All articles from November 10, 2017


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Giving bishops final word on Mass translations would ‘destroy’ Church unity: Cardinal Muller

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November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- The unity of the Church would be “destroyed” if bishops’ conferences, not the Vatican, had the final word over translations of liturgical texts, said Cardinal Gerhard Müller in a recent interview. 

The former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expressed reservations in an interview with Passauer Neue Presse published Wednesday about Pope Francis’s recent liturgical reform that allowed bishops to oversee and approve translations.

“The ultimate authority in the case of doubt cannot lie with the Episcopal Conferences, which would destroy the unity of the Catholic Church in faith, confession and prayer,” the cardinal said, as reported by Catholic Herald.

Muller made the comment despite Pope Francis having publicly corrected Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, for making a similar statement last month. 

Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, had claimed in an article that the pope's new directives on the liturgy did not allow bishops’ conferences, but the Vatican, to have the final word on Mass translations. He was simply reading the Pope’s directives through the lens of a 2001 instruction titled Liturgiam Authenticam

But the Pope told Sarah that those norms had been abrogated and that the Cardinal had misunderstood the Pope’s directives. 

Muller said in the interview that he has “often experienced that the translators used by the bishops have watered down the biblical and liturgical texts on the pretext of better comprehension.”

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Catholic agency denies adoption to couple who hold Christian view of sexuality

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November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Christian couple in the Canadian province of Alberta have been told by local Catholic Social Services and the provincial government that they are unfit to adopt children because they accept Biblical teaching regarding the immorality of homosexual acts, according to their attorneys at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

The married couple, whose initials are given as “C.D. and N.D,” have filed a civil suit against the province alleging religious discrimination, and calling the decision to reject their candidacy for adoption “unreasonable and void by virtue of arbitrariness, bias, bad faith, as well as breaches of procedural fairness and natural justice.”

They ask that a declaration be made that “the decision to deny adoption violates sections 2(a) and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Alberta Bill of Rights and the Alberta Human Rights Act,” and that they be permitted to become adoptive parents, according to the Justice Centre.

The Justice Centre reports that the couple submitted an application to adopt a child with the province’s Child and Family Services in October of last year. The province assigned their case to Catholic Social Services in Edmonton, which reviewed the couple psychologically, financially, and economically, and recommended that they be approved for adoption.

However, in March of this year, Catholic Social Services informed the couple that the province’s Child and Family Services had additional questions regarding their beliefs about homosexuality, in light of the fact that they are Evangelical Christians. The couple “reiterated their commitment to treating any child in their care with unconditional love, respect, and compassion regardless of what the child chose to do, and regardless of the child’s sexual orientation or behavior,” in the words of the Justice Centre.

RELATED: Liberals now claim Christian parents are dangerous. This is an existential threat we can’t ignore

Despite this assurance, Catholic Social Services informed them that they would reverse their recommendation to approve the couple for adoption, because they wouldn’t be able to “help” a child who “has sexual identity issues.” In May, the couple was informed by Alberta’s Child and Family Services that they would not be approved because they “reject” LGBT children, and that this is the “official position of the Alberta government.”

“Making determinations about who is suitable to adopt on the basis of their sincere religious beliefs violates this couple’s right to religious freedom and equality under the law as guaranteed in the Charter and in Alberta’s own Bill of Rights and Human Rights Act,” said Justice Centre president John Carpay in a press release.

“If left to stand, this decision would have grave consequences for the freedoms of all Canadians, not to mention adverse consequences for the many children who will never be adopted if the government continues with this discrimination,” he added.

Catholic Social Services told LifeSite, “We are currently working with Child and Family Services to address the concerns that have been raised.” However, the agency has not yet responded to questions seeking verification or denial of the accusations made against them.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual unions are "intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law,” and adds that “under no circumstances can they be approved.” Moreover, the Holy See’s 2003 instruction on homosexual unions declares that “all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions.”  The Bible repeatedly condemns homosexual behavior as a grave sin.

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Only robots would blindly follow a Pope in error: Catholic academic

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November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Catholics who insist that the faithful are duty-bound to submit to a pope whose teachings clearly contradict previous popes and even the Bible inadvertently fulfill the “crude protestant caricature of papal authority,” wrote Catholic academic Dr. Edward Feser. 

“Protestants sometimes accuse Catholics of believing that a pope has the authority to make up new doctrines or even to contradict Scripture,” wrote Feser, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College in California, in an article published in Catholic World Report October 30. 

According to the “crude protestant caricature of papal authority,” if a pope “decided one day to add a fourth Person to the Trinity, or to declare abortion morally permissible, or to delete the Sixth Commandment, then – so the idea goes – Catholics would be duty bound to salute crisply, bark an enthusiastic ‘Yes, sir!,’ and fall in line robotically with the new doctrine du jour.”

Feser said the reverse is actually true, namely that the Church “puts the pope in a doctrinal box.”

“Even when he is speaking ex cathedra [authoritatively from the chair], he must stay within the parameters he has inherited,” he said. 

“He can draw out implications implicit in earlier doctrine, but he cannot make up new doctrines out of whole cloth. And what he teaches must be consistent with the entire body of past binding teaching. He is not permitted to contradict past doctrine and he cannot pit one doctrine against another,” he added. 

