All articles from October 4, 2017

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Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania's 18th district.
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‘Pro-life’ congressman asked mistress to get an abortion

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By Claire Chretien

October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The mistress of a Congressman who has previously identified as “pro-life” is claiming that he urged her to abort the child of their affair. The mistress claims that the Congressman related to her how he “winced” when staff sent out pro-life social media posts on his behalf. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette revealed in an October 3 article that text messages between Rep. Tim Murphy, R-PA, and the woman with whom had an affair indicate that Murphy doesn’t privately agree with his public “pro-life” views.

"And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options," Murphy’s mistress, Shannon Edwards, wrote to him via text message on January 25, just days before the annual March for Life.

Apparently, Edwards had thought she was pregnant. It does not seem that she actually was.

“I get what you say about my March for life messages,” a text message response from Murphy’s phone,  written by the Congressman, said. “I've never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don't write any more. I will.”

The texts obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ignited a flurry of accusations of hypocrisy from both the right and the left. The news broke the same day the U.S. House voted on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Murphy voted for the bill, which would prohibit late-term abortions on pain-capable babies.

A call to Murphy’s D.C. office was answered with an automated message about the office “not answering” and its voicemail being full. LifeSiteNews left voicemail messages with his Mount Lebanon and Greensburg offices asking for comment, but they were not returned by press time. No staffer answered the phone at either of those two offices.

“I am truly saddened by the fact that anyone would ask a woman to kill their pre-born child no matter what position they hold,” Bryan Kemper of Stand True Pro-Life Outreach told LifeSiteNews. Kemper is also the Youth Director for Priests for Life.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, told LifeSiteNews that the pro-life movement has the "greatest compassion for all those who are tempted to abort and who actually abort a child ."

“That compassion takes nothing away from the intensity with which we advocate for the protection of the children in the womb,” he said. 

Pavone said Murphy has voted the correct way on pro-life issues even if his personal conduct isn’t aligned with those votes.

“If indeed it is true, therefore, that Rep. Tim Murphy suggested to the woman with whom he had an affair that she should have an abortion, we regard him the same way as any other man in those circumstances: the advice is wrong, and our willingness to extend compassionate help and healing continues, whether the abortion happened or not,” he said.

“I do not know Rep. Murphy’s sins, but my prayer for him – as for everyone else – is that whatever those sins are, he find the grace and strength of repentance, and a renewal of his determination to advocate for the weakest among us, the children in the womb,” said Pavone.

“We need to understand that killing an innocent human person is never an option no matter what your actions have brought upon you,” said Kemper. “Abortion is not a band-aid or a quick fix. It is the deliberate killing of a human life.”

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, called Congressman Murphy’s behavior "disappointing and disturbing.”

“His statements and actions are at odds with his own voting record. Inappropriate personal behavior has public ramifications – and in this case, clearly opens him up to charges of hypocrisy,” he said. 

“For his own sake and those around him, our counsel would be for him to bring his behavior in line with his past voting record, not change his policy stance to reflect his wrong behavior,” urged Perkins.

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Filial Correction an act of loyalty to Pope: organizer responds to Opus Dei leader

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The number of signatories of the “filial correction,” charging Pope Francis with permitting the spread of seven heresies, at least by omission, has risen to 216. That is up from 40 when the letter was delivered to the Pope’s residence at Santa Marta on August 11, and 62 when the document was made public on September 24.

But the Correction has also met with criticism, including from a high-ranking priest of Opus Dei.

On September 30, the Vicar General of the Prelature, Msgr. Mariano Fazio of Argentina, accused the authors in an interview with La Nación of attacking the pope, sowing disunity and using the “totally wrong method.”

“If it is a filial relation, a son does not ‘correct’ his father in public,” Msgr. Fazio said.

The second in command of Opus Dei continued: “Any faithful, bishop, cardinal, lay person has the right to tell the pope what he sees fit for the good of the Church. But it seems to me that he has no right to do so publicly and to scandalize the whole Church with these manifestations of disunity.”

We spoke to Joseph Shaw, Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University. Professor Shaw, who serves as spokesman for the filial correction authors, responded to charges that he and the other signatories are airing the Church’s dirty laundry in public. We also discussed why it was necessary to make the Correction public, and in what sense Catholics are called to always “be with the Pope.”

LifeSite: Professor Shaw, Msgr. Fazio has accused the authors and signatories of the “filial correction” — particularly those who are members of Opus Dei — of attacking the Pope and scandalizing the whole Church, saying that “a son should not ‘correct’ his father in public.” In Genesis 9:23, we read about Noah’s sons (Shem and Japheth) “covering the nakedness of their father” out of respect for him, and this was in a private setting. Does Msgr. Fazio have a point? Are the authors and organizers of the “filial correction” scandalizing the Church?

Dr. Shaw: Scandal is a complex concept which should be used with care. Scandal is given when a person’s words or actions cause others to sin. It can be deliberate—‘formal scandal’—or inadvertent—‘material scandal.’ It is also possible for people to ‘take scandal’ without justification, such as the Pharisees who accused Our Lord of blaspheming, when in reality he merely spoke the truth.

