All articles from January 12, 2018


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Lilianne Ploumen with the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great award
Michael Hichborn

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Pope Francis awards architect of safe-abortion fund pontifical honor

Michael Hichborn

January 12, 2018 (Lepanto Institute) – On January 12, reports began surfacing on Twitter that Lilianne Ploumen, former minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the Netherlands, was honored by Pope Francis with the title of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. 

The Lepanto Institute was able to confirm from a December 22, 2017, Dutch radio broadcast that Ploumen indeed received the honor. In a brief video clip promoting the broadcast, Ploumen displays the medal while saying that she received it from the Pope.

Here is a crude translation of the exchange:

BNR: And this is the umpteenth prize that Lilianne Ploumen observes, won in 2017 and from whom they came.

Ploumen: Yes, it is a high distinction from the Vatican; from the pope.

BNR: From the pope.

Ploumen: Beautiful.

BNR: Yes.

Ploumen: It is Commander in the order of St. Gregory.

BNR: And that despite that you are pro-abortion.

Ploumen: Yes, you can check.

To say that Lilianne Ploumen is “pro-abortion” is an extreme understatement and doesn’t even come close to the scandalous reality of her activism.

In January 2017, after U.S. President Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, Ploumen launched a new NGO called She Decides to provide mass amounts of funds to organizations that would no longer receive funds from the U.S. government. The Mexico City Policy automatically denies U.S. funding for international organizations that perform or promote abortion.

Referring to the Mexico City Policy as a “Global Gag Rule,” Ploumen stated that the intention of She Decides was to continue support for existing programs being run by organizations such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International. She said, “These are successful and effective programs: direct support, distributing condoms, making sure women are accompanied at the birth, and making sure abortion is safe if they have no other choice.”

By July 2017, Ploumen’s program had raised more than $300 million.

In October 2017, Ploumen wrote an article for the Financial Times, in which she emphatically stated, “America’s regressive policies on abortion are a calamity for girls’ and women’s rights that the rest of the world must counter.”

Ironically, just a few days ago, Ploumen was awarded the Machiavelli Prize “for her campaign for the safe abortion fund SheDecides.” The article on the award indicates that “The Machiavelli prize is awarded to a person or organization which the jury considers has excelled in public communication. In particular, the jury praised the speed at which SheDecides was set up and went global.”

It is worth noting that from 2004 to 2007 Ploumen was the director of programs and on the board of directors for CORDAID, the Dutch Catholic aid relief agency that was caught funding Planned Parenthood and dispensing contraception.

But Ploumen’s anti-Catholic activity isn’t restricted to abortion. In September 2017, Ploumen participated in the United Nations LGBTI Core Group.  As the first speaker at the event, Ploumen noted that LGBTI rights are human rights.  In her opening remarks, she said, “We cannot be complacent. (Today) in more than 70 countries homosexuality is still criminalized … stigma against LGBT people continue all over the world.”

In 2014, Ploumen ended foreign aid to the country of Uganda for passing a bill banning sodomy and same-sex “marriage.”

In February 2010, Ploumen called on LGBT activists to descend upon and disrupt Mass at St. John the Baptist Cathedral, wearing pink triangles with the words “Jesus excludes no one.” The reason?  She and other pro-LGBT activists were protesting the Church’s moral teaching regarding homosexuality.

The Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great was established in September 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI. The honor of membership in the Order is conferred on individuals for their “personal service to the Holy See and to the Roman Catholic Church, through their unusual labors, their support of the Holy See, and their excellent examples set forth in their communities and their countries.”

It remains to be seen what service Lilianne Ploumen has provided for the Catholic Church or the Holy See, given her staunch support for homosexuality, abortion and contraception. Given that the one thing that Lilianne Ploumen is known for in the past year is the establishment of a fund that provides hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations that commit abortion and dispense contraception, it is difficult, if not impossible, to separate her recent Pontifical honor from this grievous and scandalous act.

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This display represents 100,000 babies killed by abortion, which is a fraction of the number of unborn children killed throughout the world in the first two weeks of 2018. SPUC
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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Less than two weeks into the new year, the number of babies killed by abortion tops 1 million

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

January 12, 2018 (SPUC) — The numbers are horrific.

A digital counter is illustrating the horrifying scale of abortion around the world. Already, less than two weeks into 2018, over 1.2 million babies have been killed by abortion.

