All articles from January 8, 2018


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Irish bishop: ‘Abortion ends the life of an unborn girl or boy,’ it shouldn’t be legal

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

ARMAGH, Ireland, January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Armagh Archbishop Eamon Martin asked Catholics to be “missionaries for life” as Ireland considers repealing its pro-life Eighth Amendment.

Martin, the archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, used his Pastoral Message for the New Year 2018 to promote the pro-life cause, quoting Pope Francis, “To serve human life is to serve God.”   

Martin blasted the notion that legalizing abortion will improve Ireland or make it more “modern.” He said abortion is a “tragedy” from which mothers and babies must be protected.

“Abortion ends the human life of an unborn girl or boy,” said Martin. “It deceives women – and men – by creating a culture where the decision to end the life of an unborn child is portrayed as simply a matter of individual ‘choice.’”

“All human life is sacred. All human life is precious,” stated the Irish archbishop. “This is why the direct and intentional taking of innocent human life is always gravely wrong. In his New Year Homily, Pope Francis teaches us that: ‘to serve human life is to serve God. All life, from life in the mother’s womb to that of the elderly, the suffering and the sick, and to that of the troublesome and even repellent, is to be welcomed, loved and helped.’”

Martin directly addressed the growing threat to unborn children in Ireland:

“Just before Christmas the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution submitted its report to the Oireachtas [Irish parliament]. In the name of ‘modernising healthcare’, the Committee proposes a very liberal abortion regime, including unrestricted access to abortion up to twelve weeks, and, thereafter during pregnancy, very broad grounds for abortion and access to abortion.”

Members of Irish parliament are now discussing the option of holding a referendum aimed at repealing Article 40.3.3, popularly known as the Eighth Amendment, of the Irish Constitution.

Article 40.3.3 reads:

“The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

Article 40.3.3 “represents, at the very foundations and substructure of our laws, a conviction that all human life is equally worth cherishing,” Martin wrote. It is “a declaration of equality and respect for human life.”

He said that a repeal of the Article would leave unborn children defenseless and “at the mercy of whatever abortion laws are introduced in Ireland – both immediately, and as will inevitably be further broadened in future years.”

The archbishop’s message was released on January 6, which marks both Epiphany and “Nollaig na mBan” – “Women’s Christmas” – an Irish tradition in which women take a day off housework and leave it all to the men. Martin said the day “marks the contribution that women make to our families and to society.” He emphasized that women’s lives are “precious, to be loved, [and] valued – and so are the lives of their babies.”

“Two lives, one love!” he explained.

“Brothers and sisters[,] I encourage you to be missionaries for the cause of life,” he wrote. “Speak to your families, your children and grandchildren, friends and colleagues about cherishing the precious gift of life at all times from conception to natural death.”  

“Speak the truth about life, and speak it with love,” he continued. “Despite the strong pressures to remain silent, do not be afraid to witness to the equality of all life in private conversations and public discussions in the coming months. As citizens committed to the Common Good, you have a democratic right to make your views known, respectfully, to our public representatives.”

Archbishop Eamon Martin has been a staunch defender of the right to life of the unborn child. In contrast to the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, he also spoke up against the legalization of same-sex “marriage.”

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New study reveals terrible suffering but also hope for women who have abortions

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

UNITED STATES, January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A study published in December in the peer-reviewed Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons reveals that women suffer from a wide variety of severely traumatic psychological effects from abortion, effects that often last for many years and have life-changing consequences.

The study also interestingly found that women who have endured such abortion-related emotional trauma often believe that their suffering has ultimately benefited them, providing a stimulus for them to help other women in crisis pregnancies. 

“Women Who Suffered Emotionally from Abortion: A Qualitative Synthesis of Their Experiences,” reviews data generated from 987 women with a history of abortion who were invited to participate in an online survey.

When asked what negative effects, if any, they attribute to their abortions, 23.7% recognized that they had taken a life. Many mentioned that they suffered from depression (14.4%), guilt or remorse (14%), self-hatred or other negative feelings towards themselves (12.4%), shame (10.9%), and regret (9.3%).

“My child is dead and by my own choice,” one participant is quoted as saying. “I spent years of anger, shame, and grief. It damaged my relationship with my husband, my children, and my God. For 30 years I did not speak of it to anyone but my husband. My grief overwhelmed him and left him powerless and ashamed.”

“My life was interrupted in a way that after 30 years, since my last abortion, I am still hurting, emotionally and mentally as a result of my choices. I will have to live with them for the rest of my life on earth” another participant stated.

Many also mentioned self-destructive behavior as a negative consequence, including substance addiction or abuse (9%), promiscuity, self-punishment, and poor choices (7.7%), and impulses or even attempts at suicide (6.2%). 

When asked to name positive effects, if any, had come from their abortions, a little less than one third (31.6%) of participants said that there were none. Those who listed “positive” effects tended to indicate that their suffering had stimulated changes in their lives that inclined them to pro-life and crisis pregnancy activism.

Such positive changes included a “deepened spiritual life (finding forgiveness, peace, inner healing” (17.5%), commitment to crisis pregnancy work (13.3%) or pro-life work in general (6.4%), speaking or writing about their abortion experiences (8.9%), helping women to recover from abortion-related trauma by communicating the love and forgiveness of God (8.2%), and conversion to Christianity (7.5%). 

“As a CPC [crisis pregnancy center] volunteer, I have been able to persuade most of my abortion minded clients to at least wait until they could see an ultrasound before they made their decisions,” said one woman. “All that have done that have chosen life for their children. I would probably not have become a volunteer had it not been for the abortion I had.”

“The one positive is that it has brought me to my end and brought me to my knees before God,” wrote another participant. “He has drawn me to him through His endless forgiveness, mercy, and grace. I think He could have shown me those same things had I chosen another path, but this is how I came to Him, not as a Christian, because I already was one, but as one who really knows Him now.”

A little over 20% of participants did not respond to either question about the effects of abortion. 

The study’s primary author is Dr. Priscilla K. Coleman, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University.

The study’s results and content differ dramatically from many other studies on abortion-related trauma undertaken in the English-speaking world, which often seek to confirm that women do not suffer any increased risk of trauma in aborting their child instead of giving birth. One such well-publicized study published in 2016 was blasted for serious methodological flaws that could have biased the results, as was a 2010 Guttmacher Institute study with similar conclusions.

Numerous other studies, particularly those done outside of the more pro-abortion Anglosphere, have found strong links between abortion and psychological trauma. A list of links to LifeSite coverage of such studies is given below.

Click here to access the full text of the study, “Women Who Suffered Emotionally from Abortion: A Qualitative Synthesis of Their Experiences.”

LifeSiteNews.com articles on studies documenting links between abortion and psychological trauma:

Later Abortions Linked to Psychological Problems: Study

New Study: High Rates of Psychological Problems and Death Among Post-Abortive Women

Negative Psychological Impact of Abortion Results from ‘Hard-Wiring’ in Women’s Brains: Scholars

Hundreds of Chilean psychologists affirm: post-abortion trauma is real, damaging

Researchers: PTSD Rates Increased by 61 Percent After Abortion

Study finds abortion linked to shortened lifespan of mother

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Father Maurizio Chiodi. Diane Montagna / LifeSiteNews
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New Academy for Life member uses Amoris to say some circumstances ‘require’ contraception

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By Diane Montagna
Fr. Maurizio Chiodi delivers a talk entitled "Re-reading Humanae Vitae in light of Amoris Laetitia", on Dec. 14, 2017 at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome.
Prof. Emilia Palladino, one of the organizers of the conference series being held at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

ROME, January 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Responsible parenthood can obligate a married couple to use artificial birth control, a recently appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued, basing his theory on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

Italian moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi said at a December 14 public lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome that there are “circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 — that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception.”

Chapter 8 of the Pope’s 2016 document on the family has drawn controversy because of its differing interpretations on the issue of admitting some divorced and civilly “remarried” couples to Holy Communion.

When “natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found,” argued Fr. Chiodi in his lecture entitled: Re-reading Humanae Vitae (1968) in light of Amoris Laetitia (2016).