The professor in his article was responding to arguments made by Dr. Robert Fastiggi in support of the Pope Francis’s recent move to seemingly overturn Catholic teaching on capital punishment by declaring “contrary to the Gospel.” 

The professor quoted from recent Vatican Councils to demonstrate how the pope is tasked by God to, in the words of the First Vatican Council, “not…make known some new doctrine, but…religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.”

He also quoted the Second Vatican Council’s teaching that the Church cannot teach contrary to Scripture.

“[T]he living teaching office of the Church… is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully,” Feser quoted of Dei Verbum [Word of God].

The professor said that a pope is not permitted to “work around these restrictions by coming up with novel reinterpretations of Scripture or of past binding doctrine.”

He quoted from the First Vatican Council which taught that the “meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy Mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.”

Added the Council: “May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along… but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding.”

Feser said that the pope is “not protected from all theological error when not speaking ex cathedra [from the chair].

“This is not some novel opinion put forward by theological liberals or radical traditionalists. On the contrary, the Church has always recognized this, and it was commonly acknowledged in the very conservative approved manuals of theology in the pre-Vatican II period,” he said. 

He quoted from Van Noort’s 1957 Dogmatic Theology to back his point. 

“All theologians admit that the pope can make a mistake in matters of faith and morals when so speaking: either by proposing a false opinion in a matter not yet defined, or by innocently differing from some doctrine already defined. Theologians disagree, however, over the question of whether the pope can become a formal heretic by stubbornly clinging to an error in a matter already defined. The more probable and respectful opinion, followed by Suárez, Bellarmine and many others, holds that just as God has not till this day ever permitted such a thing to happen, so too he never will permit a pope to become a formal and public heretic. Still, some competent theologians do concede that the pope when not speaking ex cathedra could fall into formal heresy.”

Commented Feser: “Notice that the Church permits theologians to hold that a pope could even in principle fall into formal heresy when not speaking ex cathedra, and some approved theologians have in fact held this, even if they disagreed about how likely this is in practice.”

The professor went on to answer the argument that a pope should never be accused of error because it could serve to undermine people’s confidence in the office of the pope and in papal authority. 

“In fact, the opposite is the case. You cannot reinforce people’s confidence in the papal Magisterium unless you first make it clear exactly what are the scope and limits of that Magisterium,” he said. 

“When well-meaning theologians…tie themselves in logical knots in order to avoid having to admit that a pope might have misspoken or made a mistake when not speaking ex cathedra – despite the fact that the Church herself has always acknowledged that this can happen! – they reinforce the slander that Catholics are committed to what I have called the Crude Protestant Caricature of papal authority,” he added.

Feser said that arguing that Catholics must follow a pope when and if he commits doctrinal error does not help anybody. 

“In particular, they give (however unintentionally) the false impression that popes can reinvent doctrine at will and simply stipulate, by dictatorial fiat, that the novelties they are teaching are ‘scriptural’ and ‘traditional,’ he said 

“They thereby make a laughingstock of Catholic claims to have preserved the deposit of faith whole and undefiled. And they thereby undermine confidence in the papal Magisterium. Non-Catholics are liable to conclude that Catholic claims about the papacy are a kind of Orwellian sophistry. Some Catholics are liable to conclude this too, and to lose their faith as a result – whereas if they were reassured instead that the Church does not require them to deny the obvious, their faith will be saved,” he added.

Feser’s position is similar to that of Catholic philosopher Dr. Josef Seifert, who recently argued that faithful Catholics “have an obligation” not to follow or obey the Pope if he clearly contradicts perennial teachings of the Catholic Church.

“I think that as soon as we find that a new teaching is false, we are obliged not to obey it. And as soon as we find a new pastoral decision of the Pope inapplicable in good conscience, such as giving the sacraments to unrepentant sinners on the basis of an (impossible for us) ‘discernment’ of whether their sin is compatible with their being in the state of grace for subjective reasons, we are likewise morally obliged not to obey it,” he said in an interview this month. 

There can be no real “unity with the Pope” unless there is a prior unity based on “truth,” he said.  

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‘Avalanche’ of opposition forces Canadian gov’t to keep protections for religious services

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OTTAWA, November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — After huge backlash from the public, faith leaders and pro-family groups, a Liberal-dominated committee voted to keep Canada’s only law explicitly protecting religious services and clergy on the books.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government nixed the section from the Criminal Code in Bill C-51, legislation intended to clear allegedly redundant, unconstitutional, or outdated sections from the Criminal Code.

But in its review of Bill C-51, the House of Commons justice committee voted Wednesday to keep Section 176 in force.

That section outlaws the use of threats or force to stop “a clergyman or minister from celebrating divine service,” and the wilful disruption of “an assemblage of persons met for religious worship or for a moral, social or benevolent purpose.”

NDP MP Alastair McGeorge told the committee he’d received “an absolute avalanche” of emails to keep the section, according to the National Post.

“I’ve got a pile of letters in my hand right now written to me by children, who obviously feel this is very important to them.”