The Worldometers website has real-time counters showing dozens of different statistics, including births, deaths, and public expenditure. It also has one for abortion. On 11 January 2018, the number passed 1.2 million, meaning the one million mark would have been passed in the morning of Tuesday 9 January. The number increases every second or so, each one representing the death of an innocent unborn child. 

The website uses data from the World Health Organisation, which estimates that there are 40-50 million abortions in the world every year, corresponding to approximately 125,000 abortions per day. These figures are disputed, as the WHO's recent worldwide report, produced in consultation with the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, has been accused of "wildly inflating" the number of illegal abortions taking place in developing countries.

Stark reminder

However, while the statistics may not be completely reliable (and bear in mind that although Guttmacher might exaggerate illegal abortions, it doesn't include those caused by abortifacient contraception), the counter serves as a stark reminder of the vast scale of the slaughter of the innocents happening across the world.

SPUC CEO John Smeaton said: "It is truly staggering to think that already in this year, which has barely begun, over a million lives have been lost to abortion. On this, the 51st anniversary of the founding of SPUC, it spurs us to work harder than ever, in co-operation with all like-minded organisations, to put an end to the evil of abortion, both here in Britain and around the world."

Reprinted with permission from the Society for the Protection of the Unborn.

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Georgetown approves LGBT-only campus housing

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WASHINGTON D.C., January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In a startling move for a university that claims to be Catholic, Jesuit-run Georgetown University announced this week that it will offer LGBT-only campus housing.

Perhaps more startling, the university claims the move is based on “Jesuit values.”

Located in the tony Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, GU is about as old as the nation itself. Founded in 1789, the institution boasts a long and illustrious history, which in recent decades has given way to controversy as it has become not only secularized but in some ways anti-Catholic.   

The proposal for “‘The “Crossroads: Gender and Sexuality’ Living Learning Community (LLC) was initially rejected by the Office of Residential Life in April,” reports Campus Reform, which broke the story, “but was subsequently approved in December.”  

According to the Campus Reform report, associate director of residential education Katie Heather “informed student Grace Smith, a leader of the LLC effort, that her proposal has ‘been approved and accepted for the 2018-2019 academic year.’”

Vice president of student affairs Todd Olson said the LGBT campus housing “will provide a community space for discussion on gender and inclusion while upholding the Jesuit values of community in diversity and educating the whole person.”

“Our Catholic and Jesuit values call on us to engage with ‘respect, compassion, and sensitivity’ with our LGBTQ community,” Olson continued in the Campus Reform report. “It is in keeping with our Catholic and Jesuit values to provide a language, perspective, and sense of inclusion for deepening our sense of cura personalis.”

Grace Smith, head of the student government’s LGBTQ+ Inclusivity Policy Team, said in a Facebook posting that the move is “A REALLY BIG DEAL AT A JESUIT UNIVERSITY.”

“This means that students will now begin to have a unique residential space dedicated to exploring and understanding themselves and others in relation to gender and sexuality,” Smith continued. “Congratulations to everyone who made this dream a reality.”

Authentic Catholicism bullied and squelched at Georgetown U.

In 2014, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia reportedly said of his alma mater, Georgetown University, that it is “not Catholic anymore.”

Recent history seems to bear that out.

In October, a student group at Georgetown University faced defunding and other possible sanctions for defending the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage.

GU Pride and Georgetown University Queer People of Color complained claimed the Love Saxa group violates the Division of Student Affairs’ Student Organization Standards. The GU student newspaper, The Hoya, piled on with an editorial, asserting that Love Saxa, because of its stance on marriage, “fosters intolerance” and therefore “is antithetical to what a university club should be.” The group was also said to be “homophobic.”

The complaint was eventually dropped by the university.  

In April 2016, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards received a standing ovation at GU when she delivered a lecture despite opposition from the archbishop of Washington and pro-life students.

During her speech, Richards commended pro-choice campus groups while also praising abortion activist Wendy Davis, birth control crusader Sandra Fluke, and the millennial generation for what she claimed was its belief in “LGBT rights” and “reproductive rights.”

In May 2012, Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute invited then Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to deliver a commencement speech, despite criticism from Catholics angry about the Obama administration’s healthcare policies.  Before and after the address, GU students hostile to Catholic protesters hurled angry insults at the group, standing just outside a campus entrance.  

The Exorcist author and Academy Award winner William Peter Blatty said at the time that his alma mater had for the past two decades “invited speakers who support abortion rights and has refused to comply with orders by the late Pope John Paul II for church-affiliated colleges and universities,” according to a Fox News report.  