In such circumstances, he said, “an artificial method for the regulation of births could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out, not in order to radically reject the gift of a child, but because in those situations responsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.”

The Italian professor’s comments come as the Church this year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s ban on contraception. In his encyclical, Paul VI called artificial contraception “intrinsically wrong,” approved natural family planning, and upheld the Church’s teaching on conjugal love and responsible parenthood.

Chiodi’s lecture was the third in a series of talks being hosted this academic year by the Gregorian University’s faculty of social sciences and moral theology. The aim of the talks is to take a new and broad look at the encyclical “in the context of a time of change” and “more complex” situations.

Fr. Chiodi’s lecture also follows revelations that the Vatican quietly created a four-member commission with the Pope’s approval, in order to “promote a comprehensive and authoritative study” of Humanae Vitae to coincide with the anniversary. The move came after Pope Francis purged the Pontifical Academy for Life, filling it with new appointees (including Fr. Chiodi), some with dissenting views on Humanae Vitae. And they coincided with the Pope issuing on September 8 a papal decree replacing the John Paul II Institute with a new institute to carry forward the teaching of Amoris Laetitia.

Concerns about the conference series were first made public in the National Catholic Register by Edward Pentin, and by George Weigel in an article published in First Things. But Fr. Chiodi’s public lecture, which included students and religious sisters, may be the most explicit indication to date that an organized effort to challenge Humanae Vitae’s prohibition against artificial contraception is underway.

Taking on the JPII Institute

Fr. Chiodi, a professor of moral theology at the Northern University of Italy in Milan, began his talk by summarizing an article published in First Things during the 2015 Synod on the Family. Two professors from the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family had drawn up the “Appeal” that criticized paragraph 137 of the synod’s working document (Instrumentum Laboris) which focused on responsible parenthood and Humanae Vitae.

The authors took issue with the text, saying it contradicted the teaching of the Church’s Magisterium about moral norms, conscience, and moral judgment. In particular, they argued that it fell into the error of using particular situations to grant exceptions, which in turn, would permit someone to commit an intrinsically evil act in “good” conscience.

The authors further maintained that the text’s “ambiguous and imprecise formulations” suggested a “rejection of the existence of intrinsically evil acts,” and appeared to call into question the Tradition of the Church and the explicit teaching of Pope St. John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical on the fundamentals of the Church’s moral theology, Veritatis Splendor.

They urged the Synod Fathers to reject the paragraph, saying it “empties” Humanae Vitae of its “central teaching” and could have “devastating consequences.” The appeal was signed by 62 philosophers and theologians worldwide, including key figures from John Paul II Institutes in Rome, Washington D.C., Krakow, and Melbourne.

In his talk, Fr. Chiodi, who preferred to call the appeal an “accusation,” said the authors’ interpretation of paragraph 137 seemed “to force its meaning” and was “guided by a kind of methodical doubt or suspicion.” Chiodi added that the authors failed to address what he considered to be the central question in moral theology today, i.e. “the relationship between the objective and subjective.”

The Italian moral theologian explained that “normally, the objective is identified with the moral norm known by reason and the subjective is identified with the conscience enlightened by the law.” But he rejected this idea, arguing instead that “the relationship between objective and subjective is not a relationship between the norm known by reason and the conscience” but “between the act … and conscience.” The task for philosophers and theologians, Chiodi said, is to “rethink a theory of conscience” that recovers “the original link between conscience and the moral act.”

He concluded by saying that the authors’ final “accusation” — that paragraph 137 “undermines the central purpose of the encyclical” which is to offer a normative interpretation of the natural law — is a “theoretical question” which “requires us to think.”

The significance of silence

Fr. Chiodi dedicated the second part of his lecture to the relationship between Humanae Vitae and Amoris Laetitia. While he acknowledged that Humanae Vitae occupies “a very important place” in the “historical development” of the Church’s magisterium on marriage, he said the encyclical has become more of a “symbolic issue, criticized or rejected by those who were disappointed with its conclusions, or considered as a true pillar of Catholic moral doctrine on sexuality by others.”

The Italian priest attributed the encyclical’s increasing importance to its insertion in John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, n. 29-34, but especially, he said, “to the fact that Veritatis Splendor n. 80 includes contraception among the ‘intrinsically evil’ acts.”

But from a pastoral point of view, he said the “urgency of the issue” of contraception “seems gradually to be diminishing.”

“While in the 50s and 60s was an urgent for believers, now the great majority of even believing married couples live as though the norm doesn’t exist,” he said.

“Officially and objectively the norm has remained,” but “even many pastors” don’t talk about it, he said. “In public, in catechesis, and in preaching, they prefer not to talk about it” while “in personal encounters they maintain a very indulgent attitude when the issue is raised.”

“And therefore,” he argued, “it’s significant that Amoris Laetitia speaks so little about it.”

Commenting further on the significance of this silence, Fr. Chiodi pointed out that Humanae Vitae is cited only six times in Amoris Laetitia. “It has been observed,” he added, that its most important reference — on the generation of life, responsible choice and conscience (paragraph 222) — presents “a relatively soft formulation” of Paul VI’s encyclical, since “it refrains from a clear and strong condemnation of differing positions, both systematic and normative.”

Moreover, Chiodi noted that Amoris Laetitia makes no “explicit reference” to contraception as “intrinsically evil,” adding that “it would have been very easy to do so given Veritatis Splendor.”

In light of the paucity of references to Paul VI’s landmark encyclical in Amoris Laetitia, Fr. Chiodi asked: “How can one claim to reread Humanae Vitae in light of Amoris Laetitia? It seems I’ve been given an impossible task.”

Impossible, really?

But he proceeded to do exactly what he feigned to be unachievable, moving straight to a consideration of what he called the “two great questions” that emerge in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia. The first question, Fr. Chiodi said, is the “objective relevance of extenuating circumstances and subjective responsibility of the conscience.” The second: “the constitutive relationship between norm and discernment.”

His talk then took a sophistic turn through a wandering reflection on conscience, act, norm, and discernment. Fr. Chiodi himself acknowledged his ambitions “might be excessive” in the time allotted, but eventually got to the crux of his argument.

Through His Paschal Mystery, Fr. Chiodi said, “Jesus ... opens to the believer the possibility of acting responsibly, that is, a way of acting that responds to grace, passing through the travails of history and of evil.”

“Within this perspective,” Chiodi argued, “moral norms are not reducible to rational objectivity but belong to human life understood as a story of salvation and grace. The norms conserve the good and instruct in the way of good. But they are historical.”

“In other words, they are subject to change,” an academic close to the Vatican told LifeSite. This is “nothing more than historicism and relativism,” he added.

Chiodi continued: “[Moral norms] have a symbolic and universal quality, because they point to the good to which they attest, and to the conscience which they instruct and guard.”

And “in this light,” Fr. Chiodi said, “discernment is not an activity added on” but is “the conscience itself.”

He then moved on to his last point — Humanae Vitae: conscience, norm and discernment — and said the theory he was proposing was aimed at “rethinking the anthropology of marriage in its core, on the one hand in sexual difference, and on the other in responsible fruitfulness.”

The “wisdom of Humanae Vitae,” he said, is to have stressed “the connection between the spousal relationship and generation,” which he believes is “the fundamental anthropological lesson that we have to take” from the encyclical.

Significantly, Fr. Chiodi said the reflection he had offered in his lecture “seems to authorize us to rethink the meaning of the moral norm of Humanae Vitae, so that we don’t concentrate on [it] as an objective truth that stands before reason, in this case, of the believing spouses.”

“My thought is to take up the anthropological meaning of the norm of Humanae Vitae,” Chiodi said. Therefore, he stressed, “it’s not a matter of abolishing the norm, but of demonstrating its meaning and truth."

The academic speaking anonymously to LifeSite said that given Fr. Chiodi’s “clear historicism, it seems that for him, there is no objective truth.”  For Chiodi, the source added, “there is no moral norm that is always normative.”