As far as ordinary Catholics are concerned, when we see something which is apparently bad happening within the Church, we must be aware that knowledge of this bad thing by a wider audience may cause people to sin: it may undermine their faith, cause them to neglect their religious duties, or, if not Catholic, harden them to the truths of the Gospel. For this reason we can say not only that it is a scandal if, say, a priest is too fond of drink, but also that a person revealing such a thing causes scandal.

However, the situation is complicated by the fact that revealing a private vice is also wrong because it is detraction: it endangers the priest’s good name, which is a very serious matter.

When the bad things happening in the Church are not so much private failings as serious injustices to others, and especially when they begin to be reported, there is an instinct to seek to protect the Church’s reputation by denial, by seeking to explain them away, or by covering them up. What has become very evident in recent decades, however, is that, understandable as this instinct is, it should be resisted. First and foremost, it works against justice. Secondly, it actually causes scandal, because those who become aware of the reality of the situation and of Catholics’ reactions to it are put off the Church because of our apparent indifference to justice. Thirdly, even in the narrowest terms of dealing with bad publicity, it is very often counter-productive, especially in the longer term.

These are hard-learnt lessons of the clerical sex-abuse crisis, perhaps the most expensive education Catholics have had in history.

Non-Catholics, especially serious-minded non-Catholic Christians suspicious of the role of the Pope in the Church, will be scandalised very deeply by the impression that, when a Pope speaks and writes in ways apparently at variance with the Church’s earlier teaching, faithful Catholics remain silent. It will confirm for them the caricature of Catholics as brain-washed slaves of the Pope.

Catholics with respect for the Papal office are vulnerable in a different way, since when they see what appears to be a Pope offering a way out from difficult moral teachings, they will be tempted to ignore those teachings in their own lives: often, indeed, tempted to go much further than anything directly justified by the Pope’s words. These Catholics’ scandal will be deepened by the silence of faithful Catholics, especially pastors and academics known for their earlier defence of these teachings.

There is no question, in this situation, of the signatories ‘revealing their father’s nakedness’: the fact to which they draw attention is evident to all. Indeed, the appearance of a discrepancy between Pope Francis’ indications about the correct interpretation of Amoris laetitia, and the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II and the tradition in general, is something emphasized above all by those who present themselves as supporters of Pope Francis. The only question which remains is whether Catholic pastors and academics would give the impression, in turn, of acting like weather-vanes, and simply change their beliefs to suit the prevailing officially-sanctioned view: keeping ready to change back again under the next pope as necessary. It would certainly cause a scandal if no Catholics were prepared at least to ask some insistent questions about what is going on.

Perhaps critics of the signatories mean, however, that the Correctio causes scandal by revealing divisions in the Church, which would better be covered up. Again, however, these divisions have been emphasised by the Pope’s supposed partisans, who have criticised those still basing their views on the teaching of Pope St John Paul II when, according to them, it has been overturned. What is needed, where there are divisions, is respectful dialogue and a resolution of differences.

If we are to speak of filial obligations, we should remember that the Father to whom ultimate loyalty is due is our heavenly Father. When it comes to popes, we also owe loyalty not only to the current holder of the papal office, but to all the popes who have carried out their office of teaching the faith given to them by that Heavenly Father. The Correctio is an act of loyalty and duty towards our Heavenly Father and our human fathers in the faith, most especially those popes who have transmitted the teaching on marriage and the Eucharist given by Jesus Christ Himself in obedience to His Father.

The “filial correction” has drawn considerable attention in both Catholic and secular media. Why did the authors and organizers of the correction go public with it? And why is it not a “display of disunity,” as the Argentinian Vicar General of Opus Dei suggests? 

Those Catholics concerned about the direction of the debate about remarriage and Communion, and related issues, have made repeated attempts to express these concerns in ways which would not create a public impression of opposition to the person of the Pope. The ‘Filial Appeal’, signed by 800,000 people, was part of a debate called for by Pope Francis before he had composed Amoris. The letter of the ‘13 Cardinals’ and the ‘45 academics and pastors’ appeal to Cardinals’ were, alike, not intended to be public documents. Obviously, in this way these initiatives observed both the letter and the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17 on speaking first to one’s brother in private.

The ‘dubia’ of the four cardinals, like the Correction, was only made public when Pope Francis declined to discuss the matter with the cardinals in any way. This is not the history of a group of Catholics who wish to attack either the person of the present Pope or the Papal office.

It should also be emphasised that Canon 212 permits and encourages lay Catholics not only to manifest their concerns to their superiors, but also to each other. The latter is necessary where there is a danger to the Faith and of scandal to ordinary Catholics which is not being addressed by the proper authorities: in this case, the Holy Father. This is clearly the case where the authorities have declined to respond to a non-public appeal.

Disunity is being displayed in a very public way by Bishops’ Conferences, such as those of Germany and Poland, issuing contrasting guidelines for the application of Amoris, not by those who, concerned about this disunity, appeal for an act of the Magisterium which would bring it to an end.

It is true that the Correction is more strongly worded than previous initiatives: this reflects the escalating seriousness of the situation, and the absence of a response from Pope Francis to the earlier documents.

Can you point to a passage in Scripture, a Doctor or Father of the Church, or perhaps even a famous piece of Literature, that illustrates your point?