Blatty said inviting Sebelius was the “last straw.”

“I owe much to the Jesuit fathers and to Georgetown University,” Blatty said on his The Father of King Society website, according to the Fox News report. “What I owe Georgetown, however, is nothing as compared to what Georgetown owes to its founders and the Christ of faith.”

Explosive dossier

A 119-page dossier compiled by the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) at Blatty’s request in 2013 and updated in January 2017, “Catholic Identity Concerns at Georgetown University,” offers a litany of troubling, increasingly anti-Catholic actions and trends at GU.

“Several of the student organizations sponsored by Georgetown were found to be advocating for abortion, same-sex ‘marriage’ and contraception,” notes a summary report by Church Militant.

In particular, the dossier focuses on GU's hiring of anti-Catholic faculty and staff, including professors who worked for pro-abortion groups and who promote abortion; who advocated for physician-assisted suicide; and who advocated for gender ideology and same-sex marriage, according to a bullet list compiled by Church Militant based on the dossier.   

The list also included a lesbian professor who advocates for “gay and bisexual activity;” a Catholic priest in a same-sex “marriage” and who officiated at “same-sex weddings;” and a priest who co-founded a group to oppose U.S. bishops on same-sex marriage.

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Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for the Holy See
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Vatican Cardinal: Amoris Laetitia arose from Pope’s ‘new paradigm’ for Catholic Church

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VATICAN CITY, January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Vatican's Secretary of State Pietro Cardinal Parolin stated that Pope Francis’ teaching on marriage and the family found in his 2016 controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia arose from the Pope’s “new paradigm” for the Catholic Church.  

Cardinal Parolin stated that “ultimately Amoris Laetitia arose from a new paradigm that Pope Francis is carrying out with wisdom, prudence and even patience.” He made the comment in an interview with Alessandro Gisotti of Vatican News, the Holy See’s “new information system.” 

The Pope’s exhortation plunged the Church into a crisis over its apparent contradiction of Catholic teaching concerning divorce and remarriage. Specifically, the exhortation has been interpreted by leading bishops and cardinals as allowing Catholics in a second “marriage” who are committing adultery to receive Holy Communion.

Last September, over 60 Catholic clergy and lay scholars from around the world issued what they called a “Filial Correction” to Pope Francis for “propagating heresy.”

When asked why the exhortation caused such a heated confrontation, the cardinal responded: “Probably the difficulties that have arisen and still exist in the Church are due, in addition to some aspects of the content, to this change in attitude that the Pope asks of us.”

“A change in paradigm, inherent in the text itself, that is asked of us: this new spirit, this new approach!” he added.

The Cardinal’s comment echoes that of one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, Argentinean Archbishop Victor Fernández, who said in a 2015 interview that the Pope plans to change the Church in ways that cannot be undone by future popes.

“The pope goes slow because he wants to be sure that the changes have a deep impact. The slow pace is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the changes. He knows there are those hoping that the next pope will turn everything back around. If you go slowly it's more difficult to turn things back… . You have to realize that he is aiming at reform that is irreversible,” he said. 

READ: They gave Pope Francis four years to ‘make the Church over again.’ Here’s how he’s tried.

Cardinal Parolinl said in the interview that every change involves difficulties, but the difficulties raised by Amoris Laetitia must be faced with diligence and enthusiasm to find answers that “become moments of further growth.” 

“And here, too, I believe that Amoris Laetitia, in addition to being an embrace that the Church gives to the family and to its problems in today’s world, to help truly incarnate the Gospel within the Family--which is already a Gospel: the Gospel of the Family--it is also at the same time a request for help from families so that they will collaborate and contribute to the growth of the Church.” 

But a number of bishops within the Church have recently called the Pope’s teaching in the exhortation “alien” to the Catholic faith.

Earlier this month three bishops 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 was a 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 statement has since been signed by three additional bishops, bringing the total number up to six. 

During the interview, Cardinal Parolin said the Church’s focus in 2018 would be on “young people.” He said the focus would be based on a “paradigm of responsibility exempt from paternalism.”

“I believe that the most innovative aspect of this approach is the search for a new relationship of the church with young people, based on a paradigm of responsibility exempt from paternalism,” he told Vatican News. “The Church wants to truly enter into dialogue with the reality of youth, wants to understand the young and help the young.” 