Some cases 'require' contraception

In the final part of his talk, Fr. Chiodi developed an “anthropology of marriage” based on what he considered its “four fundamental aspects”:  The relationship between sexuality and sexual difference; the relationship between human sexuality and the spousal covenant; the relationship between marital communion and generation; and the meaning of responsibility in generation [i.e. responsible parenthood].

Before moving on to consider these four aspects, Fr. Chiodi said that “naturally, we need to ask if natural methods can and have to be the only form of responsible parenthood, or if this doesn’t need to be interpreted more broadly.”

He also noted, referring to Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, that these four aspects have the character of a “promised good” which “opens up the possibility of failure.” Therefore, in these four aspects of marriage a person is called to “discern the good that is possible” and to avoid the “absolute opposition between good and evil, between black and white, as Amoris Laetitia says,” by considering “the very obscure and dramatic circumstances of life.”

Moving rapidly through the first three points, Fr. Chiodi came to the fourth, i.e. the meaning of responsible parenthood. He said the vocation inscribed in generation is to “recognize that generating is not creating” but involves “responding to a gift and recognizing with gratitude the call to welcome the presence of another.”

“I believe that this is what the natural methods of fecundity attest to,” Fr. Chiodi said.  “They attest to the responsible character of generation, through the rhythm of time, the rhythm of the body of the other, the care for a relationship that involves dialogue and mutual acceptance, not the instrumentalization of the other.”

Having given a 40-minute lecture laden with ambiguities and vague philosophical theories, interspersed with intimations of where he was going, Fr. Chiodi in the last three minutes of his talk revealed his true intention and meaning — namely that, in some circumstances, artificial birth control is not only acceptable but even good and therefore is not “intrinsically evil.”

Fr. Chiodi concluded his lecture with remarkable frankness about his intentions, saying:

If it is true that the responsibility in generating is what these [natural] methods point to, then we can understand how, in situations when natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found. There are circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 — that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception. In these cases, a technological intervention does not negate the responsibility of the generating relationship. The insistence of the Church’s Magisterium on natural methods cannot be interpreted, in my opinion, as a norm which is an end in itself, nor as a mere conformity with biological laws, because the norm points to an anthropology, to the good of marital responsibility.

He added:

Technology [i.e. artificial birth control], in certain circumstances, can make it possible to guard the responsible quality of the sexual act, even in the decision not to generate, for all of the reasons that Paul VI, and even before, Pius XII already indicated as ‘plausible reasons’ for avoiding the conception of a child. Technology [i.e. artificial birth control] it seems to me, cannot be rejected a priori, when the birth of a child is at play, because technology [i.e. artificial birth control] is a form of acting, and so requires discernment on the basis of these circumstances, one however that is irreducible to a material interpretation of the norm. In the above-mentioned circumstances, then, an artificial method for the regulation of birth could be recognized as an act of responsibility that is carried out, not in order to radically reject the gift of a child but because in those situations, responsibility calls the couple and the family to other forms of welcome and hospitality.

Coordinated Push

Fr. Chiodi’s talk was introduced by one of the chief organizers of the conference series, Argentine Jesuit Father Humberto Miguel Yanez. Fr. Yanez is the Director of the Department of Moral Theology at the Gregorian University. Yanez is known to be close to Pope Francis, and in fact Bergoglio was Yanez’ religious superior as a young Jesuit (see Pope Francis, untying the knots).

In May 2015, Father Yanez participated in the “secret synod” at the Gregorian, during which a number of theologians sought to sway the synod on the family to accept same-sex unions, dispense with the term “intrinsically evil,” and introduce a controversial “theology of love.”

Father Chiodi’s December 14 lecture is not his first attempt to justify contraception, nor to use arguments that critics say are condemned in Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

Earlier this year, both he and Father Yanez also took part in the presentation at the Gregorian of a new book entitled Amoris Laetitia: A Turning Point for Moral Theology, edited by Stephan Goertz and Caroline Witting, in which it is argued that Amoris Laetitia represents a paradigm shift for all moral theology and especially in interpreting Humanae Vitae.

Fr. Chiodi’s lecture was followed by an accompanying talk by Emilia Palladino, a professor of family ethics in the Gregorian’s department of social sciences. Palladino, one of the chief organizers of the conference series together with Fr. Yanez, also expressed support for the use of artificial contraception in some circumstances.

Fr. Chiodi’s talk comes after several articles appeared in Avvenire, the Italian bishops’ newspaper, promoting a similar position. A summary of Fr. Chiodi’s talk is expected to be published in Avvenire in mid-January.

Asked for an interview by LifeSite, Fr. Chiodi declined to comment, saying these are “sensitive matters.”

Moral theologian reacts: Chiodi’s theories vs. Church doctrine

Here below are comments on Fr. Chiodi’s talk from a well-respected moral theologian who wished to remain anonymous.

The Church’s position on this matter is abundantly clear, and has been repeated many times. According to perennial Magisterial teaching, the use of contraceptives is an intrinsic evil, that is, a moral evil that never becomes good no matter what circumstances may exist. As an objective moral evil, the use of contraceptives therefore is never responsible, but rather is a practice that is always irresponsible because it undermines the dignity of the spouses and instrumentalizes the conjugal union by destroying its chief end, namely, procreation.  

Fr. Chiodi’s position, therefore, is no different from a moral relativism which states that there are no actions which by their very object are intrinsically evil. Instead, his view assumes the principle that circumstances can make any action good and laudable provided certain circumstances exist and the agent act with a good intention. Such a view undermines the entire moral order and will justify every kind of moral disorder.

Pius XI makes this abundantly clear, saying:

Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin (Casti Conubii, n. 56).

Likewise, Paul VI in Humanae Vitae declares:

“Excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. […] Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. […] Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong. (n. 14)

The Church, said Paul VI, “condemns as always unlawful the use of means which directly prevent conception, even when the reasons given for the later practice may appear to be upright and serious” (n. 16).

Pope Paul VI also stated in Humanae Vitae, n. 14, that “it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.”

And in Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II states that:

[T]he negative values inherent in the “contraceptive mentality” - which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation [to commit abortion] when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro- abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected. [emphasis added] (Evangelium Vitae n. 13)

...Today an important part of policies which favour life is the issue of population growth. Certainly public authorities have a responsibility to “intervene to orient the demography of the population. But such interventions must always take into account and respect the primary and inalienable responsibility of married couples and families, and cannot employ methods which fail to respect the person and fundamental human rights, beginning with the right to life of every innocent human being. It is therefore morally unacceptable to encourage, let alone impose, the use of methods such as contraception, sterilization and abortion in order to regulate births (n. 91).

It is surely significant that Francis never quotes St. John Paul II’s Veritatis Splendor. Had he done so, Francis could have easily shown that he rejects all forms of moral relativism, situationism, and the sorts of theories proposed by Fr. Chiodi. This is particularly clear with respect to Veritatis Splendor no. 80:

[T]he acts which, in the Church's moral tradition, have been termed “intrinsically evil” (intrinsece malum): […] are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and quite apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances. Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that "there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object.            

John Paul adds:

With regard to intrinsically evil acts, and in reference to contraceptive practices whereby the conjugal act is intentionally rendered infertile, Pope Paul VI teaches: ‘Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf. Rom 3:8) — in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.’

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Notre Dame could face legal investigation for flip-flopping on contraception coverage

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of over sixty Notre Dame alumni attorneys has written an open letter to the university’s president, Father John Jenkins, CSC, to protest the university’s decision to continue the dissemination of contraceptives and abortifacients to its staff and students through its healthcare plan. 

The Catholic university has allowed contraceptive and abortifacient coverage for staff and students after first unsuccessfully contesting Obama's HHS ‘contraception’ Mandate and then, in a surprise flipflop, rejecting the offer of a religious exemption to the Mandate by the Trump government. 

The Notre Dame alumni state in their letter that by rejecting the exemption and permitting the provision of contraceptives and abortifacients through their medical insurers, the university “is now doing voluntarily precisely what it said it could not do in good conscience and without giving scandal, particularly to its students.”

“This is a serious matter, and we do not believe it should simply be allowed to pass,” they write.