Both Testaments of Scripture are replete with examples of subordinates criticising superiors in public. The criticism of the leaders of Israel by prophets and priests, from the public humiliation of King Saul by Samuel, the denunciation of King Ahab by Elijah, and the attack on Herod the Tetrarch by St John the Baptist, are in general the criticism of official, and usually divinely sanctioned, authority, by persons who may have been inspired by God, but who lacked institutional standing. This pattern is taken to its logical extreme by the condemnation of the Elders by the prophet Daniel when only a child (Dan 13:45ff). Our Lord made the situation clear when, while eviscerating the Chief Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, he acknowledged nonetheless that they held ‘the seat of Moses’, a position which meant that people should listen to them as speaking with authority, despite all their shortcomings (Matthew 23:2-3).  

Private remonstrations also take place, a notable example being the prophet Nathan’s criticism of King David, but even this was not intended as a way to hush things up. Nathan speaks of God’s coming punishment of David: ‘For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing in the sight of all Israel, and in the sight of the sun.’ (2 Sam 12:12). In the other cases, it is fair to assume that the prophets realised that the time for private discussion had passed (Matthew 18:15-17). We may take it that this was also so in the famous confrontation of St Peter by St Paul (Gal 2:11).

Commenting on that last passage, St Thomas Aquinas wrote: ‘Where there is a proximate danger to the faith, prelates must be rebuked, even publicly, by subjects. Thus, St. Paul, who was subject to St. Peter, rebuked him publicly.’ (Commentary on the Epistle to the Galations 2:14)

It should be emphasised that when an inferior criticises a superior, he takes a great risk, as demonstrated in a number of the cases mentioned. He does this not only out of zeal for justice, but out of love of the superior. This is a theme particularly developed by Shakespeare, in the Winters Tale, and even more famously in King Lear. In the latter Lear banishes Cordelia and the Duke of Kent for speaking of truth and justice when he wanted flattery. They alone, however, are later revealed as loyal subjects.

It is not criticism which is most to be feared by those in positions of authority, but flattery. As Pope Francis expressed it: ‘The hypocrite is capable of destroying a community. While speaking gently, he ruinously judges a person. He is a killer.’

Again: ‘The hypocrite always uses language to flatter,’ ‘feeding into one’s vanity.’

Msgr. Fazio has said that Opus Dei, like all Catholics, “is always with the Pope.” Do you agree that it is always important to “be with the Pope”?

Of course I agree that we Catholics must always be with the Pope. But we must understand correctly what “to be with the Pope” really means. “To be with,” understood in a correct sense, means to love: that, of course, also implies to help and support, provided that our help and support are in favour of words and actions that are true and just. Now, not all words and actions that come from a Pope are necessarily and absolutely true and just. So, in case they aren’t, true love may justly express itself in the form of a correction. To correct someone who is wrong is a necessary part of human love. To omit a correction when it is necessary would indeed be a grave sin. We know that, under certain conditions, the Pope is infallible (this is noted in the Correction). But it is clear on a number of grounds that we are not dealing with infallible teaching in Amoris Ch. 8, and indeed, early in Amoris Pope Francis distances what he is doing from a contribution to the Magisterium, writing (section 3):

Since “time is greater than space”, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium.

Commemorantes tempus superius esse quam spatium, confirmare volumus non cunctas doctrinales, morales vel pastorales disputationes per magisterii declarationes esse absolvendas.

So it states says that not only these questions are now not addressed with a magisterial kind of statement on the doctrinal level, but also on the moral and pastoral level. It is clear, then, that we have here, properly speaking, no new magisterium, neither doctrinal nor pastoral. It follows, then, that we must go on giving our full assent and support, in these matters, to the really existing Magisterium, settled by the previous Popes, and contrast any kind of opposition to it, whether it comes from theologians or from the Pope himself as a private doctor. It is not enough to say that his opinions are formally contained in a document of the magisterium, when the document itself states explicitly that it is renouncing to make magisterial statements both on a doctrinal and pastoral level.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Something profoundly worrying about criticisms of the signatories of the Correction specifically for speaking out about problems which every informed Catholic already knows about, is the mindset it reveals, one focused not on the truth, but on appearances. It is strongly reminiscent of the mindset at work in abusive families, where children are taught to pretend things are all right, when they are not: certain topics are not to be broached, certain facts are not to be referred to. This attitude can be enforced not by the abusive parent directly, but by other family members who are trying to keep up appearances and hold the family together. It is nevertheless profoundly unhealthy, and indeed is linked to psychological disorders in the children.

We should fear any such attitude, however well-intentioned, invading the Church. If there are problems, we should talk about them, and not pretend they do not exist.

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Pentagon cuts ties with liberal law center that demonized Christian orgs as ‘hate groups’

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By Claire Chretien

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Pentagon no longer uses the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a training resource on extremism, according to a new report.

The Daily Caller obtained internal Department of Defense (DOD) emails through a Freedom of Information Act request. The DOD’s Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute previously used the SPLC as a resource on “hate groups.”

According to an email from Brian J. Field, assistant U.S. attorney from the Civil Division, “all references to the SPLC have been removed from any current training” used by the DOD.

The SPLC lumps pro-life, pro-marriage, and Christian organizations in with neo-Nazis and the KKK as “hate groups.” Its “hate map” inspired a man to attempt a shooting rampage at the Family Research Council’s headquarters in 2012, the first incident of armed domestic terrorism in Washington, D.C.