That was echoed by Conservative MP and justice critic Rob Nicholson, who said his office received 900 emails over the weekend.

The committee vote came days after a gunman killed 26 people in a Baptist church in Texas on Sunday.

Nicholson said he was thinking of Section 176 when watching news Sunday of the massacre, reported Canadian Press.

The committee voted to update the section’s language to be gender neutral and clearly encompass all faiths, as well as all “religious and spiritual officiants,” it reported.

Sixty faith leaders signed a letter to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould objecting to the removal of Section 176.

Wilson-Raybould appeared before the committee to reiterate the government’s rationale for dropping the section, which is the Criminal Code has other sections outlawing assault, causing a disturbance, and inciting hatred against identifiable groups.

Deleting Section 176 would “not in any way undermine Canadians’ ability to practise their religious faith, nor do I expect it to lead to an increase in violence in such situations,” she said.

But the letter, co-authored by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and the Association for Reformed Political Action, disputed this rationale.

“An attack against a religious assembly or the deliberate assault of a religious official outside a  house of worship is a different kind of offence from other public disturbances, assaults, threats  or incitement to hatred,” it read.

“An offence against a people at worship reverberates through the community and touches every member. An offence against one particular person or community at worship has an impact on all religious adherents.”

Statistics Canada data released in 2017 showed that 35 percent of “hate motivated crimes” in 2015 were “motivated by hatred of religion,” added the letter.

“The removal of section 176 would send the wrong message in our current climate.”

CCCB president, Bishop Lionel Gendron and Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins were among religious leaders who presented to the committee last month to argue the same point.

Faisal Mirza, the chair of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, reminded the committee that months before January’s fatal shooting a Quebec City mosque, someone put a pig’s head at the mosque’s door.

"We cannot be blind that the current climate of increased incidents of hate, specifically at places of worship, supports that religious leaders may be in need of more, not less, focused protection," he said.

Evidently, the committee heard.

“I don’t believe that [Section 176 is] clearly obsolete, there have been charges laid in recent times, and I don’t think that it’s clearly redundant,” said Liberal MP Colin Fraser.

“Given that there is a seeming rise in volatility and level of intolerance that should be completely rejected, I’m persuaded that section 176 should remain in the Code, that it does serve some purpose.”

Committee chair, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, echoed this.

Section 176 “allowed many religious groups to feel recognized within the Criminal Code, to feel that their services had a special recognition and protection and we didn't see the value in removing it,” he told Canadian Press.

“I do think in Canada today, with the number of incidents that happen at churches, synagogues and mosques, with whatever is going on right now across the country, the last thing I want any religious group to feel is they have less protection than they did before,” he said.

The justice committee’s amendment, however, must still be approved by a vote in the House of Commons.

Bill C-51 will then go to the Senate, which could amend it further.

RELATED: Trudeau gov’t wants to remove Canada’s only federal law protecting freedom of worship

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Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme processes with the Eucharist at an event outside George Tiller's famous late-term abortion facility. Courtesy of the Diocese of Wichita
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Bishop offers Mass outside notorious late-term abortion facility

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WICHITA, Kansas, November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Wichita, Kansas Bishop Carl Kemme, along with seven priests of his diocese, celebrated a Mass for life on the last Saturday of October at the site where the late notorious abortionist George Tiller plied his trade.

Bishop Kemme thanked the hundreds present at the Mass to pray for the unborn - “the most precious of God’s unrepeatable gifts, human life,” the Catholic Advance reported, and said they were doing something mystical, surrounding the abortion facility with sacramental and sanctifying grace.

“Here in places such as this, all over the country and the world, the prince of darkness and death is honored and adored,” said Bishop Kemme. “Here the devils rejoice when the darkness is made darker and death is made more horrific by the choice in this building and others like it, to destroy a life created in the image and likeness of God.”

Some 250 of the faithful took part in the Mass and a Eucharistic Procession on the west side of the existing facility on that cold morning, the Wichita diocese said.

The bishop said the Mass celebrated at that location was an appropriate end to Respect Life Month, “to offer the perfect Sacrifice of the Prince of Light and Life as a remedy for sin,” and to “flood this place with the graces and blessings of goodness and light.”

The Mass was offered for longtime Kansas pro-life advocate David Gittrich, who passed away October 17.

Kemme, along with Kansas’ other three bishops, issued a firm pre-election statement for Catholics last fall that included keeping abortion to keep the “human rights catastrophe” of abortion “at the forefront of their minds when voting.”

Bishop Kemme also led five busloads of Catholics from the Diocese of Wichita to protest the Satanic Black Mass in Oklahoma City in 2014.

He told the faithful at the recent Mass for life in Wichita that Christians combat evil by “the outpouring of goodness, virtue, mercy, compassion, decency, purity and truth – flooding the darkness with the more powerful light of Christ.”

“Here God can change hearts long after we depart today,” said Bishop Kemme, “here will have been offered the Mass of Christ on Calvary, who died that we might live; and here we’ll use Him who is blessing itself, to bless this ground on which we stand, a blessing we pray will remain to continue the fight against our ancient foe.”