Notre Dame 's history with the HHS Mandate

In 2013, the vice-president of the university, Dr. John Affleck Graves, submitted an affidavit swearing that Notre Dame’s Catholic beliefs “prohibit it from paying for, facilitating access to, and/or becoming entangled in the provision of abortion-inducing products, contraception, sterilization, or related counseling.”  

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is evil because it is the murder of innocent human life. Formal cooperation in an abortion is a grave offense. The Church also teaches that using contraception to render sexual acts sterile is also evil because such acts intentionally frustrate the natural end (primary purpose) of sexual intercourse and separate the procreative purpose of the conjugal act from the unitive. 

Graves argued that the U.S. Government was violating the Notre Dame University’s right of conscience “by forcing it to participate in an employer-based scheme to provide insurance coverage to which it strenuously objects on moral and religious grounds.” 

In contrast to Notre Dame's policy today, Graves specifically objected to “third party” arrangements. In response to the government’s argument that not Notre Dame, but its medical insurers, would be arranging the payment for the objectionable measures, the Vice-President said Notre Dame would nevertheless be complicit. The students and employees would be receiving the “free” contraceptives and abortifacients only because they were on the Notre Dame health plans.

“Thus, Notre Dame’s employee and student health plans are the vehicle by which ‘free’ abortion-inducing products, contraception, sterilization, and related counseling would be delivered to Notre Dame’s employees and students,” he explained. 

Despite Graves’ intervention, the district court denied the university relief from the mandate, which went into effect on January 1, 2014. After Notre Dame lost an appeal, the university applied for and was granted “accommodation” status as a protesting religious organization. Thus, although Notre Dame did not pay for abortifacient, contraceptive, and sterilization coverage, its medical insurers provided it directly to Notre Dame employees and students.

But now that the Trump administration has offered the university what it had sought in the litigation, namely an exemption from the mandate, the University has instead announced that its health plan contractors will continue providing free abortifacients and contraceptives to its students and employees.

“It is voluntarily continuing under the ‘accommodation’ procedure that it sued to enjoin,” the alumni attorneys state in their letter. 

Notre Dame’s decision not to take advantage of the exemption it fought for in 2013 “appears to be an abuse by the University of the judicial process,” they state.    

Attorney Bill Dempsey of the told LifeSiteNews that he and his fellow alumni had contacted the President of Notre Dame before publishing the Open Letter.  

“We sent this Open Letter to Father Jenkins privately first so that he would have an opportunity to offer an explanation before we published it,” Dempsey said. “He did not reply then, nor has he since then.”

The alumni attorneys are demanding that the university accepts the religious exemption that has been offered by the Trump administration and drop contraception and abortion coverage for staff and students. 

They note that the university’s failure to drop contraception and abortion coverage may result in a legal investigation. 

“Finally, though we hope it does not come to it, Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does provide a means for federal courts to determine if there have been misrepresentations by litigants and, if so, what to do about it. A court can invoke the procedure on its own initiative," they state.

"Given the wide publicity accorded the university's turnabout, Court of Appeals judges Hamilton and Flaum and District Judge Simon (Judge Posner having retired) might think a Rule 11 hearing appropriate. Presumably you would welcome this if it would show that Notre Dame had acted with propriety throughout,” they add.

The complete open letter can be found here.

Editor's note: In an earlier version of this report, LifeSiteNews referred to Fr. Jenkins as "William," whereas his name is "John."

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Courtesy of Walk for Life West Coast
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

News,

50k expected to attend Walk for Life West Coast: ‘Our only choice is life’

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

SAN FRANCISCO, California, January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Renowned pro-life activists and a former abortionist turned pro-life obstetrician will speak to an expected 50,000 people at the 14th annual Walk for Life West Coast on Saturday, January 27.

The Walk for Life aims to send “a vocal and visual message that people of the West Coast stand for life” as they peacefully protest abortion. It is a rapidly-growing West Coast event around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion on demand in 1973.

Veteran pro-life activist Joseph Scheidler will receive the Walk’s St. Gianna Molla Award for pro-life heroism. Scheidler has been involved in pro-life activism since the dawn of the pro-life movement. Scheidler is the founder of the Pro-Life Action League.

Dr. John Bruchalski is the former abortionist turned pro-life activist who will appear next to Scheidler. He is the founder of Tepeyac OB/GYN, a massive pro-life medical practice in Fairfax, VA with an attached crisis pregnancy clinic and education arm called Divine Mercy Care.

A promotional video for this year’s Walk for Life shows one of this year’s speakers, Rev. Rev. Clenard Childress of BlackGenocide.org, passionately exhorting the crowd at a past Walk for Life.

“The time has come to lead the way, to make a stand, to defend our families, our children, our future” the video says. “Our only choice is life.”

Another speaker is Terry Beatley of the Hosea Initiative. Beatley has made it her life’s mission to share with as many as possible the story of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of NARAL’s founding abortionists who converted to being pro-life. When Nathanson was dying of cancer, Beatley promised him she’d share his strategy of how he deceived America on abortion.

Dr. Nathanson “trained Planned Parenthood doctors on how to kill babies,” Beatley told LifeSiteNews. His “personal parting message,” which she’ll be sharing with Walk attendees, “carries a lot of weight.”  

David Bereit, the well-known pro-life activist and organizer formerly of 40 Days for Life, told LifeSiteNews the Walk for Life’s location in a “gorgeous city with warmer weather than Washington, D.C.” isn’t the only thing unique about it.

“The tens of thousands of attendees — who participate in pro-life efforts in one of the most difficult regions of America — are not deterred in their advocacy, but instead are joyful, determined, and highly energetic,” said Bereit.

“We know that the message we’ve been proclaiming for the last 40 years is not falling on deaf ears,” a priest says in the promotional video.

“The Walk itself is longer than the March for Life, allowing for a powerful public witness through the heart of downtown San Francisco,” said Bereit. He said the “camaraderie and compassion” the participants display “provides a beacon of light and hope that shines through the darkness of one of America’s most liberal cities.”

“The faithful witness, compassionate messaging, and joyful attitude of the Walk for Life participants provides a beautiful contrast to the hundreds of angry protesters who unsuccessfully try to disrupt and antagonize pro-lifers,” said Bereit. “I am confident that the loving demeanor of the tens of thousands of Walk for Life participants is changing hearts and minds in San Francisco.”

The 2018 Walk for Life begins at 12:30 p.m. with a rally in the San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. Following the rally, participants will walk down Market Street to Justin Herman Plaza.

More information about the Walk for Life can be found at its website.

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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

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Professor with Down syndrome son: I support ‘eugenic abortion,’ it helps ‘disability rights’

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By Claire Chretien

MINNESOTA, January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – While acknowledging his son with Down syndrome has “intrinsic” value “as a human,” a University of Minnesota professor nevertheless defended the “right” to “eugenic abortion” in a 1,600+ word essay at The Nation.

“If individuals want to terminate an otherwise wanted pregnancy due to a prenatal diagnosis, I support their decision,” Professor David M. Perry declared. “It’s time to affirmatively support the right to eugenic abortion, even as we fight the need for it.”

“The anti-choice movement is trying to use the public’s positive feelings about cute kids with Down syndrome, like my son, to undermine reproductive rights,” he complained while, at the same time, arguing that his son, who is born, has intrinsic value and rights.

Perry blasted pro-lifers for allegedly not caring for people with Down syndrome after they are born, apparently missing the irony that as many as 90 percent of babies diagnosed with the chromosomal abnormality are brutally killed while in utero.

“Right now, Down syndrome and other genetic anomalies are being politicized as Republicans try to take away autonomy by playing on fears of eugenics,” Perry fretted.

“It’s time to defang that threat by affirming that a pregnant individual has the right to make whatever choice they wish to make, under any circumstances,” he wrote. “This affirmation serves, rather than works against, the broader campaign for disability rights.”

Perry interviewed liberal ethicists about how to respond “when people with Down syndrome come out in favor of these anti-choice laws.”

People with Down syndrome are “no more than anyone else in the position to make a decision about a body that’s not their own,” Shain Neumeier, responded.

