefit from obtaining and reading this timely, exceptionally insightful book.

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