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Polish bishops back campaign to ban abortion: ‘no justification for killing children’

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WARSAW, Poland, November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A committee of Polish bishops has released a statement asserting the right to life of the unborn child and putting the committee’s weight behind a new abolitionist campaign.

The letter, signed November 8, appeared 13 months after the defeat of a bill that would have made abortion in Poland illegal in almost every circumstance. Currently the law allows for the abortion of children conceived in rape, children with severe disabilities, and children whose gestation puts their mother’s life or health in jeopardy.

The Bishops’ committee said that every child,  “even the sick child”, has the right to live. Citing modern scientific evidence that human life begins at conception, the bishops stated that “protecting the lives of unborn children is not only a question of religion or belief, but is one of the most fundamental duties of every human being.

In addition, the committee encouraged all Poles to support the postcard campaign of the abolitionist group “Zatrzymaj aborcję” (“Stop Abortion”). This campaign seeks to convince the government to extend the protection of Polish law to all unborn human beings. The deadline for receiving the postcards is midnight November 20/21.

 

Official text of letter:

Appeal of the Presidium of the Polish Bishops’ Conference on the protection of the right to life from the moment of conception to natural death.

The right to life is a fundamental right of every human being.  Every child has the right to live, even the sick child. We must especially protect the right [to life] of a defenceless child living below the heart of its mother, just as we protect the life of a child after its birth. The fact that from the moment of conception there is already a human being in existence – although only in the embryonic stage – is indisputable according to modern science. Protecting the lives of unborn children is not only a question of religion or belief, but is one of the most fundamental duties of every human being.

Saint John Paul II found no justification for killing children.  In the Encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” he affirmed: «The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a foetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action."» (Evangelium Vitae, 57).

In connection with this, the Presidium of the Polish Bishops’ Conference encourages everyone to support the citizens’ legislative initiative “Zatrzymaj aborcję” (“Stop Abortion”) which is aimed at greater protection for the life of the unborn child (www.zatrzymajaborcje.pl). This is an important step towards the protection of all life from the moment of conception to natural death.  In a few days, the time for collecting signatures will end, so once again we encourage you to support this initiative. Signed cards should be sent to the organisers [by 21st November] so that they can reach [the Polish] Parliament by the end of November.

The Catholic Church in Poland constantly supports families in difficult life situations. If parents - despite psychological, medical and material support - decide not to bring up a child, they can always [give] the child up for adoption, especially when so many families are ready to take them into their care with open hearts.

Killing children should never take place.  Instead of Abortion – Adoption!

We ask you for prayers for unborn children that from the moment of conception they will be loved, be guaranteed the right to be born and from then on to live a happy life.

+ Stanisław Gądecki,
Poznań Metropolitan Archbishop,
President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.

+ Marek Jędraszewski,
Kraków Metropolitan Archbishop,
Vice-President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference.

+ Artur Miziński,
Bishop, Secretary General of the Polish Bishops’ Conference,
Warszawa, 8th November, 2017

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Media outraged at NRA political spending, but Planned Parenthood dwarfs them by far

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November 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A Washington Post article’s attempt to call attention to political donations from the National Rifle Association over the last two decades after recent large-scale shootings was trounced when another journalist pointed out on Twitter that Planned Parenthood gives vastly more money to members of Congress than the NRA.

The Post story and its accompanying tweet began by saying:

The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis noted that Planned Parenthood’s Congressional donations far exceed those of the NRA, tweeting in reply: 

“Reporter uses basic division on above tweet and you won’t believe what happens next,” Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy posted in a report that also noted varying proportions of D.C. donations and lobbying power.

Davis had followed up with: 

The Post story was published in the aftermath of the October 1 Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting in Las Vegas. Both the Vegas tragedy and the November 5 church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, have kept the intensely debated issue of gun control in the media.

Gun control advocates regularly heighten their call for tougher gun laws after a large-scale shooting, and those who support the Second Amendment note existing laws are adequate but ignored and broken by those committing the shootings.

Even aside from the funding aspect, pro-life supporters have also called out the contradiction in the past when gun control advocates argue that it will save lives while simultaneously supporting abortion.

While reports vary, Planned Parenthood Action Fund Political Action Committee said last year that it was spending $30 million to support the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and other pro-abortion candidates.

That amount was “unprecedented” for the Planned Parenthood PAC, its director said, and twice what it spent in the previous cycle.

Planned Parenthood’s Action Fund had estimated in late 2015 that it would spend $20 million on candidates in the 2016 election cycle.

As of Election Day last year, individuals and entities associated with the nation’s largest abortion provider had spent at least $38 million on candidates between the 2012 and 2016 election cycles.

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Polish gov’t promotes child-rearing in new campaign: ‘take bunnies as a model’

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WARSAW, November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A cute but controversial advertising campaign funded by Poland’s Ministry for Health is advising would-be parents to be “like rabbits.”

A 30 second television commercial entitled “Króliczki” (“Little bunnies”) features rabbits bouncing around a stylized landscape. A voiceover purporting to be by one of the bunnies says:

“We rabbits know how to parent many offspring. Do you want to know our secret? First, we exercise a lot. Second, we eat healthily. Third, we don’t stress out when we don’t have to. And fourth, we don’t burn the candle at both ends. So when you want to become parents, take bunnies as a model.”