Pro-lifers, however, point out that it is, in fact, abortion that allows a woman to make a decision about a body that’s not her own, namely the body of her preborn child. 

Neumeier also suggested the “pro-neurodiversity, anti-eugenics, and pro-choice” movements unite.

“For anyone to promote eugenics is downright disgusting, but to have a professor and academic adviser promote eugenics is even worse,” said Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America. “Perry is just another example of an extremely pro-abortion professor who preaches an anti-life message and lacks any sort of coherent moral framework.”

In November 2017, a mother named Jen Gann wrote in New York Magazine that she is pursuing a “wrongful birth” lawsuit against the doctors who delivered her son. Had she known he had cystic fibrosis, she would have aborted him, Gann wrote.

“The more I discuss the abortion I didn’t have, the easier that part gets to say aloud: I would have ended the pregnancy. I would have terminated. I would have had an abortion,” she wrote.

“In Jen Gann's article, which reads like [a] woe-is-me-my-life-has-been-disrupted-by-CF pity party, she states that she ‘hates’ mothers like me,” Hawkins responded. “Mothers like me who didn’t take the risk of prenatal tests and gave birth to a child with cystic fibrosis. I would assume she hates me doubly as after my first son, Gunner, was born with CF, and I went on to reproduce, gasp. My fourth child, my only daughter, Gracie, also lives with cystic fibrosis.”

Hawkins said she finds it “extremely troubling” that her tax dollars are potentially funding Perry’s eugenics advocacy.

“As a parent of two children with Cystic fibrosis and a taxpayer in Minnesota, it is extremely troubling that taxpayer dollars are being used to subsidize Perry’s writings,” Hawkins concluded.

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The Editors

News

Top ten 2017 Opinion and Blog posts on LifeSiteNews

The Editors
By

January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The following are the 10 most popular LifeSiteNews opinion pieces and blog posts in 2017. A list of the top 10 LifeSiteNews news stories can be viewed here

1) Opinion - The exclusionary hypocrisy of the Women’s March on Washington - 1/19/17 - page views 827,813

2) Blog post - The surprising real reason for the hate against Donald Trump - 2/3/2017 - page views 762,703

3) Opinion - I am a gay man, happily married to a woman. And I’m not the only one - 3/27/17 - page views 193,037 

4) Opinion - A ‘transgender’ kindergartner registered at my kids’ school. That’s when the madness began. - page views 144,751 - 4/21/17 

5) Opinion - I’m a pediatrician. Here’s what I did when a little boy told me he was a girl - 12/11/17 - page views 136,267 

6) Blog post -​ They gave Pope Francis four years to ‘make the Church over again.’ Here’s how he’s tried - 3/1/2017 - page views 86,740

7) Opinion -​The disturbing secret message of the ‘gay pride’ flag - 5/3/2017 - page views 82,463

8) Blog post - Fox News host celebrates his gay lifestyle, slams conservative Christians - 5/11/2017 - page views 74,852

9) Blog post -​ Vatican gay orgy: 12 facts you need to know 7/6/2017 - page views 72,107

10) Blog post - ​Pope Francis is playing with fire. Hell fire. 3/27/2017 - page views 70,675

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Bishop Andreas Laun, Emeritus Auxiliary of Salzburg, Austria
Diane Montagna Diane Montagna Follow Diane

News,

Austrian bishop signs statement calling Pope’s reading of Amoris Laetitia ‘alien’ to Catholic faith

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By Diane Montagna

January 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Andreas Laun, Emeritus Auxiliary of Salzburg, Austria, today put his name to the “Profession of Immutable Truths about Sacramental Marriage,” bringing the number of signatories to six bishops and one cardinal, LifeSite has confirmed.

On Monday, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan, Archbishop Tomash Peta, Metropolitan of Astana, and Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, issued a “public and unequivocal profession of the truth” regarding the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage as a “service of charity in truth” to the Church of today and to the Pope.

The statement of the Kazakh Ordinaries comes in response to Pope Francis’ and certain bishops’ interpretation of Amoris Laetitia to allow some “remarried” divorcees (without an annulment and not living in sexual continence) access to the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion.

The bishops said that such a reading is causing “rampant confusion,” will spread “a plague of divorce” in the Church, and is “alien” to the Church’s entire faith and Tradition.

The three Kazakh Ordinaries took the decision to make a “public and unequivocal profession of the truth” regarding the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage because they say they “are not allowed to be silent.”

As Catholic bishops charged with defending and promoting the Catholic faith and common discipline, they say they have a “grave responsibility” and “duty before the faithful” who expect from them “a public and unequivocal profession of the truth and the immutable discipline of the Church regarding the indissolubility of marriage.”

READ MORE: Full text of Kazakhstan Catholic Bishops statement on Amoris Laetitia

Bishop Laun is a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1967, and was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Salzburg, Austria on March 25, 1995. Laun has also been a professor of moral theology at the Philosophical-Theological Faculty of Heiligenkreuz, Austria. 

In December 2016, Bishop Laun said in an interview that he shared the concerns of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals over certain passages in Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. “I have read the concerns of the four cardinals, and I agree with them,” he said. “Additionally, I know personally especially Cardinals Meisner and Caffarra and know how competent they are. With them, I am in the best company.”

Bishop Laun turned 75 on October 13 of last year. Pope Francis accepted his resignation the same day on the grounds of age. 

His adherence to the profession brings the total number of signatories up to seven. On Friday, Cardinal Janis Pujats, Emeritus Archbishop Metropolitan of Riga, Latvia, signed the document. On Thursday, former U.S. apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Emeritus Archbishop Luigi Negri joined their names to the profession of “immutable truths about sacramental marriage.”

READ MORE: Cardinal signs statement calling Pope’s reading of Amoris Laetitia ‘alien’ to Catholic faith

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Nicole W. Cooley

Opinion, ,

There’s something worse than being raped: My abortion felt like being raped again

Nicole W. Cooley
By
Nicole Cooley and Morgan

January 8, 2018 (Save The 1) – Just touch one, Lord. . . .  My repeated prayer ever since I first told my story almost twenty years ago has been the same -- for the Lord to somehow use my saga of shame and regret to help someone else.  He's always answered.  The first time I shared my testimony publicly, a woman came up to me afterwards and said, "Thank you for sharing.  My mother forced me to have an abortion when I was sixteen.  I have always felt it was wrong.  You're the first person to validate what I've always known."  But, my favorite answer to that simple prayer lies in the story I'm about to tell.

First, let me tell you my own journey.  I grew up in a Christian home.  As a teenager, I remember my father telling me, "Abortion is wrong.  I'm pro-life except in cases of rape or to save the life of the mother.  As with most of my father's opinions, I took his and made it my own.

A short time later, my biology teacher told the class to write a birth plan for an unplanned pregnancy, and I refused:  "If I never get pregnant, there won't be an unplanned pregnancy.  Abstinence works 100% of the time."  I never contemplated at age 15 that just a few years later, my "plan" would be tested -- and I'd learn the hard way that this "plan" fell way short of preparing me for reality. . . .

I met him on an airplane while traveling home for Christmas.  He offered to get down my overhead luggage for me, and then refused to give me my suitcase.  As I followed him off the plane, still asking for my suitcase, he said, "I'd like to carry it a while longer, if that's okay.  Would you like to get something to drink?"  Surprisingly, I decided I liked him, and agreed to give him my phone number. 

When he called a couple of weeks later, I invited him to church instead of going for a drink.  He counter-invited me to attend his church.  Thrilled he was also a "Christian," I readily agreed.  When I told him, "I'm waiting for marriage for intimacy, so if sex is what you're after, we should end this now," he assured me, "You're preaching to the choir."  He lied.

I'm convinced now that he was in the later stages of a significant pornography addiction.  I can't rationally explain his behavior any other way.  You see, a pornography addiction left unchecked, will always lead to acting out what you read about, and look at.  Over time, your conscience is seared, and just like a cocaine addict, you'll do anything to get your "fix."  For him, I would be his fix -- whether I agreed or not.