The media have long cited the SPLC as a reliable source despite the equivalence it claims social conservatives and racists have.

The FBI used to link to the SPLC as a “resource” on hate crimes. It distanced itself from the radical group in 2014, but still lists the SPLC as an organization it has a “partnership” with to fight hate crimes. The SPLC was close to the Obama administration.

The Christian pro-family organization D. James Kennedy Ministries is suing the SPLC for defamation for labeling it a “hate group.”

Accusations of “hate” caused an online donation processor to cut ties with the Ruth Institute, an organization that works to “end family breakdown by energizing the Survivors of the Sexual Revolution,” in September 2017.

In June, backlash caused the “neutral” charity database GuideStar to reverse its decision to use the SPLC’s “hate” label on the nonprofits it tracks.

Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal ministry, is suing GuideStar over this.

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Ontario to ban pro-life witness outside abortion clinics

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, Ontario, October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Ontario Liberal government introduced a bill today to outlaw pro-life witness outside abortion centers across the province.

“In an increasingly polarized society, it is critical that we protect a woman’s right to choose,” Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said in a press conference Wednesday before tabling Bill 163 at Queen’s Park.

“It is critical those protections be enshrined in law to ensure that they cannot be rolled back,” he said. 

The far-reaching proposed law would ban pro-life activity within 50 meters of the province’s eight “dedicated” abortion centers, a distance that could be increased to 150 meters on request.

If an abortion facility moved, the bubble zone would move with it.

The proposed law would also establish a 150-meter bubble zone around the homes of all abortionists and abortion center staff, Naqvi said. 

That zone would move with the abortion providers, to “protect” them wherever they are, he said.

Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national political lobbying group and the country’s largest pro-life organization, says the proposed law will hurt women.

The Liberals are “mounting an attack on women by seeking to prevent pro-lifers from offering mothers accurate information and alternatives to the violence of abortion, said Campaign Life president Jim Hughes.

“Bubble zone legislation isn’t about protecting women and abortion staff workers from violence, because there is no evidence of such violence,” he added. 

Hughes said the proposed law is “about silencing peaceful pro-life witnessing and preventing women from having access to alternatives.”

Mary Ellen Douglas, Campaign Life’s Ontario president, echoed Hughes’ concerns.

“This is another attempt by the Wynne government to do the abortion industry’s dirty work, by preventing people who care deeply about women and their pre-born children from providing them help and support,” she said.

Campaign Life is urging pro-life advocates to lobby their MPPs to stand up for the freedom of speech of all Ontarians and to not cave to the abortion industry’s demands.

The bill would also allow other healthcare locations that provide abortion — including the abortion pill — to apply for a bubble zone.

This would likely mean that pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare centers could apply for a “safe access zone” if they felt it was needed.

Those found in contravention of the newly proposed law could be fined up to $5000 and sentenced to up to six months in jail for a first offense.

Those convicted of a second offense could be fined up to $10,000 and sentenced to up to a year in jail. 

Naqvi did not deny Ontario’s proposed bill is more far-reaching than the bubble zone laws currently in force in British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Quebec.

“We like to think we are leading in the country,” he told reporters.

The Liberals promised bubble zone legislation back in May after Ottawa mayor Jim Watson requested it.

Watson, in turn, had been lobbied by staff at the Ottawa Morgentaler abortion center and Planned Parenthood

Their allegations that pro-life witnesses were harassing women coming into the facility and police were turning a blind eye were amplified by a sympathetic media.

Naqvi repeated the pro-abortion created narrative at Wednesday’s press conference.

“We have heard reports that anti-abortion protests have increased across the province. In my hometown of Ottawa, protests at the Morgentaler clinic have reportedly escalated,” he said.

Naqvi mentioned twice that he’d heard a woman had been “spat on” outside Ottawa’s Morgentaler abortion facility.

But Ottawa pro-life witness Cyril Winter, 69, told LifeSiteNews in an earlier interview the allegations against pro-lifers were “vicious, lying and libelous.”

And the media had it backward about who’s a threat to whom, Winter said. “I get harassed all the time. And these articles have unleashed a torrent of abuse.”

Despite there being bubble zones injunction already in place at various abortion clinics, Naqvi told reporters that the new law will offer “universal protection for all abortion clinics across the province” and at the “homes of abortion service providers.”

As for enforcing the far-reaching bill, the proposed law’s regulations will include demarcation lines of the zones for the eight “dedicated” abortion centers, so people will know to “govern themselves accordingly,” Naqvi said.

The ministry already has plans for working with police forces across the province to instruct them on enforcing the proposed bill, he said. 

To find out who your MPP is, go here

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Southwest Airlines allegedly fires employee for sharing ‘offensive’ pro-life message

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By Fr. Mark Hodges

DALLAS, Texas, October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- A pro-life flight attendant is suing the airline she worked for and the union she belonged to after she was fired for raising concerns about their support for abortion.

Veteran stewardess Charlene Carter of Colorado is suing Dallas-based Southwest Airlines and her local Transport Workers Union of America for religious discrimination.

