All articles from September 07, 2017


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American Life League
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Pro-life leaders blast U.S. Congress for failing to defund Planned Parenthood

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life leaders wrote a letter to members of Congress on Tuesday, rebuking them for not keeping their campaign promises and imploring them to defund Planned Parenthood once and for all.

Six leading women and four influential men among the nation’s top pro-life activists reminded legislators that America gave them their positions in part because they promised to defund the nation’s largest and most lucrative abortion conglomerate.

“This Republican Pro-life Congress made a promise to American voters to stop taxpayer funding for the largest abortion chain in the nation, Planned Parenthood,” the pro-lifers stated. “It is now well past time to deliver on that promise.”

“Rhetoric must be translated into law,” they leaders wrote, and the Republican-controlled House and Senate “must” stop giving half a billion tax dollars to the abortion behemoth. “Doing anything less brings into question whether this Congress can truly be called the pro-life Congress.”

The letter was signed by Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, Penny Young Nance of Concerned Women for America LAC, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life, Jeanne Mancini of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, Lila Rose of Live Action, presidential adviser Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Catherine Glenn Foster of Americans United for Life, Paul Weber of Family Policy Alliance, Gary L. Bauer of American Values, and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention.

They pointed out that Congress “has failed” to “redirect … Planned Parenthood funding to alternative providers.” They emphasize that their goal is not to take away tax dollars from women’s healthcare but to subsidize genuine healthcare by non-aborting clinics, which outnumber abortion businesses 20-to-1.

Infighting within the Republican Party over how to replace Obamacare halted every effort to cut Planned Parenthood tax subsidies since Trump ascended to the presidency.

Defunding Planned Parenthood was part of a budget measure earlier this year that failed to clear the Senate. In another attempt to rescind Obamacare and its forced abortion coverage mandate, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, cast the deciding vote. He was joined by Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.  

The sanctity of life defenders urged Congress to rework that bill. “Giving up is not why the voters sent (you) to Congress,” they wrote.

Similar legislation passed both houses of Republican-controlled Congress in 2016 but was vetoed by President Obama. Referencing this success but not fulfillment, the pro-life leaders noted, “Excited by this clear proof that a defunding bill could reach the Oval Office, the American people responded by (electing) President Trump.”

A Democrat-created “reconciliation” procedural rule was passed in January. It may be used for budgetary items to avoid a filibuster — in this case from Democrats, whose party platform officially champions abortion and supports Planned Parenthood.  

“It only takes a simple majority to stop taxpayer subsidies to Planned Parenthood through a Budget Reconciliation bill,” the leaders reminded the legislators.

“Reconciliation” bills need only 51 votes to pass, as opposed to the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

But time is running out. The “reconciliation” rule, which pro-life leaders believe is the only chance to defund Planned Parenthood, expires at the end of this month. It would take an entirely new resolution to forge another reconciliation process.

“Should robust efforts on the 2017 reconciliation bill run out of time, then the fight to defund Planned Parenthood must move immediately to the 2018 reconciliation bill,” the  pro-life leaders wrote.

The letter noted that Planned Parenthood, despite their half a billion dollars in tax subsidies annually, does 35 percent of the nation’s abortions yet only one percent of HIV tests and Pap smears.

“Planned Parenthood self-reports taking the innocent lives of 328,348 unborn children last year,” the abortion foes reported. “That is 900 lives snuffed out before their first breath every single day by a single taxpayer-funded abortion chain.”

“This tragedy is compounded every day that passes with (your) inaction,” they went on. “The time for results is now. Lives depend on your leadership and action.”

Pro-life organizations gave $11.7 million to pro-life candidates during the 2016 election, directly helping pro-life Republicans take control of both branches of Congress and the presidency. The Susan B. Anthony List was the heftiest contributor with $1.4 million and an additional $1.8 million outside pro-life spending in 2016.

View the entire letter here.

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Shrewsbury Bishop Mark Davies Simon Caldwell / Diocese of Shrewsbury
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Bishop backs British politician for ‘fearlessly’ defending life, marriage

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

LONDON, England, September 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic bishop lauded a UK politician for speaking “fearlessly” about his Christian convictions when he offered strong support on national television for Catholic teaching on abortion and marriage.

Shrewsbury Bishop Mark Davies praised Conservative Member of Parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg for his comments Wednesday on the Good Morning Britain program, the Catholic Herald reported, saying Britons should be grateful for the MP’s “integrity.”

Rees-Mogg said abortion was “morally indefensible” and that he was “completely opposed” to it in all cases, including rape and incest.

“Life is sacrosanct, and begins at the point of conception,” he stated.

Asked whether he supports same-sex “marriage,” Rees-Mogg responded, “I’m a Catholic and I take the teaching of the Catholic Church seriously.”

Pro-abortion and gay “marriage” forces and others chastised Rees-Mogg as “unsuitable for high office,” as well as “bigoted” and ”extreme,” with “utterly abhorrent” “views verging on the fascistic.”

Bishop Davies held a different view of what passes for extreme in the UK today.

“It is a mark of the extremes to which the leaders of public opinion are moving that a politician who simply accepts Christian teaching on the sanctity of human life and the identity of marriage is considered exceptional,” he said. “I think we should all be grateful for the integrity of politicians like Jacob Rees-Mogg who fearlessly speak of those Christian convictions on which our society was built.”

Bishop Davies’ public praise for Rees-Mogg’s backing of Church teaching on national TV gave Catholic Brits a second dose of faith witness from a public figure in as many days. The largely unanticipated occurrence was also significant with Rees-Mogg gaining popularity as a potential replacement for Theresa May as leader of the Conservative party.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) echoed the bishop, also noting that it was amazing for Rees-Mogg to be labeled “extreme” by such entities as BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service — the U.K.’s largest abortion provider), with BPAS campaigning for abortion to be completely decriminalized and allowed up to birth for any reason.

“BPAS CEO Ann Furedi even said recently on daytime television that she supports sex-selective abortion,” SPUC communications officer Alithea Williams told LifeSiteNews. “Given that the most recent survey of British views on abortion found that 89 percent of the general population and 91 percent of women agree that gender-selective abortion should be explicitly banned by the law, it's obvious that she is the extreme one, not Mr. Rees-Mogg.”

“The same poll also revealed that 99 percent of the public oppose the abortion limit being raised to birth, which is what BPAS is campaigning for,” continued Williams, “yet they say he is out of touch with the public.”

"It tells us something that a man who's always been very open about his Catholic faith and social conservatism should make front page news for opposing abortion and same-sex marriage” Williams added, “hardly surprising stances for a Catholic to take.”

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Cardinal Burke at the Rome March for Life 2017 LifeSite
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Cardinal Burke: Formal correction would ‘require’ Pope Francis to teach what Church ‘has always taught’

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

September 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- The forthcoming formal correction of Pope Francis would require that the Pope teach what the Catholic Church has always taught about marriage, the Eucharist, and the impossibility of ever justifying intrinsically evil acts, said Cardinal Raymond Burke in a new interview. 