When his initial attempts to lure me into bed were futile, he turned to the date rape drug.  

One night I had a horrible dream.  In my dream, I was back on my old college campus -- only now, I was in the later stages of pregnancy.  Late at night, I went from dorm to dorm, looking for a place to sleep.  Desperately tired, everyone turned me away.  Finally, my former boyfriend let me in, but told me I'd have to use the top bunk.  With difficulty, I climbed up, and subsequently fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning, I woke up and told my "boyfriend" about my dream.  His eyes were as big as saucers.  At that point, I still didn't know.  But then I went to the bathroom and something unusual fell out of my body.  Plus I had a growing awareness of soreness, and I knew something was wrong.  I ran out, and yelled, "I need to go to the emergency room!"  He convinced me nothing had happened, but two weeks later, I learned the truth. 

Denial has a sedative effect.  People who have never been there like to say, "I'd never allow myself to be abused like that!"  When you have the starring role in your own horrible TV reality show, it just doesn't seem possible.  In fact, your mind helps you to believe it's not really happening in order to preserve your sanity.  I couldn't believe my boyfriend -- the man my heart had set on marrying -- would rape me.  So, I believed him instead . . . , until two weeks later when two positive pregnancy tests forced me into a reality I wasn't prepared to face.

In the days and weeks after realizing I'd been raped, I walked around in a daze.  My dayplanner for work usually had very little "white space" due to all of my notes.  The near-blank pages after the rape reflected my distracted and zombie-like mental state.  I merely went through the motions of life.  

At the same time, the world's standards demanded I make a life or death decision for another human being.  I just couldn't.  So, I leaned on those I trusted most -- my family, my best friend, and my church.

I tell people now that if you have the honor of being asked for your opinion in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, be prepared to give a real answer.  Telling someone in crisis, "Whatever you want to do, I'll support you" is of no real help at all.  She's asking for definitive advice.  She needs to hear, "I know this feels horrible and you can't see how you're going to get through this, but you will.  I'll walk with you every step. You are going to make it.  You're strong.  You can do this.  I know nine months seems like forever, but it's really not.  Don't make a decision today that you will regret for the rest of your life.  Choose life.  It's the best choice for both of you."

Unfortunately, the only specific advice came from my pastor.  She told me, "Let me put your heart at ease.  In the eyes of the church, any decision, prayerfully considered, is okay.  In your case, I think you should have an abortion.  You need to be able to move past this.  You should have an abortion."  

She went on to tell me about her two daughters who had also faced unplanned pregnancies.  One had chosen adoption, the other abortion, and both were equally good decisions, she said.  She dismissively added, "There's a couple in the church who want to adopt, but, no, you shouldn't talk to them.  You need to have an abortion."

I remember my heart telling me, "Isn't there something in Psalms about this?"  My heart began to break as the door slowly closed inside.  I felt I didn't have a choice.  I was convinced that nobody would adopt my baby with my having a 50% chance of carrying the gene for neurofibromatosis (a horrible disease my Dad battled most of his adult life.)  I began to steel myself for the abortion.  I felt like a lamb being led to her death inside.  I didn't believe I had a choice.

After the abortion, I learned there is something worse than being raped.  The abortion felt like being raped again -- only worse, because this time, I had consented to the assault.  In both cases, men assaulted me physically.  The second trauma -- the abortion, shut me down emotionally, putting me over the edge.  

It took four years to begin the slow path out of denial and into healing in Christ.  If it hadn't been for the wonderful husband God sent me, I don't know how I would be here today.  He told me from the beginning, "I love you, but what you did was wrong."  That chink in my denial helped me years later, after the birth of our first son, John, to finally see the truth.  It shattered my heart.  But, it needed to break . . . so God could put it back together again.

A "Divine appointment" took place a few years ago when I spoke at my church.  Plans for me to speak had been rescheduled several times over many months until the Sunday in November when I finally shared a ministry update with our church.  I now work with the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, sharing abortion victim images primarily on college campuses across Virginia and the Southeast.  That day, I prefaced my talk by saying my words weren't meant to condemn anyone, and not to believe the Enemy if they felt that way.  

As a post-abortive woman myself, I understood that misplaced guilt all too well.  I explained the reasoning behind our work, citing the work of successful historical social reformers like William Wilberforce, Lewis Hine, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..  And, I showed pictures of first trimester abortions -- little babies, with limbs and appendages torn from their tiny bodies.  It's devastating to see for the first time.  And, I had no idea there was a pregnant rape victim in the audience that day. . . .

Morgan told me two months later that she'd been there.  Sitting in the audience, it had been a rare Sunday for her to be in church at all.  She told me, "You were there for me."  

The night she'd been raped, she had snuck out of her home to hang out with friends.  Gang-raped on the way home, she hid her ruined clothes, and told nobody, except a few close friends what had happened.  When she discovered she was pregnant, her high school friends arranged for her to have an abortion the following Saturday.  She had told her parents she had a sporting event in Washington D.C. so they wouldn't be suspicious when she left for the abortion.

But, then, in church, she heard my testimony and saw the pictures -- and she knew she couldn't do it.  

Morgan gained the courage to tell her parents what had happened -- despite feeling ashamed she had snuck out of the house and that she'd planned an abortion.  They rallied around her, and supported her in choosing adoption for her baby instead.  During her pregnancy, I was able to connect her to Save The 1 and she joined their private Facebook for birthmothers from rape, so she wouldn't have to be alone in this.  A family at the church put her in contact with the perfect family for her baby.  Months later she gave birth, and named him "Justice."

The pain from losing my son Matthew is the single greatest regret of my life.  It crushed me.  Abortion forces a mother to turn against her own flesh and blood.  It's self-destructive like no other trauma -- the scars run deep.  Rape is traumatic too, no doubt.  But, compounding the trauma of rape with the second trauma of abortion is contraindicated.  Abortion hurts rape victims; it never helps them.  The best choice for the mother who has conceived in rape is to continue the pregnancy, surrounded by supportive family and friends, or through the support of a pregnancy resource center.

In His Word, God promises that all things will work together for good to those who are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).  For me, Morgan's story is proof of His promise.  My baby died and broke this mother's heart.  But, God used my pain and suffering to propel me into ministry on behalf of the pre-born.  Because I am willing to share my painful testimony of my son's death, baby Justice is alive, and his mother lives without the regret of abortion.  Indeed, when you save the baby conceived in rape or with a fetal abnormality, you actually save two -- mother and child.  We call ourselves "Save The 1," but when you save the 1 child, you save the mother too -- you save them both.

Editor’s note: Nicole W Cooley is a wife, mother, Project Director for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform - Virginia,  author of Into the Light, and a pro-life speaker and blogger for Save The 1.  Her website is www.NicoleWCooley.com. This piece first appeared at Save The One and is republished here by permission. 

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Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky

Opinion,

Seven things a bishop should say when a priest tells his congregation he’s ‘gay’

Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky
By

January 8, 2018 (The Catholic Thing) – Recently, a priest who was prominent in the pastoral care of those with sex addictions received his fifteen minutes of fame when he revealed to his congregation at a Sunday Mass and to the National Catholic Reporter that he was “gay.”  According to news reports, his self-congratulation was met with thunderous applause. In a television interview, he proclaimed there is “nothing wrong with being gay.”

The game plan of a gay priest “coming out” was quite predictable and is politically effective. In revealing his homosexuality, the Midwestern priest was careful to assemble a string of ambiguous assertions that cannot be immediately assailed on grounds of orthodoxy, but when bundled together are morally subversive.  Here is the template:

  • Claim that sexual transparency is a matter of personal integrity.
  • Remind the public that you are a Catholic priest in good standing.
  • Proudly proclaim that you are “gay.”
  • Cultivate the adulation of your congregation by claiming victim status and the freedom that comes from such an honest revelation.
  • As a pre-emptive strike against disciplinary actions by ecclesiastical authorities claim that your self-revelation is truly courageous.
  • Feign humility and presume you have become a necessary role model for others.
  • Remind us that you and all gays (and members of the alphabet soup of sexual perversion) are created in the image of God (implying our sinful neglect).
  • Commit to celibacy (i.e., not to marry), but carefully avoid the term “Christian chastity.”