She has also filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Carter had decried on Facebook her union’s “fees for its political, ideological, and other non-bargaining spending.” She used the social media platform as well as email in February to contact union president Audrey Stone, asking her to speak out against using dues for an all-expenses-paid trip of two dozen union leaders to the January pro-abortion Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

“As a result of my Facebook posts and messages that opposed abortion, and without prior warning that such activities violated its work rules, my employer fired me on March 14, 2017,” wrote Carter in a legal statement about her case.  

“Having a pro-choice position on abortion is not a requirement for performing my duties as a flight attendant,” she added.

In one email to the union boss, Carter included a link to a video showing an abortion.  

“This is what you supported during your Paid Leave with others at the Women’s MARCH in DC,” she wrote. “Wonder how this will be coded” in union accounting,” she wrote.

Southwest sacked Carter in March, specifically for her criticisms. The airline argued that Carter’s posts were “highly offensive,” “harassing,” and “inappropriate.”

But Carter says her criticisms are protected speech by the Railway Labor Act (RLA). She said that if her dismisal is allowed to stand, it would stifle employees’ speech.

“Southwest violated Carter’s rights under RLA … to vigorously exercise ‘uninhibited, robust, and wide-open’ free speech related to flight attendants’ efforts to reorganize Local 556, to collectively bargain with Southwest, and to oppose the union’s leadership and spending,” the lawsuit states.

Carter noted in the lawsuit how the union never punished members who made death threats on social media. She also said that others who share views similar to her own have been disciplined by Southwest Airlines.

“Southwest has subjected approximately thirteen supporters of the recall effort to termination of employment, suspension, repeated fact-findings, and/or other disciplinary measures in the last twelve months,” the lawsuit states.

Carter is suing to get her job back and for lost pay, plus interest.

“Southwest never warned me that using Facebook to protect life was inconsistent with its work rules,” Carter’s complaint to the EEOC states.  “My sincere religious beliefs require me to share with others that abortion is the taking of human life … my employer discriminated against me on the basis of my sincerely held religious belief and speech.”

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation president Mark Mix stands behind Carter.  

“Instead of respecting the rights of a worker they claimed to represent, union bosses used their monopoly over the workplace to have her fired for speaking out and questioning their forced unionism powers,” Mix said.

Commentator Mark Meckler suggested that there is a bias against pro-lifers in the workplace. 

“If you are a highly paid NFL player, on the job, protesting during the national anthem? No problem. But a Southwest flight attendant who is pro-life, expresses her opinions about union support of abortion on Facebook and gets terminated,” commentator Mark Meckler wrote.  

“She’s not even doing it on the job, like someone like multi-millionaire...Colin Kaepernick,” Meckler continued. “Still, he gets applauded, and she gets terminated because she’s conservative and in opposition to the leftist union that supports abortion.”

“You can be sure that if she was posting typical social justice warrior agit-prop on her web page, like rants against Trump, she’d still have her job,” he said.

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Bill banning late-term abortions of pain-capable babies heads to U.S. Senate

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By Claire Chretien

WASHINGTON, D.C. October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill to ban most late-term abortions of pre-born babies who are capable of feeling pain will be introduced in the Senate tomorrow. The bill will be introduced by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, LifeSiteNews has learned. 

Graham will introduce into the Senate the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which passed the U.S. House yesterday 237-189. If passed, the bill would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, when the pre-born baby can feel pain. 

President Trump has promised to sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser called the October 3 U.S. House vote a “win for basic human decency.”

“It’s time for the pro-life majority in the Senate to bring up this bill and force vulnerable pro-abortion Senators up in 2018 to either stand with their pro-life constituents and vote for this bill, or stand with the extreme abortion lobby and vote in favor of late-term abortion-on-demand,” she said.

“This is not a vote that Senator Claire McCaskill or any Senator running in a state carried by President Trump wants to have,” Dannenfelser said. 

McCaskill is a pro-abortion Democrat from Missouri, a state that Trump won in 2016 by just over half a million votes.

The bill needs 60 votes to pass the U.S. Senate. There are currently 52 Republican senators.

Although the bill had passed the U.S. House twice before yesterday, it’s never been able to make it through the U.S. Senate.

“We urge the Senate to follow the House's lead and send this bill to President Trump so he can sign this life-affirming legislation into law," said Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council.

The bill “conforms federal abortion law to modern science,” said Perkins.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is based on a wealth of mainstream medical evidence that pre-born babies feel excruciating pain as abortionists tear them apart limb by limb.

Critics say one shortcoming of the bill is that it does not protect all pre-born babies 20 weeks and older from abortion. It allows exceptions for babies conceived in rape and incest. 

As she argued in favor of protecting pain-capable babies, Rep. Ann Wagner, R-MO, showed her colleagues a large ultrasound image of her granddaughter at 17 weeks old.

Rep. Mia Love, R-UT, noted the law’s “double standard” in how it treats pre-born babies. It’s double homicide to kill a pregnant woman, yet abortion isn’t considered murder, she noted.

“This begs the question – when does the unborn have a right to protection just like their mother?” asked Love.

The U.S. is currently one of seven countries that allow elective late-term abortions on demand.

A number of Democrats used the word “baby” while arguing on the House floor in favor of late-term abortion.

During Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing, Graham explained why he supports the Pain-Capable bill, and that it could end up before the high court, potentially as a challenge to Roe v. Wade

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‘Souls could well be lost’: Moral theologian blasts pro-LGBT Fr. James Martin

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By Lisa Bourne

Urge Pope Francis to remove Fr. James Martin as a Vatican adviser. Sign the petition!