“Since a formal correction would treat a fundamental teaching or fundamental teachings of the Catholic faith, it would require the Pope to fulfill his solemn duty to teach what the Catholic Church has always taught and practiced,” said Burke to the Hungarian independent Catholic news service Katolikus Válasz in an interview published online September 6. 

The interview was conducted a little over a week prior to Cardinal Burke’s friend and fellow dubia signer Cardinal Caffarra passing away from a long illness. 

Burke, who is patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, is one of the four cardinals (two of whom have now passed away) who one year ago submitted five yes-or-no questions to Pope Francis. They asked him to affirm that his 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia conformed to perennial Catholic teaching. So far, the Pope has not responded. 

Burke was asked in the interview if the problem is not so much with the Exhortation, which some have interpreted as being in line with previous magisterial teaching, but with the way that various bishops around the world are interpreting it. For instance, some bishops, such as in ArgentinaMaltaGermany, and Belgium, have interpreted the Exhortation as allowing Communion to be given to civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery, while other bishops, such as in Canada and Poland, have taken the opposite view. 

Burke responded that the fact that certain passages in Amoris Laetitia have given way to “confused and contradictory interpretations is a difficulty in itself.”

“There are passages which, in fact, call into question certain fundamental teachings of the Church and thus have generated contradictory understandings of the Church’s teaching on the Holy Eucharist and Holy Matrimony, and on acts which are intrinsically evil and, therefore, can never be justified,” he said. 

“Since the Petrine Office has the responsibility to teach the Catholic faith with integrity and thus maintain the unity of the Bishops and all the faithful, the correction of the confusion and error is the responsibility of the Roman Pontiff. That is why the dubia or questions were respectfully directed to Pope Francis as an aid to him in carrying out his weighty responsibility. To provide such assistance to the Holy Father is at the heart of the responsibility of the College of Cardinals,” he added. 

Along with the Cardinals, dozens of Catholic philosophers and theologians have stated their concerns with the Exhortation. Most recently, Catholic philosopher Dr. Josef Seifert published an article in which he called the Exhortation a ticking “theological atomic bomb” that has the capacity to entirely destroy all Catholic moral teaching. Seifert was removed from his Catholic university by his local archbishop last week for raising his concerns. 

When asked about the number of bishops or prelates who might openly sign a declaration correcting the Pope, Burke said that numbers are not important, but truth. 

“I cannot say what other Bishops and Cardinals may do. Regarding the formal correction, it is not a matter of the number of persons who make the correction but of the truth of the correction itself,” he said. 

“The question is what truth did Our Lord Himself teach in the Gospel and what has the Church always taught, in fidelity to the Word of Christ. That truth and living according to that truth alone will make individual Christians free and happy,” he said. 

The Hungarian interview comes a little less than one month after Cardinal Burke outlined in an interview with The Wanderer what the formal correction would look like. 

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Tucker Carlson of Fox News and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council
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Conservative coalition urges media to stop citing liberal group as ‘hate’ authority

Peter LaBarbera Peter LaBarbera Follow Peter

September 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A coalition of 47 conservatives has written a letter appealing to the media to stop citing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as an authority on "hate," calling it "an attack dog of the political left" that slanders traditional conservatives as "extremists."

In the wake of the race protests and riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, CNN and other media and blogs have cited the SPLC’s “hate map” as a guide to locate “hate groups” and “extremists” across the United States. Many of the map’s entries, such as the Aryan Nation and the Ku Klux Klan, are actually extremist fringe groups espousing racism and anti-Semitism.

However, the highly partisan SPLC mixes in these disreputable outfits (most with very small followings) with dozens of mainstream conservative groups like Family Research Council that oppose the LGBTQ agenda, as well as organizations that oppose unrestrained immigration and radical Islam and sharia law.

The coalition letter, organized by the Media Research Center (MRC) and its president, Brent Bozell, states:

“The SPLC is an attack dog of the political left. Having evolved from laudable origins battling the Klan in the 1970s, the SPLC has realized the profitability of defamation, churning out fundraising letters, and publishing “hit pieces” on conservatives to promote its agenda and pad its substantial endowment (of $319 million). Anyone who opposes them, including many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and traditional conservatives is slandered and slapped with the “extremist” label or even worse, their “hate group” designation.”

The letter notes that the Montgomery, Alabama-based SPLC “even added [HUD Secretary] Dr. Ben Carson to its ‘extremist’ list because of his biblical views (and only took him off the list after public outcry).”

It continues: “To associate public interest law firms and think tanks with neo-Nazis and the KKK is unconscionable, and represents the height of irresponsible journalism. All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC’s descriptions of individuals and organizations based on its obvious political prejudices.”

Potential mass murder at FRC recalled

The letter, which can be viewed in full here, states that if the media continue to treat the SPLC and its ever-expanding “hate map” seriously, there could be more murderous leftist assaults like the one five years ago against Family Research Council, or the recent leftist assassination attempt against Republican Congressmen.

On August 15, 2012, pro-LGBT activist Floyd Lee Corkins stormed the Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C., headquarters packing a loaded, semi-automatic pistol and 50 rounds of ammo, after seeing the pro-family organization listed as a “hate group” by the SPLC.

The lives of FRC staffers — and some visitors at the FRC building — were spared through the heroic actions of FRC building manager Leo Johnson, who wrestled Corkins to the ground, getting shot himself in the process. Corkins’ backpack was filled with Chick-fil-A sandwiches, which he had intended to stuff in the mouths of his murder victims. He was irate at FRC’s (and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s) stance against homosexuality-based “marriage.”

Then a volunteer for a D.C.-area homosexual-transgender group, Corkins is now serving a 25-year sentence for domestic terrorism. Curiously, the notorious Corkins does not have his own listing in left-leaning Wikipedia, which many students use for research.

Despite the near mass-murder, the left-wing “Poverty Center” — which is under fire for transferring hundreds of millions of dollars to offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands — continues to list FRC as a “hate group,” along with dozens of other conservative groups that collectively have many millions of followers.

Tucker Carlson outraged

Popular Fox News talk show host Tucker Carlson, interviewing FRC President Tony Perkins yesterday, said, "To call someone a 'hate group' is to lump them in, in the popular mind … with ... Nazis and crazy people, violent people — truly scary people. … It's just so dishonest. It's like treating [the left-wing group] Media Matters like a legitimate media analysis group, which the press also did until they were called on it repeatedly."

Speaking of the SPLC, Carlson said, "They're totally fraudulent. And it's not even a close call. … They're completely over the top. You spend 10 minutes on their website and it's clear: this is not a group concerned about 'hate.' This is a fundraising organization with a very specific political agenda smearing people in order to raise money. ...

"No ... honest journalist would ever use them as a source. It's shocking, actually," he added. Watch the Tucker Carlson interview here.

In the interview, Perkins called the SPLC a “fear-mongering organization. They've raised over $350 million, which they're sitting on, most of it in offshore accounts. It is irresponsible for the media to use them as a source."