“I know what I’m talking about,” the rabbit continues. “My father had 63 of us!”

At the end of the ad, a man picks up one of the animals and says “We support a healthy lifestyle--Ministry for Health.”

The campaign aims to create awareness among the adult Polish population that healthy living improves fertility.

Watch the ad (in Polish):

The Ministry of Health has been under fire for the 2.7 million zloty ($472,000) campaign. Critics like linguist Professor Jerzy Bralczyk say that the association of fertility with rabbits is “unambiguously negative.” However, Jakub Kubicki, one of the advertisers responsible, defended the choice, saying that the goal was to get the message out to as wide an audience as possible. Not only are rabbits synonymous with fertility in Poland (as in other countries), they are widely kept as pets.

Although one of the most pro-life countries in Europe, Poland also has a birthrate of only 1.32 children per woman. After being questioned about the bunny ads, Konstanty Radziwiłł, the Minister for Health, said that the controversy would draw attention to the insufficient numbers of children born in Poland, as in the rest of Europe.

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Delaware ponders allowing students to pick race and gender, hide it from parents

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DELAWARE, November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A proposed education regulation in Delaware allows children to self-identify as any race and gender regardless of reality.

“All students enrolled in a Delaware public school may self-identify gender or race,” Regulation 225 says, and that will be maintained in official records.

The regulation stipulates that students’ parents may only be notified of their child’s trans-race or transgender identification if they are “supportive of the student” and his or her confusion.

It says:

A school may request permission from the parent or legal guardian of a minor student before a self identified gender or race is accepted; provided, however, that prior to requesting the permission from a parent or legal guardian, the school should consult and work closely with the student to assess the degree to which, if any, the parent or legal guardian is aware of the Protected Characteristic and is supportive of the student, and the school shall take into consideration the safety, health and well-being of the student in deciding whether to request permission from the parent or legal guardian.

“Every parent should be outraged by this regulation,” said Nicole Theis, President of the Delaware Family Policy Council. “It’s parents who oversee the care and protection of their children.”

Theis warned that parents who affirm their children’s biological sex and race would be “positioned as discriminatory through policies like Regulation 225.”

In recent years, there have been an increasing number of people who identify as “trans-racial” or even “trans-species” (“otherkin”).

Social conservatives have asked why if one’s gender can be determined based on feelings rather than objective reality, age and race cannot be self-determined as well.

The sweeping regulation makes “gender identity or expression” and “sexual orientation” protected characteristics. The rules would mandate that school counselors and employees “make reasonable effort to depict individuals with the various Protected Characteristic(s) as representatives in educational and career opportunities.”

The regulations would require schools to allow students to play on any sports team regardless of sex. Only an alleged female “gender identity” would be necessary for a boy to play on an all-female team. The “student’s assigned sex at birth” would be irrelevant.  

Sex education classes would be co-ed if a student’s “gender identity” didn’t match his or her real sex.

“A student shall have the opportunity to participate in the program of instruction dealing exclusively with human sexuality that is consistent with the student's gender identity regardless of the student's assigned sex at birth,” the guidelines say.

“School Districts and Charter Schools shall work with students and families” to ensure boys have access to girls’ locker rooms and vice versa, the regulations say.

Students will be able to access “locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond to [their] gender identity or expression.”

“It’s a safety and privacy concern when any student of any age, at any time, can claim or self-identify as the opposite gender and have access to the locker rooms, showers, restrooms, overnight accommodations, and any school activity, such as sports teams, that is gender specific,” said Theis.

“No federal law requires school districts to grant students access to facilities dedicated to the opposite sex,” she noted. “Yet, this is what Regulation 225 does.”

“No student should ever be pressured to undress, shower, or share overnight accommodations with individuals of the opposite sex,” concluded Theis. “There is no recourse in situations like this,” because it would be considered “discriminatory.”

The Delaware Family Policy Council is urging the public to comment on this proposed regulation here.

Public comment is open until December 4, 2017.  

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Trump blocks international support for abortion groups at G7 meeting

Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

NEW YORK, November 10 (C-Fam) – The Trump administration is blocking political and financial support for abortion groups in the highest echelons of international diplomacy, including the most recent G7 and G20 meetings.

Health ministers from the seven largest economies in the world could not agree on language about “sexual and reproductive health” in a document about global health priorities and climate change negotiated last weekend in Milan.

The final G7 communique from the ministerial meeting did not use the preferred terminology of the abortion industry, instead offering support of UN efforts to strengthen maternal and child health. G20 agreements this summer also excluded the term.

“U.S. negotiators spent the past week steadfastly blocking all attempts to reach a compromise,” left-leaning online news source Buzzfeed reported, sounding a note of alarm on Sunday afternoon as negotiations drew to a close. The article cited anonymous negotiators who called the U.S. position “extreme.”

The U.S. proposed compromise language during negotiations asking to qualify the term “sexual and reproductive health” by reference to UN agreements that explicitly deny abortion is an international right. In the end, it was negotiators from Canada and Europe who wanted no mention at all of “sexual and reproductive health,” preferring deletion to qualifying the term to exclude abortion rights.