October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Famed moral theologian Janet Smith criticised Jesuit Father Martin’s “slick dissent” from Church teaching on sexuality “and its pernicious influence” in a recent column. She said that his “scandalous” interpretation of Catholic teaching could jeopardize the salvation of the people who hear his message. 

“Souls could well be lost,” she wrote in a column last week for Catholic World Report. Smith is a professor of moral theology at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.

“Anyone reading his book or listening to his talks can reasonably conclude that Father Martin believes the Church does not present correctly God’s plan for sexuality,” Smith said, “that he thinks the culture knows better.”

The book she referenced was Martin’s Building a Bridge, which Smith called “one of the most aggravating instances” of reemerging dissent in the Church.

The book is “full of ambiguity,” she said. 

While Martin continually claims that he doesn’t oppose the Church's moral teaching, Smith noted that “the subtext makes his position clear, as do many statements made in his public presentations." 

“For Catholics who have some background in theology and philosophy it is deeply disappointing when a highly educated priest uses specious arguments to advance his cause,” she said. 

“For those whose every fiber of their Catholic being leads them to want to trust priests, bishops, and religious superiors, such instances of untrustworthiness are scandalous; for those of us who have been fighting dissent for nearly 40 years, seeing a dissenter get ecclesial support and public acclaim is demoralizing,” she added. 

Despite receiving criticism from bishops and cardinals, Martin maintains that he is simply trying to welcome LGBT-identifying Catholics into the Church.

But, as Martin's critics point out, the Jesuit priest neglects to speak about the Church’s call for everyone to reject sinful lifestyles, to confess and repent of sin, and to amend their lives.

Smith notes how Martin also neglects to mention the Church’s longtime ministries for those experiencing same-sex attraction, such as Courage and Encourage, presumably because they convey the Church’s teaching that condemns homosexual activity. 

She noted in the article Martin's tendency to affirm homosexuals in their behaviors. 

“For instance,” related Smith, “at a recent presentation at Villanova University, he told to a young man, ‘I hope in 10 years you will be able to kiss your partner [in church] or, you know, soon to be your husband.’”

The moral theologian said that while she was “profoundly frustrated” that Martin’s views have a wide audience within the Catholic Church, she was also “gratified, inspired, and consoled” that so many faithful Catholic leaders have refuted his thinking. 

She cited, among others, a critique of Martin's outreach coming from Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, Theologian Eduardo Echeverria, and Father Roger Landry. Added to this list would be Cardinal Robert Sarah and Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki. 

“We should commit ourselves to distributing copies of these refutations to others whenever his name comes up,” said Smith.

Smith also criticised Martin’s “welcoming effort,” saying that it was an approach that “seems largely condescending.” 

“Instead of challenging people to embrace the fullness of the faith, he tries to hide or downplay, or even reject, the teachings of the Church in order to appear welcoming,” she said. 

“True welcoming means we make it clear we want everyone to join us in following Jesus; we want to share with others the truth and beauty we know, and we will do our best to explain beliefs and teachings that might be hard to understand or accept,” she continued. 

“We do so not thinking we are any better than anyone else but wanting to be faithful to our beloved Jesus, who commissioned all Christians to stand up for challenging truths,” she added. 

The moral theologian said that those who want to be welcoming and compassionate to those who experience same-sex attraction need to learn about causes and treatment, Church teaching, and how to listen to those who suffer from the attraction. 

She linked to her book with Courage International Executive Director Father Paul Check, Living the Truth in Love - Pastoral Approaches to Same-Sex Attraction. 

And she recommended the book Out of a Far Country, co-written by a mother and her son on their journey into Christianity through dealing with his homosexuality, as well as Daniel Mattson’s Why I Don't Call Myself Gay.

Smith also suggested books by Andrew Comiskey, who ministers to those with same-sex attraction, citing, in particular, his book The Naked Surrender.

“We cannot and must not be content simply to rant and rave and wail because of Father Martin’s slick dissent and its pernicious influence,” concluded Smith.

“We must be the ones reaching out with genuine love, a love that strongly believes in the transforming and fortifying power of grace to enable us to embrace God’s plan for sexuality, whatever challenges it presents,” she added. 

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St. Peters and the Vatican Shutterstock
Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa


Pope Francis’ teaching has ‘split’ the Church: Philosopher

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By Lisa Bourne

October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis’ 2016 exhortation on marriage and family has already “split” the Catholic Church, causing division among bishops and marginalizing priests, a prominent German Catholic philosopher said.    

The split within the Church concerning Amoris Laetitia (AL) has already taken place,” said Professor Robert Spaemann in an interview with OnePeterFive’s Maike Hickson. “Different bishops’ conferences have published contradictory guidelines. And the poor priests are left alone,” he added.

Spaemann, a former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and long-time friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict, discussed during the interview Dr. Joseph Seifert’s removal from a Spanish university for having criticized the pope’s teaching in AL. He also discussed some of the other chilling effects the pope’s exhortation has had throughout the Catholic Church globally.

The philosopher related how an African priest recently visited him and tearfully shared the prospect the priest faces of suspension should he refuse Holy Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics living in habitual adultery.