Among the well-known conservatives joining MRC’s Bozell and FRC’s Perkins as signers of the anti-SPLC letter are: Tim Wildmon, president, American Family Association; David Barton, founder and president, WallBuilders; Dr. Michelle Cretella, president, American College of Pediatricians; Joseph Farah, founder and CEO, WND.com; Robert Spencer, director, Jihad Watch; Lt. General (Ret.) William G. Boykin, executive vice president, FRC; J. Christian Adams, president, Public Interest Legal Foundation; Brigitte Gabriel, founder and chairman, ACT for America; Brad Dacus, president and Counsel, Pacific Justice Institute; L. Brent Bozell III, president, Media Research Center; Gary Bauer, president, American Values; Mat Staver, founder and chairman, Liberty Counsel; Austin Ruse, president, C-FAM; Frank Wright, president and CEO, D. James Kennedy Ministries; Pamela Geller, editor-in-chief, American Freedom Defense Initiative; and Michael Farris, CEO, Alliance Defending Freedom.

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Pope Francis meets Yayo Grassi, left, and his homosexual partner, Iwan, at the Apostolic Nunciature on Sept. 23, 2015. Marisa Marchitelli
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Pope Francis signals support for legal recognition of same-sex ‘civil unions’

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

ROME, September 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Pope Francis seems to have affirmed recognizing homosexual relationships under law, an apparent contradiction of the Church's longheld teaching.

In a new book-length interview, the Pope reiterates his strong opposition to same-sex "marriage," but recommends using the term "civil unions" instead.

“Let us call things by their names. Matrimony is between a man and a woman. This is the precise term. Let us call the same-sex union a ‘civil union,’” he said.

Pope Francis made the comment during more than a dozen conversations with French journalist Dominique Wolton, who published the Pope’s words in a 432-page book titled Politics and Society. It was published in French on Wednesday.

The Catholic Church teaches that since homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” Catholics cannot approve of same-sex civil unions. 

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reiterated this teaching in a key document in 2003. It was authored by then-prefect Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who would be elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005) and approved by Pope Saint John Paul II.

“The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions,” it reads.

It is widely known that when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis (then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio) was publicly critical of the government’s push to legalize homosexual "marriage," but privately signaled he would be willing to live with civil unions as a compromise measure. 

The Pope’s authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, wrote concerning this that Bergoglio argued privately that the Church should come out for civil unions as the “lesser of two evils.”

“He wagered on a position of greater dialogue with society,” stated Rubin. This claim has been backed by homosexual activist Marcelo Marquez, who told the New York Times in 2013 that Bergoglio "told me that homosexuals need to have recognized rights and that he supported civil unions, but not same-sex marriage."

In a 2014 interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis sympathized with countries that legalize same-sex civil unions, stating that they do so “to regularize different situations of living together,” mentioning the need to regularize the economic aspects between same-sex partners, such as, for example, to ensure health care. 

When asked in February 2016 aboard the papal plane to comment on the Italian Parliament’s push to legalize same-sex civil unions, Pope Francis replied that he “can’t insert himself in the specific internal politics of a country.” He then added: “And what I think is what the Church thinks and has said so often.” 

In the same press conference, the Pope criticized then-presidential candidate Donald Trump for his plan to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. to stop illegal immigration. 

***

Full comment by Pope Francis on affirming homosexual civil unions, as translated by Aleteia.

What can we think of marriage between people of the same sex? “Matrimony” is a historical word. Always, in humanity, and not just in the Church, it was a man and a woman. It’s not possible to change it just like that […] It’s not possible to change it. It is part of nature. That’s how it is. Let us call it, then, “civil unions.” Let us not play with truths.

It’s true that behind all this we find gender ideology. In books, kids learn that it’s possible to change one’s sex. Could gender, to be a woman or to be a man, be an option and not a fact of nature? This leads to this error.

Let us call things by their names. Matrimony is between a man and a woman. This is the precise term. Let us call the same-sex union a “civil union.”

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Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer Flickr.com
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Canada’s new Conservative leader disappoints pro-lifers with cabinet picks

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

OTTAWA, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has signaled “disrespect” to the party’s pro-life base by excluding his former leadership rival and outspoken pro-life MP Brad Trost from his shadow cabinet, says Campaign Life Coalition.

Trost finished fourth in the leadership race, proving that pro-life, pro-family advocates are a huge part of the Tory “big tent,” says Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Canada’s national pro-life political lobby group.

“The big story of the leadership convention was the influence of the social conservative vote, and it is they, more than any other constituency, who directed the outcome,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews.

“On the night Scheer was elected, everybody acknowledged that it was so-cons who were kingmakers, including the media and the [Maxime] Bernier and [Erin] O’Toole campaigns.”

Scheer, who announced his shadow cabinet last Wednesday, appointed Bernier as shadow minister for innovation, science and economic development, and O’Toole for foreign affairs.

Trost praised Scheer for “continuity” in his choice of portfolio critics.

The leader consulted him before finalizing his decision, and Trost gave Scheer “an absolutely free hand” and “unqualified support,” Trost told the National Post, adding he prefers to be free to comment on a number of portfolios.

Trost maintained that under Scheer, the Conservative Party will stick to past policy, including allowing MPs free votes on matters of conscience, the Post reported.

“There’s no expectation that we will veer sharply to the right on anything,” he said.

But pro-life Conservatives might take a different view of Trost’s exclusion from the shadow cabinet, says Fonseca.

“Respect for life is a pillar of any true conservative movement, and we should all expect that a self-described ‘pro-life’ party leader will appoint pro-life conservatives to positions of influence,” he told LifeSiteNews.  

“I would not blame pro-life/family voters for perceiving this as the new leader distancing himself from the so-con base of the party. That large constituency of the membership ought to let him know they are not at all happy about this decision.”

However, Fonseca acknowledged Campaign Life identifies 10, or just under a third, of the 35 shadow ministers as solidly pro-life (see below).

These include James Bezan as shadow minister for national defense, Kelly Block for transport, Pierre Poilievre for finance, and Alex Nuttall in youth, sports and disabilities.

“We congratulate these pro-life MPs and hope they will have some opportunity in their roles as Official Opposition shadow ministers to advance respect for human life,” he said.

But Campaign Life “has to be clear we’re completely opposed to Scheer’s position he will not reopen the abortion debate when the Conservatives form government,” Fonseca said, adding this was the principal reason Campaign Life could not endorse Scheer’s leadership bid.

“That is tantamount to saying that a Conservative government has no intention of lifting a finger to defend the more than 100,000 pre-born children killed every year by the abortion industry,” he said.

Indeed, Alberta Conservative MP Rachel Harder reiterated the Conservative position when under fire from New Democrat status of women critic Sheila Malcolmson.

Malcolmson described Harder in the Post as “outspokenly anti-choice,” and blasted Scheer for appointing her as Tory shadow minister for status of women.

“As you know, it is the official policy of the Conservative party that a future Conservative government will not reopen the abortion debate,” Harder told the Post.

“It’s very disappointing to see Harder repeat that tired old mantra,” Fonseca said.