Each of these assertions, standing alone, would likely withstand ecclesiastical censure.  But when woven together, the gay agenda promoting the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle within the Church comes into a clear focus.

The priest’s bishop also responded according to a predictable contemporary ecclesiastical template: “We support [the priest] in his own personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation. As the Church teaches, those with same-sex attraction must be treated with understanding and compassion.”

The bishop probably succeeded in preventing a media firestorm. He also effectively allowed the priest to rise in stature as a gay freedom fighter. The studied moral ambiguity of the clerical gay activist proved to be an effective political buzz saw. The full and beautiful teachings of Christ on human sexuality, however, were further undermined.

Faithful and orthodox Catholics are at a political disadvantage in our gay-friendly culture.  We realize that same-sex inclinations – as with all seriously sinful inclinations – cause great suffering and, unrestrained, can become a true slavery that endangers others including adolescents and even young children. But our opposition to the gay agenda is often crudely characterized as hateful and unreasonable.  So a brief sketch of natural law in Catholic sexual morality may be helpful.

Male and female sex organs differ and have a unique reproductive function. The body of every human being contains a self-sufficient digestive or respiratory system. But it only contains half of a reproductive system and must be paired with a half-system belonging to a person of the opposite sex in order to carry out its function. These are undeniable biological facts.

“To engage in sex” is a relational term that implies male and female complementarity.  Only a male and a female truly “engage in sex.”  In contrast, same-sex “relations” involve the exercise of one’s sexual power, but not according to its self-evident nature.  Sodomy is not really relational “sex.”  It is merely a masturbatory use of sexual powers.  Similarly, there is no such thing as “sexual relations” with a “sex robot” (alas, an emerging technology).

When a priest claims to be “gay and proud,” he is revealing that he has assented to his same-sex attraction. Free and deliberate thoughts have moral implications, as Jesus asserted: “But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:28)   The difference between internal assent and external action is only a matter of a sinful opportunity. An unabashed and proud “gay” priest has already committed sodomy in his heart.

So how might an ecclesiastical superior defend Church teaching if one of his priests (or religious) claims a special dignity by “coming out” as gay?  The superior should invoke immutable Christian moral principles in dealing with a self-described gay priest:

  • Acknowledge that he is afflicted with “same-sex attraction” (SSA).
  • Admit that SSA is an inclination toward mortal sin that if not restrained will lead him and others to eternal damnation.
  • Identify and renounce any physical expression of SSA.
  • Properly define celibacy to include Christian chastity that precludes all sexual activity in thought, word or deed.
  • Invoke Scriptural references condemning sodomy (cf. Genesis and Saint Paul).
  • Renounce the use of the word “gay” because it is a political term that has its roots in the homosexual subculture.
  • Apologize for encouraging others to publicly reveal their mortally sinful inclinations. (The Eighth Commandment protects natural secrets.)

After a careful inquiry, the superior should release a public statement of clarification, prohibiting the priest from his homosexual activism and taking further personnel action according to the demands of Catholic morality and Canon Law.

Would a media firestorm ensue? Probably. But the superior would courageously confirm that the studied ambiguity of the gay agenda promoted by the priest is a lie.

During the rite of ordination for priests, the bishop says, “May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.”  Priests – and everyone – are in a constant state of change, for the better or for the worse. Fulfilling the duties of Holy Orders or any Christian vocation with true moral integrity is a lifelong task.

If we are going to find our true and final happiness in Christ, we must not only recognize and understand our sinful inclinations, but make firm and constant efforts to overcome them. “Celebrating” those inclinations simply makes no sense – whether the inclination is same-sex attraction or any other deviation from God’s plan for us.

Editor's Note: Father Jerry J. Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington. He is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Great Falls, Virginia. This piece first appeared on The Catholic Thing and is republished here by permission. 

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Polish Rosary chain.
Human Life International

Opinion, ,

Courage, Fervor, and the Example of Poland

Human Life International
By

January 8, 2018 (Human Life International) –

When one is convinced that his cause is just, he will fear nothing. –– Saint John Bosco

I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year than with a positive story – one that shows what great things are possible when a nation rejects the forces of atheistic secularism and turns back to God!

Perhaps you heard about the massive “Rosary at the Borders” event that took place in Poland on October 7, the feast of Our Lady of Victory and Our Lady of the Rosary. An estimated one million+ Polish people traveled to thousands of different locations on the Polish border to pray the Rosary. The goal was to encircle the entire country with prayer, begging Mary’s protection on the country and for peace in the world.

One of the two main organizers of the Rosary event, Maciej “Maciek” Bodasiński, explained: “We desire to pray for the conversion of Poland, Europe and the whole world to Christ, so that more souls will be saved from eternal damnation and find their path to God.” The event received official support from Polish Prime Minister Beata Maria Szydło, who on the same day tweeted out a photo of a rosary, writing, “I greet all the participants.”

However, this unprecedented show of public faith is just the tip of the iceberg, the most visible symbol of something much bigger going on in the former Communist country. The new Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, gave an interview in December in which he expressed his intent to take steps to “re-Christianize the EU.” And indeed, story after story has emerged in recent months about how Poland is actively pushing back against the encroaching and increasingly intolerant forces of secularism, seeking to re-embrace its Catholic religious and cultural heritage.

The Pro-life, Pro-family, Pro-Faith Push in Poland

Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.
–– Saint Augustine

While Poland is already one of the most pro-life countries in the EU (at least in terms of its laws), it sadly does still permit abortion in several cases, including when the baby is disabled, or in cases of rape. Unfortunately, a bill that would have completely banned abortion was rejected in 2016 by politicians, despite significant public support. However, almost immediately a new effort was launched to ban so-called “eugenic” abortions – i.e. abortions targeting disabled babies. A citizen’s petition supporting the new abortion ban has received a remarkable 830,000 signatures – more than eight times number necessary to automatically trigger a legislative debate on the issue!

This week, Poland’s bishops strongly backed the abortion ban, releasing an appropriately strongly-worded statement. “There can be no place for killing other people, especially disabled and sick children!” said the bishops. “This is not only a matter of worldview or religion but above all of science which unambiguously shows that human life begins at the moment of conception.”

Despite the country’s comparatively strong pro-life stance, however, it still suffers from an abysmally low birth rate at 1.32 births per woman – far below the replacement level. Recognizing the dangers that this catastrophically low birth rate poses for the future of the country, the government has begun to encourage couples to be open to life. As well, an effort is underfoot to restrict access to so-called “emergency contraception” – which can also act as an abortifacient.

The Polish legislature also recently passed a bill that would return the country to the traditional practice of keeping Sundays as a day of rest by requiring stores to close. The bill requires stores to begin closing two Sundays per month, moving to every Sunday by 2020. This might seem like a relatively small thing, but we shouldn’t underestimate the power of reclaiming Sundays as “the Lord’s Day.”

In the first place, the Scriptures clearly command the honoring of the Sabbath: “for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:11) In the second place, reserving Sunday as a day of rest has enormous benefits for the spiritual, mental, and physical welfare of a nation, above all for families! Honoring the Sabbath not only carves out the time and space needed for prayer and spiritual refreshment, it also ensures that families have at least one day when they can be together, without the pressures of work or shopping. As a symbolic gesture of the value given to God and the family, reclaiming the Sabbath is enormously important!

Powerful Secularists Push Back

Naturally, all the powerful, malevolent forces of radical secularism are trying to make it as hard as possible for Poland to return to its cultural and religious roots. A 2017 report from a Polish institute found evidence that the country’s pro-abortion movement has received “enormous funding” from foreign sources – above all from meddling, pro-abort extremist George Soros. The European Union as well has explicitly threatened Poland with sanctions if it passes the law protecting handicapped babies from abortion.

The mainstream media too, has been doing everything to distort the nature of many of the changes happening in Poland. The abortion ban is, of course, being treated as an attack on the “rights” of women, rather than a defense of the life of the vulnerable. Even more egregiously, the global media were at pains to paint the Rosary event as a hateful, xenophobic, bigoted, backward event, motivated by “Islamophobia.”