“The Commandment ‘Thou shalt obey God more than man’ also applies to the teaching of the Church,” said Spaemann.

“If the priest is convinced that he may not give Holy Communion to the ‘divorced and remarried’ then he has to follow the word of Jesus and the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Church. If he is being suspended for it, he has become a ‘witness to the Truth,’” he added.

Spaemann said the Church’s doctrine prohibiting adultery is likely the most ignored today.

He urged Catholics, whether laity or priests facing the demand to give Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, to remain faithful to the unchanging teaching and practice of the Church.

“Those priests, who would be now forced by their superiors to give Holy Communion to public and unrepentant adulterers, or to other notorious and public sinners, should answer them with a holy conviction,” said Spaemann, namely that ‘Our behavior is the behavior of the entire Catholic world throughout two thousand years.’”

When Spaemann, who grew up under National Socialism, was asked how he would advise Catholics in the current difficult state of the Church, he replied: “It was easier during Nazi times to be a faithful Christian than today.”

When Spaemann was asked if, as a philosopher, he agreed with the argument that new social changes must also bring forth a change of the moral laws, he answered in the negative. He adding that even should applications of the law change, “the principles of the moral law are always and everywhere the same.”

“If there exists a dominant view and that dominant view contradicts the moral law, the essence of man,” Spaemann said, “then the whole society is in a sorry state.”

'Unity...based upon the truth'

Spaemann related during the interview how he was shocked at Dr. Seifert’s removal from his teaching post. Archbishop Javier Martínez Fernández, bishop of Granada, Spain, removed Seifert — a close friend of the late Pope St. John Paul II — from his position at the International Academy of Philosophy in Granada in August after Seifert had published a critique of Pope Francis’ exhortation. 

Spaemann criticized Archbishop Martinez’s claim that Seifert was confusing the faithful and undermining the Church’s unity.

“The unity of the Church is based upon the truth,” he said.

“What Seifert criticizes is the breach with the continuous teaching of the Church and with the explicit teachings of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II,” Spaemann said. “Saint John Paul once, in Veritatis Splendor, stressed, explicitly, that there is no exception to the rejection of the 'remarried' divorcees with regard to the Sacraments. Pope Francis contradicts the teaching of Veritatis Splendor just as explicitly.”

The philosopher said that the removal of Seifert has sent shockwaves to all Catholic centers of higher education.

“Every philosopher who works in an ecclesial institution now has to ask himself whether he can still continue his service there,” he said.

Not long after the April 2016 release of AL, Spaemann had said that changing the Church’s sacramental practice would be “a breach with its essential anthropological and theological teaching on human marriage and sexuality.”

“It is clear to every thinking person who knows the texts that are important in this context that [with Amoris Laetitia] there is a breach” with the Church’s Tradition, he said at that time.

Last December Spaemann said the four cardinals who had submitted the five yes-or-no questions (dubia) to Pope Francis for clarification on AL had chosen the right path. He said it was deplorable that only four cardinals had done so.

Spaemann said that the Church’s magisterium was “debased” by Pope Francis’ refusal to answer the four cardinals.

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Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent


Opus Dei leader says Filial Correction signers ‘attack the pope’

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – An Opus Dei leader has denounced the signatories of a recently-published “filial correction” of Pope Francis regarding “heresies” propagated by the pontiff.  

The order’s Vicar General, its second-ranked prelate, accused the more than two hundred scholars and clergy who have signed the Correction of “attack[ing] the pope” and airing the Church’s dirty laundry in public. 

“Lamentably this isn’t the first time in the history of the Church in recent years in which there are groups of people that attack the pope, some of whom, I imagine, with good intention,” Monsenor Mariano Fazio told the Argentinean daily La Nacion in an interview published on September 29.

“It seems to me that, on one hand, that it’s an example of the freedom of opinion that exists in the Church and that the pope respects,” added Fazio. “It seems to me on the other hand that it’s a completely erroneous method because, if we’re talking about a filial relationship, a child doesn’t ‘correct’ his father in public.”

“Any member of the faithful, bishop, cardinal, or layman, has the right to tell the Pope what he thinks for the good of the Church, but it seems to me that he doesn’t have the right to do so publicly, and to scandalize the whole Church with these manifestations of disunity,” Fazio said.

Opus Dei, meaning “work of God,” is an organization recognized by the Catholic Church that teaches that the ordinary life is a path to sanctity. It was founded in Spain in 1928 by priest and saint Josemaría Escrivá.

Asked about the adherence to the Correction of the Italian Opus Dei supernumerary Ettore Gotte Tedeschi, who formerly led the Vatican Bank, Fazio said, “I regard him also as having made a mistake, like the rest of those who have signed.”

Fazio also expressed his desire that members of the Roman Curia “have a greater spirit of collaboration and service with the reform that the pope wants to carry out,” and claimed there is only “a small group that resists the pope,” which he characterized as a “noisy minority.”

Fazio’s rejection of public acts of correction contrasts sharply with the words of the Filial Correction, which cites  the public rebuke of St. Peter by St. Paul recounted in the latter’s Epistle to the Galatians, and adds, “Thomas Aquinas notes that this public rebuke from a subject to a superior was licit on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning the faith (Summa Theologiae 2a 2ae, 33, 4 ad 2), and ‘the gloss of St Augustine’ adds that on this occasion, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects” 

Correction continues to gain support

The Filial Correction was submitted privately to the pope in August and made public on September 23. It was initially endorsed by 62 scholars and clergy, but the number has since grown to 216, with new signatures being added daily. 