Ordained to the priesthood in 1980, Parolin has had a long and distinguished career as a Vatican diplomat, with many years experience of living and working in Latin America.  

Benedict XVI appointed him Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela in 2009 when there was growing conflict between the Church and the socialist state, and in 2014 Parolin was invited back to the troubled nation to mediate between the government and the opposition party.  In 2014 he also played a role in the improvement of relations between the United States of America and Cuba. 

In August 2013, Parolin was appointed Secretary of State by Pope Francis, becoming, at 58, the youngest man to hold the top position since it was filled in 1929 by Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII, at the age of 53. 

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Mary Wagner was arrested for peacefully protesting at an abortion clinic. The Ontario government, on behalf of an abortionist, have successfully blocked our full coverage of the trial!
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Canadian pro-lifer awaiting trial remains jailed after refusing to stop defending unborn

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TORONTO, January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Jailed pro-life heroine Mary Wagner is scheduled for another court appearance January 26, but it’s unclear if a trial date will be set at that time.

Wagner, who is representing herself, appeared briefly in an Ontario, Canada, courtroom on Friday to receive disclosures of evidence of the Crown’s case against her.

She will be back in court in two weeks to discuss with the judge how to move the case forward.

Wagner, 43, has been in jail since her December 8 arrest at Women’s Care Clinic, an abortion facility located on the fifth floor of 960 Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto.

She and a friend entered the abortion center with red roses and attempted to persuade women to choose life for their unborn children.

Wagner is charged with mischief and two counts of breach of probation.

In a December 22 court appearance, Wagner asked Justice Howard Chisvin to release her on the sole condition she return for her trial, pointing out that she is already under two probation orders to stay away from all abortion centers in Ontario.

The judge refused, and instead imposed the Crown’s requested bail of $500 and the condition that Wagner stay away from abortion centers until her trial.

“It’s up to you, Ms. Wagner, to sign it or not sign it,” Chisvin told her. “If you choose to sign it you can go…”

But Wagner refused to sign the bail order. She will likely remain behind bars until her trial.

And just when the trial will take place remains an open question, said Wagner's friend and supporter Linda Gibbons.

A well-known pro-life advocate, Gibbons has spent two weeks shy of 11 years in jail for her peaceful pro-life witness outside Toronto’s abortion centers.

She characterized the judge’s bail condition, as well as the repeated court appearances, as “abusive” to Wagner.

“What they offered her is a violation of her conscience,” Gibbons told LifeSiteNews. 

“They’re telling her, okay, we’ll stop beating you if you sit down and turn your back on the unborn. And, that’s not Mary.”

A faithful Catholic, Wagner has spent four years, nine months and counting behind bars for her peaceful and prayerful attempts to rescue women and unborn babies from the violence of abortion.

But Wagner accepts these consequences in solidarity with children in the womb, who have no voice and no protection under law, says Gibbons.

Canada has sanctioned the killing of unborn children since 1969, when then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s Liberal government passed an omnibus bill decriminalizing abortion. 

The Supreme Court struck down that law in 1988 with the Morgentaler decision, which resulted in abortion on-demand for practically any reason. To date, Canada’s parliamentarians have failed to legislate any protection for the child in the womb. 

Moreover, Prime minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberals have made the false claim that there is a Charter right to abortion. They have made this claim a Liberal Party imperative and their government’s driving core mandate.

“When Mary’s in court, it’s not her that’s on trial, it’s the system that’s on trial,” Gibbons told LifeSiteNews. 

The “rigmarole” that Wagner is going through is “abusive” to her, Gibbons said, but Wagner is “taking it on” as part of her identification with unborn children.

“The unborns’ suffering has been drawn on for 40 years, so if Mary has to go to court umpteen times to defend life, that’s her little identification with the unborn,” added Gibbons.

“I often had a saying, that the system wants to chew me up, but they haven’t figured out how to spit me out. And, that applies to Mary, too.”

Wagner is scheduled to appear in Room 303, 1000 Finch courthouse, January 26.

Her mailing address is: Vanier Center for Women, 655 Martin St., Milton, ON L9T 5E6

Related:

Judge’s order leaves pro-life activist Mary Wagner in jail for Christmas

Pro-life heroine writes powerful Christmas letter to supporters from jail cell

Mary Wagner jailed again after entering abortion center to save unborn babies

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U.S. Congressman: Pro-life ‘turf battle’ preventing vote on bill to ban nearly all abortions

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Rep. Steve King, R-IA, wears his Heartbeat Bill pin during a Congressional hearing on the legislation Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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Janet Porter, the architect of and main lobbyist for the Heartbeat Bill Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life groups and members of Congress are divided over whether on the day of the March for Life, the U.S. House should vote on a bill that would ban nearly all abortions, or instead a bill to ban infanticide after botched abortions.