Be brave, do not be led by what others think and say!
–– Saint John Bosco

However, Maciej Bodasiński, the organizer of the event who I quoted above, strenuously denied that the event was targeted at any specific threat. Instead, he described it as “purely a spiritual event.” He explained:

This year, now in 2017, in the 100th anniversary of the revelations of the Mother of God in Fatima, we want to follow her call to pray the rosary for the rescue of the world. The Rosary to the Borders is not a crusade because we don’t want to fight with anyone. It is a giant commotion for, not against, something. We firmly follow her command, and we will pray at the borders of our country, going out in prayer and witness to the whole world, so that the Mercy of God is not confined to any border.

Bodasiński added these prophetic words:

In the face of growing tension, threats of war, and terrorism, we want to pray for peace for the world. But peace is understood not just as lack of war but as the peace of God, the peace of the heart. Many people who have converted say that this is the greatest gift that they have received from the Creator — peace of heart. Whatever happens, you trust [in God], and you are calm. We pray for peace for people, among people, and among nations.

Never have truer words been spoken. It is fitting that this spiritual resurgence is happening in Poland – the home country of our beloved Saint John Paul II, the pope of the family. The Polish people suffered immensely under atheistic Communism; they saw first-hand what happens when God is systematically pushed out of a country. It is interesting that the country’s prime minister, the one who wants to “re-Christianize” Europe, risked and suffered much from a very young age in order to play an active role in the Solidarity movement that opposed Communism in Poland.

Communism is now effectively dead in Poland; but the country, like all other Western countries, is facing the new threat of radical secularism, which in addition to being dead-set on the destruction of religion, also loathes the traditional family and the unborn. Poland’s willingness to reject the pressures of the EU and wealthy secularists is a credit to the faith of the Polish people, and an example for the rest of us. Poland is showing that it is possible for a 21st century Western nation to resist the forces of secularism, and to bring faith back into the public square. May other Western countries begin to take note, and follow Poland’s example.

Editor's note: This piece first appeared on Human Life International and is republished here by permission. 

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Hollywood liberals are on a slippery slope toward morality…and it’s scaring them to death

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By Doug Mainwaring

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The upcoming Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) annual “Oscars” award night is shaping up to be more conundrum than celebration.  Liberal elites who have always scoffed at conservatives’ warnings of slippery slopes when it comes to moral issues, now faced with their own moral dilemma, are suddenly true believers.  

And they are scared. 

When the Academy’s board of governors — including luminaries such as Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, and Steven Spielberg — held an emergency meeting in October to deal with multiple sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, they had no choice but to oust the legendary producer from their ranks.

After all, with the flood of Weinstein allegations the Academy quickly found itself drowning in bad press.  A Change.org petition with more than 100,000 signatures demanding Weinstein be expelled no doubt helped to cinch the decision. 

They thought they had disposed of the issue quickly, freeing themselves from future controversy and unwanted attention.  They were wrong.  Dead wrong.

After the Weinstein story broke, one story after another of sexual impropriety by some of the biggest names in Hollywood erupted.  It seems like it will never end.

Now the Academy doesn’t know what to do.

According to a report in PageSix.com, one male Academy member said, “Harvey opened the floodgates.  Now the Academy’s drowning in a tide of s—t.  They don’t know what hit them.”

Kevin Spacey was accused of assaulting young men.  Dustin Hoffman, brothers Ben and Casey Affleck, and former Saturday Night Live cast member Al Franken were accused of assaults against women.  Screenwriter James Toback and director Brett Ratner were also accused of inappropriate sexual behavior.  

Sliding Toward Morality

“Kathleen Kennedy [producer of the ‘Star Wars’ series] and some other female governors panicked and felt compelled to act,” according to a prominent female AMPAS member in the PageSix.com report.  “They thought [Weinstein] could hurt AMPAS’ cred.  Some of them did admit this was a slippery slope.  But I don’t think they imagined how slippery.”

By admitting that the immoral sexual behavior of one man — Harvey Weinstein — was a bad, if not criminal thing, and that it was something that AMPAS and its members could neither ignore or sweep under the carpet, the liberals who control the entertainment industry are in a quandary:  Where do they stop?  When can their consciences be safely ignored again?

The slippery slopes that conservatives have dealt with over the years have been issues triggered by the sexual revolution.  

A Different Kind of Slippery Slope

For decades, conservatives have been assured that abortion would be “safe, legal and rare,” and that no slippery slope existed.  Fifty million-plus in utero infant murders later, the slippery slope was clearly there.

Conservatives were also assured that gays and lesbians only wanted to be left alone to live their lives in peace, and that same-sex marriage wouldn’t impact anyone outside those “marriages.”  Yet now those who can’t in good conscience bake cakes, arrange flowers or photograph gay “weddings” are harshly punished, faced with exorbitant fines and the dissolution of their businesses.  Though conservatives were laughed at — told that their homophobia was running wild, imagining there was a slippery slope — the slope was there. 

And religious organizations which once enjoyed the fruits of religious liberty, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, found that the slippery slope resulted in them being bullied and discriminated against for choosing to uphold their religious beliefs. 

Now, the Left finds itself sliding down a slippery slope of its own making, unable to reach out and grab a branch or tree trunk to slow its out of control descent.  

But the left’s slippery slope is different from the one conservatives have sought to avoid.  The Left finds itself slipping uphill toward morality, and they are panicked by it.  Suddenly, they are unable to continue to protect or legitimize the sexual revolution – a revolution for which they have gladly marched out front carrying their banners.  

How can they possibly continue to defend the sexual revolution while condemning the behaviors the revolution fosters?  It’s a no-win situation. 

They have brought this upon themselves via the monsters they created and whose enormous appetites they fed.  

Reason tells them they must keep moving forward down their treacherous, icy Matterhorn, glancing off sharp-edged, craggy rocks of truth and buffeted about by unwanted self-realization.  

At the end of their slippery slope, however, lies not the death of countless innocents and the destruction of marriages, families and freedom, but salvation and reformed lives. 

In fact, it’s almost as if they are afraid of sliding uphill, not down.  

No wonder they are scared to death. 

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U.K. mom angry after doctors misdiagnosed baby, advised abortion: baby is completely healthy

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By Lianne Laurence

LONDON, England, January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A U.K. mother is blasting staff at St. George’s Hospital who she says advised her to have an abortion after misdiagnosing her unborn child with a rare and painful genetic condition that causes brittle bones.

But Kamelia Walters ignored the advice and gave birth to a healthy baby girl 18 months ago, she told the Sun Online in an exclusive interview.

Walters, 25, said she went to St. George’s for an ultrasound scan in January 2016.

At that time, the technician called in a consultant who told the young mother her unborn baby had bone fractures.

Doctors at the hospital then told Walters her daughter “probably” had osteogenesis imperfecta type 3, according to the Sun.

Osteogenesis imperfecta causes fragile bones, so individuals with the condition often suffer multiple bone fractures. It also affects the internal organs, and symptoms can include respiratory problems, bone deformity, spine curvatures, fractures of the vertebrae, and hearing loss.

“They started telling me I could get an abortion,” Walters told the Sun Online.

“I was just petrified when I came home that day,” she said. “I was just crying to my mum and she said she didn’t believe it because nobody in my family has anything like that.”

Walters and her partner, 27-year-old Lamar Anderson, also refused a test doctors told them would give a 100 percent accurate diagnosis, but which carried a risk of miscarriage.

When her baby, Kyla-Shae, was born, she was told the baby was normal, Walters told the Sun.

“I knew already somehow that there was nothing wrong with her and when she was born it just confirmed it.”

But Walters is outraged that had she followed the doctors’ advice, she would have aborted her baby, she told the Sun Online.

Meanwhile, she has since given birth to a second healthy daughter, Kyarah.

A spokesperson for St. George’s told the Sun the hospital couldn’t comment on individual cases, but that it “would welcome the opportunity to meet with her on an individual basis to discuss the concerns she has raised.”

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