Campaign Life currently rates Harder with a yellow rather than a green light, which means a caution against regarding her as solidly pro-life.

Harder's yellow light rating is based on a newspaper report she told an all-candidates meeting before the October 2015 election that women should have access to abortion. Harder has not contacted Campaign Life to confirm or deny the accuracy of the report.

In 2015, Harder responded to Campaign Life’s questionnaire that she believed life begins at conception and would “strive to introduce and pass laws to protect unborn children from the time of conception.”

At the same time, Fonseca slammed NDP Malcolmson for attacking Harder for her pro-life views.

“Once again, the left has revealed that it isn’t pro-woman after all. It’s just pro-abortion,” he observed.

“If they were really pro-woman, they’d respect the varied beliefs and opinions of all women, including women who respect the sanctity of human life.”

Fonseca also criticized Scheer for “very poor judgment” in appointing “pro-abortion, anti-traditional marriage” MP Peter Kent as shadow minister for ethics.

"A man who supports killing children in their mother’s womb shouldn’t be allowed within a mile of the ethics portfolio. A social conservative MP should definitely have been given that file,” Fonseca said.

Such an appointment is reminiscent of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who during his time in government appointed a “gaggle of liberals to the Supreme Court,” Fonseca said. These justices “voted unanimously in favour of granting doctors the power to kill their patients.”

Conservative shadow cabinet is as follows (pro-life in bold). To see all Campaign Life ratings, go here:

Ziad Aboultaif, AB, International Development

Dan Albas, BC, Small Business

Dean Allison, ON, International Trade

John Barlow, AB, Agriculture and Agri-Food (Associate)

Maxime Bernier, PQ, Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Luc Berthold, PQ, Agriculture and Agri-Food

James Bezan, MB, National Defence

Steven Blaney, PQ, Veterans Affairs

Kelly Block, SK, Transport

Michael Chong, ON, Infrastructure, Communities and Urban Affairs

Tony Clement, ON, Public Services and Procurement

Gerard Deltell,PQ, Treasury Board

Todd Doherty, BC, Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Ed Fast, BC, Environment and Climate Change

Marilyn Gladu, ON, Health

Rachael Harder, AB, Status of Women

Matt Jeneroux, AB, Science

Pat Kelly, AB, National Revenue

Peter Kent, ON, Ethics

Cathy McLeod, BC, Crown-Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Indigenous Services, and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Rob Moore, former MP from NB, Atlantic Issues and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Rob Nicholson, ON,  Justice

Alexander Nuttall, ON, Youth, Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Erin O’Toole, ON, Foreign Affairs

Pierre Paul-Hus, PQ, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Pierre Poilievre, ON, Finance and National Capital Commission

Alain Rayes, PQ, Intergovernmental Affairs

Scott Reid, ON, Democratic Institutions

Michelle Rempel, AB, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Bob Saroya, ON, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (Associate)

Shannon Stubbs, AB, Natural Resources

Peter Van Loan, ON, Canadian Heritage and National Historic Sites

Karen Vecchio, ON, Families, Children and Social Development

Dianne Watts, BC, Employment, Workforce Development and Labour,

Alice Wong, BC, Seniors

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Rising UK politician takes strong stand against abortion on national TV

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LONDON, England, September 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – An emerging contender to head Britain’s Conservative party caused a stir when he took a strong stand against abortion and gay “marriage” on national television in the UK this week.

Jacob Rees-Mogg said abortion was “morally indefensible” and he was personally opposed to it even in cases of rape and incest. Rees-Mogg said as well that he supported the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage.

The Conservative Member of British Parliament identified himself as a Catholic in an interview with Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on the Good Morning Britain television program and said repeatedly that he supports the teaching of the Church.

“I’m a Catholic and I take the teaching of the Catholic Church seriously,” Rees-Mogg responded when asked if he supports same-sex “marriage.” “Marriage is a sacrament and the decision of what is a sacrament lies with the Church and not with Parliament.”

The hosts pressed Rees-Mogg to state unequivocally whether he supports “marriage” between same-sex couples, to which he replied, “I support the teaching of the Catholic Church,” and, “The teaching of the Catholic Church is completely clear.”

Rees-Mogg’s comments follow Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron’s resignation as party chief earlier this year after waffling at first when asked whether he thought homosexuality was a sin.

The Conservative MP did acknowledge to Morgan and Reid that he voted against gay “marriage.”

However, he wavered some by carefully differentiating between civilly legalized gay “marriage” and marriage as a sacrament under the authority of the Church. He also made a point of saying the same-sex “marriage” issue is not something that would be decided by a political party or the prime minister.

Further, when asked if he thought gay sex is a sin, Rees-Mogg also emphasized that it was not his place to judge what other people do. He also referenced gay “marriage” as a private issue.

Still, Rees-Mogg’s forthright support for Church teaching was to some extent unique for a Catholic politician today, certainly one in contemporary British politics. It drew attention because he’s said to be a possible replacement for Theresa May as party leader.

The Conservative MP is known for his old-fashioned views and courtesy. He has emerged as a dark horse favorite to lead the party with May on shaky ground after last year’s Brexit upset and many desiring a return to proper conservatism.

In spite of Rees-Mogg’s traditional beliefs, “The Telegraph reported, there are those who think he would be a good replacement for May as Prime Minister.

He told the morning TV hosts he was a backbench MP — a status not typically in the running for leadership — and “in the history of the Prime Ministership [the job] has never gone to a backbench MP."

Rees-Mogg said he supported May and wanted her to remain as head of the party, and while the MP said he was 99 percent sure he would not be Prime Minister, he did not completely rule it out.

The father of six was stronger in his responses on abortion in the Good Morning Britain exchange.

“I’m completely opposed to abortion,” Rees-Mogg stated. “Life begins at the point of conception.”

Morgan challenged Rees-Mogg over the variance in the degree of opposition in his responses between same-sex “marriage” and abortion, when both are based on Catholic teaching.

Rees-Mogg said it was different because same-sex “marriage” involves something people are doing with themselves, whereas with abortion it is “something that is done to the unborn child, and therefore it is different.”

"Yes I am,” he responded when asked if he completely opposes abortion in all circumstances, persisting when given the example of rape and incest exceptions.

“I’m afraid so,” Rees-Mogg said, “life is sacrosanct, and begins at the point of conception.”

When posed the question of whether a woman raped by a family member should have the right to abort the baby, Rees-Mogg stated, “My personal opinion is that life begins at conception and abortion is morally indefensible.”

Rees-Mogg shared a video of the interview on his Facebook page, commenting, “et unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam” (Latin for and [in] one holy catholic and apostolic church).

Abortion and gay “marriage” supporters criticized his statements.

“Mr. Rees-Mogg is entitled to his opinion,” a Marie Stopes International spokesperson said. “It does nothing to change the fact that women in the UK have benefited from access to safe and legal abortion for 50 years, and will continue to do so.”