The Heartbeat Protection Act would make it illegal to abort babies whose heartbeats can be detected.

“It’s the most protective incremental bill in existence,” said one of its organizers, Janet Porter of Faith2Action.

The U.S. House is slated to vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would expand Bush-era anti-infanticide protections for babies born alive during botched abortions, on January 19 as hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists march through D.C.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act has 87 cosponsors. The Heartbeat Protection Act has 169 cosponsors.

Fetal heartbeats begin at 21 days and can usually be measured around six weeks into pregnancy.

Under the Heartbeat Bill, babies with detectable heartbeats who are conceived in rape cannot be aborted.

The pro-lifers behind the Heartbeat Bill argue that their bill should be voted on during the March for Life.

One Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson, D-MN, is a cosponsor of the Heartbeat Bill.

Since the original Born-Alive Bill became law in 2002, undercover investigations have revealed abortionists let babies “expire” or don’t give them life-saving care if they survive a late-term abortion.

Jill Stanek is a nurse who witnessed late-term babies born alive during abortion procedures and left to die. She now works as the Susan B. Anthony List’s National Campaign Chair.

“Horrific crimes are taking place in abortion facilities around the country. Children born alive are denied medical care and left to die – cold, alone, abandoned and discarded like medical waste,” she said. “From Kermit Gosnell’s ‘house of horrors,’ to a D.C. abortionist admitting he would not intervene to save the baby, to a former Planned Parenthood medical director stating that the main consideration when determining whether to provide lifesaving care is who’s watching, pleading ignorance is not an option. This is infanticide, plain and simple. Everyone should be able to agree on equal protection under the law for these children.”

“We thank Leader McCarthy for bringing this bill to a vote,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “It makes an excellent companion to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which passed last October and would end the cruel late-term abortions that are so likely to produce born-alive survivors. The House has been a dynamo generating pro-life legislation over the past year and momentum is clearly building. Senate colleagues must do their part and hold a vote.”

Although SBA has been championing the Born-Alive and Pain-Capable Bills, “we support the Heartbeat legislation” its communications director Mallory Quigley told LifeSiteNews.

One of President Trump’s campaign promises to the pro-life movement was to sign the Pain-Capable Bill into law. It passed the U.S. House 237-186 last year.  

Pro-life activists who focus on passing laws like the Pain-Capable Bill to end most late-term abortions or the Born-Alive Bill to stop infanticide put pro-abortion Democrats in an uncomfortable position. When Democrats voted against the Pain-Capable Bill in 2017, they were literally voting to keep legal late-term abortions on babies capable of feeling pain (who often can survive if born prematurely).

If the U.S. House votes on the Born-Alive bill during the March for Life, Democrats’ pro-abortion extremism will again be revealed as they vote against a bill stopping infanticide.

Some people say that bans on dismemberment abortion and/or late-term abortion on pain-capable babies are more likely to hold up under Supreme Court scrutiny, meaning they could significantly chip away at or even undo Roe v. Wade.

The Heartbeat Bill supporters also argue that their bill will be upheld by the Supreme Court, especially after President Trump makes his next appointment to the court when a justice dies or retires.

“The next appointment to the Supreme Court makes it very likely that a Heartbeat Bill would be upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court,” the Heartbeat Bill’s sponsor Rep. Steve King, R-IA, told LifeSiteNews.

Voting to allow abortions on babies with beating hearts would also likely speak volumes about the beliefs of pro-abortion Democrats.

Republican leadership apparently unwilling to vote unless NRLC gives stamp of approval

The Heartbeat bill’s architect, Janet Porter of Faith2Action, and Rep. King believe National Right to Life (NRLC) and House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, are betraying the pro-life movement by preventing a vote on this bill.

It’s a pro-life “turf battle,” King told LifeSiteNews, in which both sides are very attached to their strategies.

“Can you believe it?” King posted on Facebook. “A ‘pro-life’ activist group is actually attempting to block a pro-life bill! This is absolutely insane and they need to be called out on their hypocrisy ASAP.”

King posted a link to NRLC’s “contact” page and urged those in support of the Heartbeat Bill to call them.

NRLC disputed King’s claims.