“Sexual and reproductive health” has long been controversial in international negotiations. The term is defined as including abortion in UN agreements, global health literature, and national and international court cases from around the world. So weary of the phrase, more than 60 UN delegations made reservations about the use of term when the UN General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, including the Holy See.

Since the 1990s, the use of the term in international agreements has allowed groups that perform and promote abortion to receive international political and financial support alongside groups involved in maternal health, family planning, and STD treatment and prevention. In programming, its broadness is used to lump all such issues together in an integrated framework that appears uncontroversial.

In international agreements, its opaqueness is used to conceal controversial content such as abortion. This undermines U.S. Law and Foreign Policy by channeling U.S. taxpayer funds to abortion groups and giving them political backing through multilateral aid. The term is also controversial because of attempts to create an international human right to abortion through customary international law.

The G7 health agreement offered support for the initiative of the UN Secretary General called the “Global Strategy on Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescent’s Health,” even though the UN bureaucracy approach to global health is problematic from a pro-life standpoint. The last report of this initiative promotes access to abortion and powerful contraceptive drugs for young girls without parental notification or consent as a part of a “rights-based approach” to “sexual and reproductive health.”

Longtime abortion advocate and former Prime Minister of Finland Tarja Halonen said the “realization of human rights in the context of sexual and reproductive health, including access to safe abortion” was under “direct attack.” She made the remark when presenting a report at UN headquarters in Geneva soon after the launch of the “She Decides” campaign against President Trumps’ pro-life foreign policy. UN officials from the secretariat, the World Health Organization, and UN Women are among the leaders of the campaign.

Reprinted with permission from C-FAM.

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News

Pope Francis has critics of ‘substance’ who ‘can’t in justice be dismissed’: US archbishop

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TEXAS, November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- The “obvious controversy” that surround’s Pope Francis’ exhortation on marriage and family Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love) has “obscured much of the good in the document,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia in an address on Wednesday. 

But despite “passages of great wisdom and beauty on marriage and on family life,” Chaput said that “persons of fidelity and substance” who have criticized the exhortation for problems such as seemingly opening a door to the divorced and remarried to receive Holy Communion “can’t in justice — be dismissed.” 

The Archbishop may have been referring to the four Dubia Cardinals and others, such as the signers of the Filial Correction and Father Thomas Weinandy. He made his remarks at the third annual National Assembly of Filipino Priests in Houston, Texas.

Chaput said that the exhortation has created “pastoral challenges” regarding what it means for priests to accompany straying Catholics and to be merciful to them, especially when it comes to Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality. 

“Ground Zero is this: For Christians, sexual intimacy outside a valid marriage can never be morally legitimate. And it’s the Church that determines what a valid marriage is,” he said.

He said that the key for interpreting the exhortation comes from paragraph 2, which reads in part: “The thinking of pastors and theologians, if faithful to the Church, honest, realistic and creative, will help us achieve greater clarity” in addressing the issues that face today’s families.

Commented Chaput: “The key words there are ‘if faithful to the Church.’ Fidelity to the received and constant wisdom of Catholic teaching is paramount.”

The Archbishop said that his own guidelines on implementing the exhortation in his archdiocese were based on this key passage. Chaput’s guidelines, released July 2016, unequivocally state that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics may not receive Holy Communion unless they “refrain from sexual intimacy.” One of Pope Francis’ most outspoken American supporters, then-Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell, slammed Chaput’s guidelines as causing “division.”

As liberal interpretation swirl about, suggesting that the Church is weakening her teachings about marriage and sexuality under Pope Francis, the Archbishop said in his address to priest that Jesus makes it clear in the Gospels that a valid marriage cannot be broken. 

“Scripture’s clearest words about the indissolubility of marriage come from Jesus himself in Matthew 19. They can’t be softened, or reinterpreted, or contextualized. Christian marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman. When valid, it endures until the death of one or the other spouse. And our task as priests is to uphold and advance that truth as a message of liberation, even when it’s difficult,” he said. 

The way to proceed amidst “confusion,” said the Archbishop, is to interpret the document and it’s key terms so that it is “consistent with the magisterium of previous popes.”

“Accompaniment” must be interpreted as guiding people “in the right direction – gently but also honestly, speaking the truth with love.”

“It does no one any good if we ‘accompany’ someone over a cliff, or even worse, to a fatal separation from God. We can’t simply confirm people in their mistakes. Scripture is very clear about right and wrong sexual relationships and behavior. We’re very poor disciples if we lack the courage to speak the truth as the Church has always understood it,” he said. 

“Mercy,” which “depends on the existence of justice and truth,” must be interpreted as never excluding “careful moral reasoning about right and wrong,” he said. 

“Permanent truths exist about human nature, sexuality, behavior and relationships. Those truths apply to all of us, in all circumstances, and justice involves living according to those truths,” he added. 

“Marriage” must never be interpreted as “simply an ‘ideal’” — which “tends to open the door to excusing and then normalizing failure” — but as a “permanent, loving bond between a man and a woman open to new life.”

“We need to fight for it, and not collapse – like so many other Christian communities — into the confusion of a society based on compromises, caveats and alibis. That’s the message we need to preach and teach,” he said. 