The Correction states that Pope Francis has “effectively upheld” seven heretical propositions regarding the sinfulness of adultery, binding nature of moral law, and the reception of the sacraments of the Catholic Church, although it does not judge him personally guilty of the sin of heresy.

The document is written in a respectful but firm tone, expressing “profound grief” at the necessity of correcting the pope, “on account of the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness.”

Critics of the Correction have responded with a barrage of mudslinging but have said little about the substance of the document. The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has called for dialog with the signers.

Related LifeSite coverage:

The worldwide impact and significance of the ‘filial correction’

Criticism of Pope’s teaching not based on faulty translation: Filial Correction signer

Catholics can never ‘assent’ to Communion for habitual adulterers: Filial Correction signer

Critics of the Filial Correction are wrong. Here’s why

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Center for Medical Progress lead investigator David Daleiden American Life League
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

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Pro-lifers rally to save activist from prison for exposing Planned Parenthood

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By Claire Chretien

October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life leaders are rallying to save pro-life activist David Daleiden from massive fines and a prison sentence. Daleiden was targeted with legal action from the abortion industry for his exposé of Planned Parenthood that allegedly caught the abortion giant selling body parts from aborted babies for profit.  

Pro-life leaders are holding a live video webcast on Thursday evening (October 5) to update the public about what they say is a “huge, new breakthrough” in the case that they hope will help Daleiden win his legal battle against the abortion giant.

The pro-life leaders will lay out during the webcast a strategy to raise a $1 million war chest needed to help Daleiden win. 

Daleiden, who exposed Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts trafficking via his Center for Medical Progress (CMP) investigation, faces 15 felony charges from the pro-abortion Attorney General of California, Xavier Becerra.

"David stood up to Planned Parenthood's abortion empire. Now we need to stand up for him," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony List.​

Pro-life activist and entrepreneur Royce Hood​ called Daleiden​'s case “one of the most critical cases of our lifetime.”

“The implications for everyone are staggering,” he told LifeSiteNews. 

Daleiden has already been held in contempt of court for releasing court-censored videos showing the National Abortion Federation’s conference.

In June, the San Francisco Superior Court dropped 14 of the 15 criminal charges against Daleiden with the possibility of Becerra re-charging him at any time. But the 15 felony charges are now back on the docket.

Even though Daleiden showed the abortion industry breaking laws, he and CMP, not the abortion industry, are the ones now facing legal trouble.

The webcast will share new details about Daleiden’s legal battle and ways in which pro-lifers around the country can help.

“My undercover videos caught top-level Planned Parenthood leadership cavalierly negotiating the harvesting and sale of tiny baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains, and Planned Parenthood’s criminality evidenced on the tapes has been confirmed by two comprehensive, nationwide Congressional investigations,” Daleiden told LifeSiteNews in a statement.

“The only difference between my undercover videotaping and what local news journalists do every day is that I exposed the California political establishment’s sacred cows—Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation,” he said. “Now, the First Amendment rights of all Americans are threatened by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s selective and bogus prosecution meant to cover-up for Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby body parts.”

Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of Thomas More Society, called Daleiden​​'s legal battle "classic David versus Goliath.”

“The Goliath in our story is the evil abortion empire, whose well-funded culture of death embodies corruption and graft...Our David, the little guy in this battle, has exposed Planned Parenthood's inhumane practices. He has struck a national nerve, as shown by the nationwide efforts to defund taxpayer-funded abortion,” he said. 

The webcast promises to share how “a huge, new breakthrough in this case can help David win his epic struggle against the abortion giant.”

It will also provide listeners with updates on the battle to defund Planned Parenthood – and the role Daleiden’s videos are playing in this.

Listeners will also be able to ask Daleiden questions.

“People of integrity cannot stand by and allow this travesty to continue unchecked,” said David Bereit, an international pro-life activist formerly of 40 Days for Life. “If you’ve not previously taken a firm stand for what is good and true and right – THIS is now the time to take that stand.”

“The CMP footage shows the callousness of the ‘abortion empire’ and their complete lack of illusions about brutally dismembering small human beings,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List.

A link to sign up and more information on the webcast can be found at

Brejcha, Hood, Bereit, and Dannenfelser will join Daleiden on the webcast. So will former Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and Former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Brent Ferreira.

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The Editors


2018 March for Life theme announced: ‘Love Saves Lives’

The Editors

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. March for Life announced its 2018 theme, “Love Saves Lives,” at a press conference Tuesday.

“Choosing life is not always easy, but it is the loving, empowering, and self-sacrificial option,” said Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life. 

“Love is universally attractive because it is directed towards others. Love is what we all strive for because deep-down we are all drawn to give of ourselves in this way. Love saves lives in countless ways,” she added.  

The March for Life, the world’s largest annual human rights demonstration, will be held on January 19, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Pam Tebow, mother of NFL and MLB player Tim Tebow, has already been announced as the keynote speaker for this year’s Rose Dinner, held the evening of the March for Life.

Stephanie Gray, co-founder of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, will be keynoting the March for Life Conference on January 18, 2018.

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