“The views expressed by Jacob Rees-Mogg today clearly illustrate that not only is he unsuitable for high office, but he is also totally out of kilter with the modern Conservative Party,” Matthew Green, chairman of LGBT+ Conservatives, told the UK gay magazine Attitude. “Views like these only serve to cement his unenviable reputation as the honorable member for the 18th century.”

Freddy Gray, a blogger for The Spectator, remarked that it takes courage to say you oppose same-sex “marriage” on national TV.

“Most voters (unlike most journalists) can see the difference between someone who hates gays and somebody who accepts his religion’s teaching,” Gray wrote.

He said as well he wasn’t so sure Rees-Mogg’s strong pro-life conviction would necessarily quash his chances for parliament leadership. Britons can see Rees-Mogg is a man of principle, Gray said, something lacking in Westminster politics.

Catholics received Rees-Mogg’s statements on abortion and gay “marriage” positively albeit with reservation in some cases.

UK Deacon Nick Donnelly commented positively in sharing The Telegraph’s video of the Good Morning Britain interview on Facebook.

“Must watch,” Deacon Donnelly said. “This should give heart to all true English Catholics.”

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) praised Rees-Mogg’s comments.

"It's great to see a politician making an unequivocal stand for the right to life of the unborn, and we thank him for his bravery and integrity,” Alithea Williams, SPUC communications officer, told LifeSiteNews.

“Hopefully, Mr. Rees-Mogg's recent surge in popularity means that the logical, consistent pro-life position he put forward — that life begins at conception, and abortion cannot be justified even in very difficult situations such as rape — will reach and resonate with large numbers of people," Williams said.

Dr. Joseph Shaw, Oxford University philosophy professor and chairman of the UK’s Latin Mass Society, was more reserved in praising Rees-Mogg’s statements.

“Rees-Mogg is refreshing and says things other people are thinking,” Shaw told LifeSiteNews, but he is not a serious candidate for the leadership. Shaw said the MP’s support derives from reaction to the poor quality of the current crop of leaders and the political correctness that characterizes their views.

Shaw said it was a serious mistake for Rees-Mogg to distinguish abortion and same-sex “marriage” on the basis that gay “marriage” is a private matter and abortion one of public justice. He also took issue with Rees-Mogg‘s appeals to Church teaching as though these issues were a matter of ecclesiastical law or faith, as opposed to natural law.

“However, he's not a theologian or a philosopher,” Shaw said, “so perhaps we should give him credit for admitting he has Catholic views at all.”

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Mexican Catholics protest sculpture mixing Virgin Mary with pagan goddess

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The Mexican faithful protest a sculpture merging the Aztec goddess Coatlicue with the Virgin Mary in Guadalajara, Mexico.

September 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Tens of thousands of Mexican Catholics are protesting the erection of a sculpture in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, that merges an image of the Virgin Mary and an Aztec death goddess. They also have complained that the city’s archbishop dropped the ball in the fight to remove the offensive artwork.

The sculpture, which was erected by the city government on the medium of a major thoroughfare, is called “Syncretism,” and combines elements of images of Our Lady of Guadalupe with those of the Aztec goddess known as “Coatlicue,” who was seen as a mother figure who consumes and destroys everything she produces.

The erection of the nine-meter-tall image has provoked massive public protests in the thousands, by Catholics who denounce it for confusing the country’s most important Christian symbol with the very religion of human sacrifice that it helped to defeat 500 years ago.

A group calling itself “The People of Guadalupe” (Pueblo Guadalupano) held a protest near the sculpture on August 27 that drew about 1,500 people, according to city authorities.

Banners have also been hung at different locations in the city asking, “How is it that you don’t understand that this is OUR MOST HOLY MOTHER? YOU are the inquisitor who dictatorially ignores the voice of the majority! JALISCO IS GUADALUPAN!” with the hashtags “Understand it offends us” (#NosOfendeEntiende) “She’s my mother” (#EsMiMadre) and “Respect the people” (#RespetaAlPueblo).

Protesters complain that the public was not consulted by the city government before the sculpture was erected. They are outraged that taxpayers have been charged 5.2 million pesos, the equivalent of about 290,000 USD, for the work.

An electronic petition drive asking for the withdrawal of the sculpture on the activist website CitizenGo has garnered more than 33,000 signatures since August 16. The petition organizer, Emmanuel Torres Renteria, writes that Catholics “consider it a grave offense that, in the name of art, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is being profaned and the message that in itself gave rise to a new mestizo culture that is the Mexican people, is being distorted.”

“We regard this work of syncretism, which brings together the Aztec goddess of death and the Virgin of Guadalupe, as a provocation against Catholics, which also was done at an elevated cost of more than five million pesos, and we cannot permit it,” he adds.

Catholic faithful who carry out all-night vigils of adoration of the Eucharist in Guadalajara parishes were asked to offer their adoration in reparation for the offense committed by the erection of the sculpture, according to the newspaper La Jornada.

Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega perceived as weak

The Catholic archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, has been criticized for defending the author of the work and for attributing the outrage to the incapacity of “simple” people to understand it.

Robles Ortega read parts of a letter written to him by the author of the work, Ismael Vargas, defending his intentions, and said, “I believe that the work in itself, without anyone giving an explanation, is upsetting, it does disturb simple people; that is to say, those who don’t have the capacity to transcend the work of art and its meaning.”

“I think that’s what’s happened,” Robles Ortega continued. “The most simple people, the most humble people with a religious devotion to the most holy virgin, who are accustomed to see her one, classic image, well, they seem to be upset, confused, by this interpretation that seeks to be artistic.”

Robles Ortega also told the press that the archdiocese will not request the removal of the sculpture, although he said that the city government should listen to the opinions of citizens who object to the work.

In an apparently sarcastic response to the cardinal’s statements, a group of faithful calling itself “Simple Catholic People” noted that the prelate’s words “remind us of the nefarious conduct of the ex-abbot of the Basilica of Guadalupe, Guillermo Schulemburg, who, in 1996, denied the existence of Juan Diego and therefore the apparitions of Guadalupe.”

“In the case of Robles Ortega, one would expect of him as a Catholic leader to express a defense of the faith which he supposedly professes,” the group declared. “Instead we hear him defend the author of the controversial work ‘Syncretism,” besides giving a pathetic defense, not of the Catholic faith as such, but of the right of simple Catholics to express their feelings about the topic.”

In contrast to Robles Ortega, city’s archbishop emeritus, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, has made a strong denunciation of the sculpture, and has called for its withdrawal.

“If he (the mayor of Guadalajara) isn’t a believer, well, he might not be a believer. Governing officials aren’t obligated to be believers, but it isn’t just for them to be non-believing persecutors or abusers or to make fun of people. They shouldn’t use art as an excuse to do such things,” Cardinal Sandoval told the local media, and added that the image, which is “being paid for from the public treasury … must be removed from there because it is offensive for the majority of Catholics.”

The city’s mayor, the left-leaning reformist Enrique Alfaro, laughed when asked about Cardinal Sandoval’s denunciation of the sculpture. “No comment,” he told reporters. “In this city everyone has the right to state his opinion.”