The Archbishop ended his talk by encouraging priests, that even though the Church of the faithful “will very likely be smaller, poorer, and empty of prestige,” they should not lose hope.

“God doesn’t ask us to save the Church or fix the world. That’s in his hands. What he asks is much simpler and more important. He asks each of us as priests to be faithful, and to be his healing presence to his – and to our – people,” he said. 

“In the midst of confusion, he asks us to speak and live the truth. In the midst of conflict, he asks us to be peacemakers. In the midst of distress, he asks us to be sources of hope,” he added.

Chaput said that no matter how “intractable or unfixable the problems of a marriage or family might be, the priest who listens and counsels with a spirit of mercy guided by truth is doing what God called him to do: to be the presence of God’s love in the world.”

“There’s no greater mission of mercy than that, and no greater joy in the life of a priest,” he said.

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Opinion

Progressives have long disdained Christians, but now they’re declaring open war

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November 10, 2017 (The Bridgehead) – Canada’s progressive politicians have always had an underlying disdain for Christians, but as that disdain becomes more open and part of their legislative agendas, it is rapidly turning into open war. It started with Justin Trudeau’s new Governor General Julie Payette mocking people of faith in a speech, comparing those who believe that the universe came about through divine intervention with those who believe in horoscopes. She was promptly defended by Justin Trudeau, who was condemned by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer for belittling the beliefs of millions of Canadians. The Canadian commentariat, at least, was almost universally disgusted by her speech, citing it as an example of a figurehead official overstepping her bounds.

But other commentators were eager to go on the attack. In fact, the Toronto Star published a column by an NDP strategist describing the leader of United Conservative Party of Alberta Jason Kenney as a childless social conservative running a party of closeted homophobes, even going so far as to state—ludicrously—that Kenney is “a man who has refused to discuss his own sexual orientation.” Considering that the Alberta NDP’s entire smear strategy is based around accusing the UCP of forcing conversations about sexual orientation, this is particularly and painfully ironic. The column was so full of overt lies and inconsistencies—the author claimed that Kenney was both a scary social conservative as well as someone who only tricks his followers into thinking that he believes the same things they do—that it even managed to get basic, public record facts wrong, referring to Kenney as an “evangelical” (he is Catholic.)

The column was so obviously a smear job that the National Post columnist Chris Selley tweeted, “If progressive Canada signed a sort of manifesto clarifying that it just dislikes evangelical Christians, it could save us a lot of time.” Jonathan Kay noted that if someone tried to comment on the childlessness of a female politician, the outrage would go on for weeks. For the second time in a couple of weeks, Canada’s generally liberal media figures and commentators seemed to agree that the palpable disdain of Canadians of faith—Selley also pointed out that two-thirds of Canadians believe in God—is simply going too far.

But I suspect that the attacks on Jason Kenney are only beginning for two reasons: He is a politician with genuine conservative principles, and he is willing to fight for them. The media and progressive politicians are generally accustomed to men like Patrick Brown, who will do anything to attain power and thus is willing to adopt any position he finds convenient, even if it means slinking away from a position he staked out very publicly a very short time before. Kenney is already showing that the NDP strategy of lying about Catholics—accusing educators of not believing in consent in marriage—is not going to unfold without response. The UCP is still demanding an apology, but instead, Education Minister David Eggen repeated Premier Rachel Notley’s slander. The NDP then put forward a bill that would make it illegal to tell parents if their children were involved in Gay Straight Alliance Clubs—their insidious justification for this legislation being that parents cannot be trusted with their own children.

Jason Kenney isn’t backing down, and has announced that the United Conservative Party will be opposing Bill 24:

The United Conservative leader knew he would be roughed up and put down and reach villain status in a matter of minutes for the stand he’s taken but he is not throwing in the towel. No way.

“I’m not so easily intimidated. Backing down would be the wrong thing to do. It would be backing down to a cynical effort to exploit kids for partisan political reasons,” says Kenney.

“It would be backing down to a policy that would make it illegal for teachers of even very young kids to engage parents.”

“We’re not going to let the NDP’s anger machine and their allies intimidate us. This is just part of the play. There will be more of this and I won’t be rattled.”

Kenney, who is easily one of the most brilliant politicians in Canada today, knows precisely what Notley and the NDP are up to—they are attempting to distract from their abject failures as a competent government and are instead trying to demonize Christians to position themselves as necessary protectors and give people some reason to vote for them. At the very least, perhaps Notley and her gang hoped that Kenney would be more like Patrick Brown, and anger many of his supporters by caving and voting for legislation opposed by conservatives. But finally, Canada’s conservative movement has a leader who fights instead of a Kathleen Wynne knockoff.

Justin Trudeau and his millionaire friends have weathered months of scandal, Kathleen Wynne is less popular than some communicable diseases, and Rachel Notley’s last desperate bid to hang on to power is to smear Albertan parents as bigoted enemies of their own children. They face very little opposition: Brown has fewer convictions than Wynne does and it’s never clear what those are, Brian Jean would have in all likelihood backed down in the face of Notley’s bait-and-switch, and Trudeau has two more years with a majority to try and turn things around. In the meantime, Canada’s conservatives need to get behind those politicians who are willing to defend truly conservative principles and refuse to play the divisive and hateful game progressive politicians are using to hang on to power at the expense of voters they despise.