Alfaro also shrugged off questions about the cost of the program of public art and the lack of public consultation in selecting such works. “We are moving ahead with the public art program and it’s a program that fills us with pride,” Alfaro said.

The sculpture’s author, Ismael Vargas, claims to be a faithful Catholic, and says the work “is a clear and respectful account of the historic process that permitted the spirituality of the Amerindian cultures to couple with the Christian faith.” His explanation seems to have done little to address the concerns of area Catholics.

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Chris Massoglia
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From homeschooler to big screen: Chris Massoglia stars in pro-life ‘Because of Gracia’

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, September 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Because of Grácia opens in cinemas across the United States this month. LifeSiteNews recently spoke with star Chris Massoglia about his journey from homeschool dance class to Hollywood. Offered a chance to star opposite Nicole Kidman at age 10, Chris found that God had different plans for him.

LSN: Your family never wanted to move to Hollywood. Now that you’re 25, do you want to move there?

Chris: No, not really (He laughs.) I never enjoyed living in L.A. I’ve lived there during what’s called “Pilot Season”... I normally go out to LA for a couple of months during that time, live out there and do a lot of auditions. But I never enjoyed living [there]. It’s dirty, smoggy, and people are hard for me to connect to. It’s hard to tell who’s actually your friend and who’s just trying to build a relationship with you to try to get to someone else. I have met awesome people there and do have great friends there. But I’ve enjoyed Minnesota, and I like living in Minneapolis.

LSN: And you were homeschooled.

Chris: Yes, I was.

LSN: How does a homeschooler end up an actor?

Chris: For me, it was a God thing. I was doing this homeschooled ballet-tap-hip-hop performance class, and at the end of the year we did a little show. There was a lady there who thought I was a cute little kid [and asked], “Do you want to audition for this commercial?” and I said “Sure.” I ended up getting it, and then I auditioned for a big movie with Nicole Kidman when I was 10.

[The producers] were doing a national search for the next rising star and I got picked. I was flown out to New York and I read for the part, and I was one of the top two choices. And so I got an agent in New York and my first job was on “Law and Order.” I kept on auditioning, and I’ve got different roles throughout the years.

LSN: Back up. The Nicole Kidman movie. Apparently you didn’t do it after all.

Chris: No, I didn’t. That film was called Birth, and it was about Nicole [Kidman’s character] and her husband who had been reincarnated as an 11-year-old boy. It had some love scenes with the boy and Nicole Kidman, so my parents didn’t feel comfortable with me doing it.

LSN: What advice would you give to Christian parents who find themselves in such a situation?

Chris: Don’t let the excitement of the opportunities cloud your moral compass. Most parents, especially Christian parents, are protective and have a good idea of what’s right for their kid. It’s hard sometimes when you get these opportunities which could lead to success, open doors and building a career in entertainment. Parents have to not let anything cloud their wisdom.

LSN: Were you OK with your parents’ decision?

Chris: I didn’t even really know: I was 10! I was just excited to go to New York. I loved all the food and the buildings. I was having the time of my life, just being there. I wasn’t bummed at all. I thought it was exciting and cool, and from that I got an agent. It was still an awesome part of my life, so I wasn’t disappointed ... I didn’t know what was going on until a few years later when my parents told me.

LSN: So your parents protected you?

Chris: When I was 13 or 14 I began to read the scripts, but early on my parents [did] and decided if I should audition for different projects or not.

LSN: How old were you in your first big Hollywood film, A Plumm Summer ?

Chris: Thirteen. That was my first feature film where I was a lead. That was pretty exciting.

LSN: Yeah, the Fonz was in it!

Chris: Yes, Henry Winkler. He was awesome. He was so nice, always encouraging us [young actors] and telling us, “You can be the best that you want to be in this industry.”

LSN: And then you were the lead in Cirque du Freak: the Vampire’s Assistant ...

Chris: That was the biggest project I’ve been involved in, as far as the film industry goes. An over $50 million budget, creepy special effects, green screen [work], fight sequences, crazy cinematography stuff. It was a fun set to be on. A lot of famous actors were involved. I worked with an Academy Award winner, Ken Watanabe. I had three or four scenes with him, and that was an awesome experience.

LSN: What challenges did you have as a Christian doing this film?

Chris: Obviously in that project the subject matter was a little darker. There’s a scene where I had to drink blood. There’s a scene where there was some intense vampire stuff going on. I don’t think I was aware spiritually of what I was getting myself into, but it ended up being fine ... God was always with me, and He got me through.

LSN: How did you get involved with the faith-friendly Because of Grácia?

Chris: I was taking a break from auditioning. I had been on a four-year hiatus, going to college, trying to decide where I wanted to be involved in the [film] industry. My pastor was watching a movie, God’s Not Dead, with a friend, and [he] turned to his friend and said, “Wow, wouldn’t it be awesome if Chris could do a movie like God’s Not Dead?” He told me about this, and [how] he was praying that something like that would open up [for me].

I didn’t know how I felt about it because of the traditional stigma of “Christian films” — that they’re ‘cheesy,’ they’re ‘not that great of a storyline,’ they have ‘bad actors.’ I [said], “Well, I don’t know if I want to be involved in a project like that.” But three days later, I got an email from my manager … an audition request for this project called Grácia, and it said, “From the co-producers of God’s Not Dead.” (Chuckles.) I was, like, “OK, Lord, is this You?” Like I said, I hadn’t been doing auditions [...].

I auditioned for [Grácia], and I got the part. We shot the film, and it was one of the best experiences [for me] so far as an actor. I’ve been so blessed to be part of this film, and it’s changed my perspective on how to be involved [in film]. Being a part of Grácia has really opened doors and relationships in this circle of the industry that I had had no exposure to.

LSN: Wait, you’ve been in a $50 million budget movie, and a tiny-budget Christian film opened doors?

Chris: It’s opened doors for me in the industry in a different circle [...] There’s so much changing [in Hollywood now]. People can do a film on a DSLR camera and a $50,000 budget and make two million dollars [... ]There’s a lot of Christians who want to tell their stories … but also bring out a quality product. The tech aspects [of their films are] excellent, the acting is excellent, and the storytelling is excellent [...] I feel like I can be a bridge between the Christian film world and the Hollywood world. I’m excited to see what will came of this new arena that the Lord has led me to.

LSN: As an artist, where do you draw the line between propaganda and art?

Chris: I think that when the story is primary, when you’re trying to communicate a story from your heart, when you’re trying to express something that is a part of you or a belief that you have … that’s art. Propaganda comes when you have an ideology that you’re trying to push through, whatever medium that might be.

LSN: So you think the [pro-life, pro-Christian] Grácia is really about the story? It’s really about those kids?

Chris: Yeah. The writer-director Tom Simes is a high school film teacher up in Canada, and this story was [born] from a lot of his own experiences, kids who were in his class and a lot of real-life issues. So it really is just a story. Tom did an amazing job writing and directing it. When audiences see the film, they will come away saying, “Wow, that was a great story.”

LSN: A critic of the trailer said that she thought the film was trying to tackle too many issues. What do you think?

Chris: Young people today face so much in school, and there are so many different situations that we run into. The objective [of the film] was just to tell a story about characters and about what [they] deal with as seniors in high school. It’s an honest portrayal of what young people are going through today.

LSN: What would you recommend to Christian kids with acting dreams?

Chris: The first priority is [to ask yourself], “Are you doing what God wants you to do?” There’s a difference between having a dream for yourself and really hearing, and being obedient to, what God has [planned] for you. There’s a verse in Matthew that says “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” and everything else will be added …

God called me to lay down my own dreams and my own aspirations of being in the [film] industry, and winning an Oscar … I went through that process of saying “OK, God, I want you to lead my life and my career and my journey in the industry.” That’s when I saw God bring Because of Grácia and this whole new [Christian] arena I spoke about earlier.

For those who feel called to the [film] industry ... make sure you have a good support system and a good community, good friends beyond your parents. Every kid has to have that “flying out of the nest” experience where you leave your parents, what’s familiar, and you make your own decisions. And in that process of becoming an adult, you really do need community because, if you don’t have that, it’s easy to get sucked into the world and everything the world has to offer. The biggest thing is surrounding yourself with the right people and trusting them. Don’t turn your back on those close to you.

LSN: Because of Grácia comes out on September 15. Where are you going to be?

Chris: I’m going to be in Minnesota for opening weekend, visiting the different theatres. The second weekend I’ll be at a theatre down in Iowa. Then we’ll see what happens. The [goals are] for the theatres to be full on opening weekend, for the bookers will see that and want Grácia in their own theatres, and for everyone who enjoys the film to tell their friends, and word of mouth will spread the [news] of the film. We hope to grow to 500 to 1,000 theatres.

We’ll see how the Lord leads it all. I’m excited to see what He does with the final results.  

In an email exchange after the interview, Chris Massoglia told LifeSiteNews, “I am super passionate about life. I speak up for the unborn at every opportunity and am a HUGE supporter of Students For Life because they are impacting the next generation and turning the tide on the pro-life issue in America. I sell LIFE hats on my website and donate the proceeds to Students For Life.”

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Democrat senator attacks Trump nominee for actually upholding her Catholic faith

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Stand with Trump nominee attacked for her Catholic faith. Sign the pledge of support!

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein attacked a Catholic judicial nominee for her faith during a confirmation hearing Wednesday.

"The dogma lives loudly within you," Feinstein, D-CA, told Amy Coney Barrett, a mother of 7 whom Trump nominated for the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Feinstein's comments caused backlash for seemingly violating the Constitution's prohibition of a "religious test" for public officials. Numerous memes mocked Feinstein for sounding like the Star Wars character Yoda.

"When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you," said Feinstein. "And that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country."

Barrett is a professor at Notre Dame Law School. She has co-authored an article about ethical dilemnas for Catholic judges who oppose the death penalty in certain cases. The paper acknowledged that the Church's teaching on the death penalty is not equivalent to its teaching on abortion, because the Church says abortion is always wrong in all cases. 

Barrett has been the target of the left-wing group Alliance for Justice, which released a fact sheet smearing her as a threat to "reproductive rights."

In October 2015, Barrett signed a letter with other prominent female Catholic intellectuals to the prelates at the Ordinary Synod on the Family expressing "solidarity with our sisters in the developing world against what Pope Francis has described as 'forms of ideological colonization which are out to destroy the family.'" 

"We see the teachings of the Church as truth—a source of authentic freedom, equality, and happiness for women," the letter said. The Church's teachings on human sexuality, human life, and marriage "provide a sure guide to the Christian life, promote women’s flourishing, and serve to protect the poor and most vulnerable among us."

Pro-abortion Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin also joined in questioning Barrett's faith. "I’m a product of 19 years of Catholic education," the Illinois senator said. "And every once in a while Holy Mother the Church has not agreed with a vote of mine, uh, and has let me know. You use a term in that article…I’d never seen before. You refer to 'orthodox Catholics.' What’s an orthodox Catholic?"

 

"What that term was designed to capture, because we were talking about contentious objection, was a judge who accepted the Church’s teaching that the death penalty would be impermissible in" a particular case, Barrett replied.

"Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?" Durbin pressed her. 

"I am a Catholic, Senator Durbin," answered Barrett. "If you’re asking whether I take my faith seriously...I’m a faithful Catholic."

The pro-abortion, pro-same-sex "marriage" senator then praised Pope Francis: "There are many people who might characterize themselves [as] orthodox Catholics who might question whether Pope Francis is an orthodox Catholic. I happen to think he’s a pretty good Catholic."

"I agree with you," said Barrett. 

'Aspire to live in such a way that your faith would be scrutinized in Senate confirmation hearings'

"Feinstein’s comments this afternoon revealed that anti-Catholic bigotry is still alive in the U.S., even, and perhaps especially, among those leftists who are the first to decry prejudice and discrimination against other minorities," wrote Alexandra Descantis at National Review.

Catholic University of America professor Chad Pecknold released a series of tweets blasting Feinstein's "chilling" "anti-Catholic bigotry." Others questioned whether a Muslim nominee would have received similar scrutiny.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke speaks with LifeSiteNews Paris correspondent Jeanne Smits in Rome. Olivier Figueras / LifeSiteNews
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Cardinal Burke ‘treasured’ work with deceased dubia Cardinal to oppose ‘gravely harmful confusion’

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ROME, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke paid tribute today to fellow dubia signer Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on his passing after a long illness.

In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Burke said he was “deeply saddened” by the 79-year-old’s death, and that he was a “true man of the Church.”

“In a particular way, I treasured my close association with him, over the past three years, in seeking to dispel the gravely harmful confusion and error regarding the Sacraments of Marriage and the Holy Eucharist,” Burke said.

Caffarra and Burke joined Cardinals Joachim Meisner and Walter Brandmuller in a public call for Pope Francis to clarify that his controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia does not violate the Church’s teaching and tradition. The Pope has thus far not responded and has refused to meet with them.

Caffarra, the former archbishop Bologna, is the second of the four to die after Meisner’s death in July.

The Italian cardinal held a doctorate in canon law and was a specialist in moral theology. In 1981, Pope Saint John Paul II appointed him the founding president of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.

“He had a remarkably profound understanding of the truths of the faith which was the fruit of years of study in which he continued to be engaged until his death,” Cardinal Burke said.

“His work in serving the truth regarding marriage and its fruit, the family, is a most important and lasting heritage,” he added.

“While I am profoundly sad to lose his earthly company, I am happy for him. Praying for the eternal rest of the good and faithful Cardinal, I think of the words of Saint Paul, as he approached death: ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ (2 Tim 4, 7).”

“May those of us who remain on earthly pilgrimage continue the work of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, counting upon the help of his love and prayers.”