Reprinted with permission from The Bridgehead.

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Blogs,

Liberals now claim Christian parents are dangerous. This is an existential threat we can’t ignore

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November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Over the past two decades, it has slowly dawned on Christians that the implications of same-sex “marriage” are far greater for those who still believe in the traditional understanding of marriage than even the cynics first thought possible. The politicians, the academics, and the media have reached the collective conclusion that if gay “marriage” is a civil right, those who oppose it are not simply dissenters holding to a two-thousand-year-old tradition, but ugly bigots who deserve to be marginalized for their discriminatory views. Thus, “live and let live” turned into “you will be forced to participate and approve,” with bakers, florists, property owners, and adoption agencies finding themselves to be the targets of gay activists who show a shocking ruthlessness in their enthusiasm for prosecuting supposed thought crimes.

None of this will be news to most of you, but the impact of radical reinvention of our social structures is beginning to impact Christian communities in ways that are striking even closer to home. There is the fact that public schools across Canada (and many places in the United States) are beginning to implement sex education that runs directly contrary to the beliefs of many traditionalist communities—and governments are beginning to eye Christian and private schools as unwelcome havens of dissenting thought and education. And worse: Christian parents and foster parents are increasingly finding themselves “disqualified” from adopting children or taking children into their homes because of their views.

I’ve spoken to many prospective parents and foster parents over the last several years who were either overtly rejected as a result of their views on sexuality, or otherwise found that they were suddenly and abruptly rejected when their views were made known. Often, direct questions are put to Christian parents to find out if they still hold to Christian principles, with the obvious insinuation that answers not fitting with the current progressive ideology will render them unfit to care for children.

Considering the massive shortage of willing foster parents across Canada, this is a rather shocking and blunt move on the part of those in charge of the process: Essentially, Christian parents are being told that their views render them so dangerous that it is better that children desperate for a loving home are still shuffled from place to place rather than come into contact with views that were nearly universal only short decades ago. Such stories are now just beginning to surface in the mainstream media, with an Edmonton, Alberta couple being the latest example. From Canada’s national broadcaster:

An evangelical Christian couple is accusing Alberta of discrimination, claiming their application to adopt a child was rejected over their religious views on gay marriage and homosexuality. The Edmonton married couple say they submitted their application last year and passed a required course for potential adoptive parents.

But during a followup by officials this year, the couple say they ran into trouble when they answered questions about sexuality. The couple say they accept that same-sex marriage is a legal reality, but they don't support it and believe that homosexuality is wrong.

"The casework supervisor explained that our religious beliefs regarding sexuality were incompatible with the adoption process," says an affidavit filed in support of an application for a judicial review of the government's decision.

"The casework supervisor said this stance was the 'official position of the Alberta government.' "

The couple said they were also asked how they would deal with a child who was questioning his or her sexuality. They told officials that children should be taught that sexuality should not be experienced or explored until a person is an adult and is married. The couple, who aren't named in the legal documents, said they treat all people with respect and their views on sexuality would have no bearing on their ability to provide a loving, secure and happy home to a child. They said they never dreamed they would be disqualified from helping children in need because of their religious beliefs.

You’ll notice that the initial myths propagated by those who advocated for the reinvention of marriage are crumbling away. The government does not take a neutral position—after all, it is not only evangelicals who hold to a traditional understanding of marriage. Sikhs, Muslims, mainstream Mormons, Catholics, and Orthodox Jews also reject the progressive reinvention of marriage. Of course, it is so far only Catholics and evangelicals who have found themselves in the crosshairs, and so politicians feel perfectly comfortable smearing and bashing these communities as bigots without feeling as if they are undermining their vacuous virtue-signalling on multiculturalism and immigration. There is now an official “government position,” and those who do not hold it are rapidly becoming second-class citizens.

As I mentioned, I’ve heard many versions of this story over the past several years, and I expect that this will only increase in the coming years. But what is important for Christians to note here is that they are being demonized in a very, very dangerous way. The government’s rejection of Christian homes as loving environments for children is an implicit statement: They are stating that Christians are not fit to raise children—because they are Christian. This is why provincial governments across Canada are making moves to force Christian schools to change thousands of years of doctrine, and this is why Christians must be alert and aware of what is taking place, and engaged in the political process.

After all, if Christian parents are deemed unfit to care for children with nowhere else to go, how long will it be before the government decides that they are unfit to care for any children? What if they decide that any educational institution or homeschooling group that does not adhere to the “government position” can no longer be entrusted with children? What if they decide that parents who hold to Christian principles are damaging their own children because of those principles?

Listen closely to the rhetoric that is being used, and look carefully at the justification politicians like Alberta Premier Rachel Notley are using to make it illegal for parents to be told what their children are doing while at school in the care of government employees. They are already making the case that Christian parents are dangerous. And that, for Christian parents and their children, could turn into an existential threat. It is time that communities that still believe parents have the right to educate their children and pass on their own values to stand up and pay attention. If we don’t, things could get even worse very quickly. 

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