 

Cardinal Burke’s full statement

I am deeply saddened by the death of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, a true man of the Church, whom I have been blessed to know for many years. In a particular way, I treasured my close association with him, over the past three years, in seeking to dispel the gravely harmful confusion and error regarding the Sacraments of Marriage and the Holy Eucharist. He had a remarkably profound understanding of the truths of the faith which was the fruit of years of study in which he continued to be engaged until his death. Frequently, he spoke about the extraordinary grace of working with Pope Saint John Paul II in the foundation of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. His work in serving the truth regarding marriage and its fruit, the family, is a most important and lasting heritage. I was just with Cardinal Caffarra for four days in mid-August, giving, with him, presentations on the Sacred Liturgy, Divine Law and the Moral Law. Although it was clear that his health was fragile, he was fully and energetically engaged in teaching, in helping a group of the lay faithful to deepen their understanding of the faith with a view to a more coherent practice of the faith. While I am profoundly sad to lose his earthly company, I am happy for him. Praying for the eternal rest of the good and faithful Cardinal, I think of the words of Saint Paul, as he approached death: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim 4, 7). May Cardinal Caffarra now receive “the crown of righteousness” which Our Lord awards to “all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim 4, 8). May those of us who remain on earthly pilgrimage continue the work of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, counting upon the help of his love and prayers.

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Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards.
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Planned Parenthood: ‘We firmly believe that every person has the right to live’

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The leader of the nation’s most lucrative abortion business used President Trump’s decision to phase out an exemption for illegal immigrants who came to the country as children as a fundraising opportunity.

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards sent a fundraising email to supporters bemoaning the rollback of former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“At Planned Parenthood, we firmly believe that every person has the right to live, work, and raise a family freely,” Richards said without referring to abortion. “We believe in every person’s right to control their own destiny and their own body.”

Planned Parenthood fundraising email: “We firmly believe that every person has the right to live” pic.twitter.com/yLwEhiufaK

— Kate Scanlon (@kgscanlon) September 5, 2017

Richards called Trump’s decision “an attack” on “young people.”

“I’m infuriated. I’m heartbroken,” Richards wrote as she vowed to “fight back against this cruel and heartless decision.”

The Daily Caller and other conservative media called out Richards. The DC’s Jim Treacher responded that Richards believes everyone has the right to live, “that is, assuming a person’s destiny and body haven’t already been torn to pieces by Planned Parenthood. If their extremities haven’t been separated by an abortionist. If they haven’t been killed and sold off for parts.”

“If you’re reading this, I’m glad your brains haven’t been sucked out of your skull and your body dismembered so people like Cecile Richards can make some money,” Treacher concluded.

Twitter users pointed out the irony in Richards’ statement, proclaiming the right to life while taking the lives of more than 300,000 human beings every year.

Except for the human being inside the womb. https://t.co/gavzZJiu89

— Gingeriffic (@mchastain81) September 5, 2017

The lack of self-awareness here is incredible. https://t.co/btFYmzgR6J

— D.E. (@tkdylan) September 5, 2017

NARRATOR: Not every person. https://t.co/t8wiB6LrP9

— RBe (@RBPundit) September 5, 2017

Four Pinocchios https://t.co/9vsZZ518WO

— Michael Garner (@MikeGarner9) September 5, 2017

That kinda defeats the entire mission of Planned Parenthood https://t.co/EHxjRFVeQa

— Brian Griffiths (@BrianGriffiths) September 5, 2017

Well, you actually don't support everybody's right to live or be "deported" unwillingly. https://t.co/30ZVqBLQRk

— Illini4Life (@Illini_in_KS) September 5, 2017

The Red State slammed Richards’ thoughtless comments. “Right to live? Tell that to the 300,000 unborn babies whose lives Planned Parenthood snuffs out every year,” Red State’s Brandon Morse asked. “Fear of deportation or separation? From the womb perhaps.”

Morse charged Richards with saying she believes “in every person’s right to control their own destiny” while “ignoring such right for people before birth.”

He pointed out that Planned Parenthood “has a long history of preying on minorities to sell abortions.” Nearly 80 percent of Planned Parenthoods are within walking distance of black or hispanic neighborhoods.

He opined that Planned Parenthood’s only concern for young immigrants is to keep them here “so it can sell them abortions down the road.”

“Richards can freely say she values life as she takes it hundreds of times a day,” Morse concluded.

The Daily Wire’s Hank Berrien joined in the turkey shoot, writing, “It’s ghoulish that Richards bemoans the deportation of illegal immigrants as a denial of their ‘right to live’ while championing the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of babies every year.”

Twitchy said Richards’ “right to live” declaration was “like PETA endorsing bacon!”

“Planned Parenthood is the biggest abortion provider in the country. Clearly they don’t believe that every person has the right to live,” Brian Anderson of Downtrend summarized. “They also don’t believe in every person’s right to control their own destiny since they take so many of them out without their permission.”

“Whenever there is a stabbing, bombing, or vehicle attack, liberals inappropriately use the occasion to promote gun control,” Anderson said. “Planned Parenthood is operating under the same principal here by trying to make the DACA repeal all about abortion.”

Individuals also commented on the irony of Richards’ statement. NotMyBrothersKeeper2 posted, “So lemme get this straight... The Head Ghoul of Planned Infanticide refers to something OTHER than baby-murdering ‘cruel and unacceptable’???”

Nicholas Virzi, noting Richards’ claim of concern for illegal immigrants, responded, “Your organization deports babies from the womb to the tomb.”

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Wesley J. Smith

Opinion

Judge: ‘Brain dead’ teen could actually be alive

Wesley J. Smith


September 7, 2017 (National Review) — This could be one of the biggest bioethics cases since Terri Schiavo.

A judge has ruled that the teenager, declared dead in California, may not be dead. From the East Bay Express story:

Jahi McMath, the Oakland teenager whose brain death case has sparked national debate, may not currently fit the criteria of death as defined by a state law written in conjunction with the medical establishment, a judge wrote in an order Tuesday.

In his ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stephen Pulido wrote that while the brain death determination in 2013 was made in accordance with medical standards, there remains a question of whether the teenager “satisfies the statutory definition of ‘dead’ under the Uniform Determination of Death Act.”

Bottom line, if she is not brain dead, then by definition, she’s alive. At the very least, there is enough doubt in this case based on Dr. Alan Shewmon’s testimony to induce the judge to issue his ruling:

Pulido heavily cited Dr. Alan Shewmon, who concluded in a court declaration that Jahi doesn’t currently fit the criteria for brain death after reviewing 49 videos of her moving specific fingers and other extremities when given commands to do so.

Shewmon, a professor emeritus of pediatrics and neurology at UCLA, wrote that Jahi “is a living, severely disabled young lady, who currently fulfills neither the standard diagnostic guidelines for brain death nor California’s statutory definition of death.” Shewmon also reviewed an MRI.

Full disclosure. I recently visited Jahi and her mother, along with Bobby Schindler.

That visit reinforced my view, previously written here, that this case demands a much deeper investigation than it has received heretofore, including impartial and thorough renewed medical examinations.

So I am very pleased the case is going forward.

Reprinted with permission from The National Review.
 

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