“National Right to Life President Carol Tobias personally told Rep. King that we do not oppose his heartbeat legislation,” Tatiana Bergum, NRLC’s deputy press secretary, told LifeSiteNews. “We don't understand why he is singling out National Right to Life for his unfair attacks.”

“We are focused on supporting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the Born-Alive Infant Survivor Act, and the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act,” said Bergum.

King told LifeSiteNews that if the Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, and National Right to Life all supported the bill, it would be brought to the floor for a vote.

“The only organization that we can identify that’s not publicly endorsing and supporting the bill is National Right to Life,” he said. “I think National Right to Life needs to decide to lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

In response to Tobias’ remarks, King said Tobias should “pick up the phone and call Speaker Ryan.”

King and Porter maintain that the onus is on NRLC to actively support the bill because that is the only way Republican leadership will allow a vote on it.

If Tobias gives her approval to Ryan to vote on the bill, “I guarantee it will come to the floor for a vote. And the lack of doing so blocks the movement of the bill,” said King. That’s all she has to do.”

It remains unclear why members of Congress feel they must have approval from NRLC to vote on a bill.

Republicans spar over which bill to put forward

“How on earth can we protect children if members of our own party stand in the way?” King’s Facebook post asked of his colleague McCarthy.

McCarthy’s office sent LifeSiteNews a statement arguing the Born-Alive Bill is “another important step” in implementing pro-life legislation.

“This House has proudly stood for life, passing bill after bill to stop taxpayer funding for abortion, defund Planned Parenthood, protect conscience rights, and severely limit abortions themselves,” said McCarthy. “We have stood hand-in-hand with our allies throughout the pro-life community to make this one of the most pro-life Houses in history. Next week’s vote on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is another important step to our goal of saving lives, helping mothers, and protecting the most vulnerable members of our population.”

The March for Life didn’t respond to multiple enquiries about its stance on the Heartbeat Bill.

“We are happy the House is voting that week on born alive and hope the Senate follows suit to vote on the pain capable bill around the same time,” Tom McClusky, Vice President of Government Affairs at the March for Life, told LifeSiteNews via email. “We are honored to work in a coalition with FRC, National Right to Life, SBA List and all the great pro-life groups to push Congress to be bolder for protecting the unborn.”

King said that in a meeting, McClusky had been “a voice of encouragement” for the Heartbeat Bill.

Several national pro-life groups to whom LifeSiteNews reached out regarding the Born-Alive and Heartbeat Bills did not respond.

Both factions in this quarrel say public opinion polling is on their side.

Are pro-lifers too cautious or not cautious enough?

King said that during a January 10 Pro-Life Caucus meeting, nearly a dozen or so legislators expressed support for the Heartbeat Bill.

“Chris Smith chairs [the caucus] and Andy Harris is co-chair now in the absence of Trent Franks,” said King. “Andy [Harris] is very solidly in support of this bill.” Rep. Smith is a Republican from New Jersey and Rep. Harris is a Republican from Maryland.

“There was caution that was voiced by Chris Smith” that essentially was “we might hurt ourselves by doing too much,” said King. King noted he and Smith remain close and have a good relationship.

“We have been too cautious in the past,” said King. “But now we have a pro-life majority in the House, a pro-life majority in the Senate – as difficult as it is to get to 60 votes in the Senate – [and] a president that’ll sign the bill.”

“National Right to Life has been arguing that the Supreme Court won’t uphold” the Heartbeat Bill, he said. “I think the argument’s stronger in upholding the Heartbeat Bill than it is in upholding the Pain-Capable Bill.”

“I don’t wanna disparage [the] Pain-Capable” Bill, said King, who is one of its cosponsors. “But that bill was written during the Obama era with the idea that Obama could be convinced to sign it. It wasn’t written with the expectation that we would have a president that would actually sign a pro-life bill...the Heartbeat Bill is written with that” understanding.

“It’s time for us to be bold and confident and strong. We’re a pro-life nation now,” King argued.

King is also a cosponsor of the Born-Alive Bill.

The Heartbeat Bill “has more than earned a place” on the U.S. House floor, said King. He said soon he’ll be left with two choices: “simply give up and put the bill in the drawer” or “do the things that now make people uncomfortable.”

“I know if I have to answer to God which one He’ll tell me I need to do,” said King. “He’ll say, ‘save the babies. Don’t worry about people’s feelings; save the babies.’”

“I’m not interested in people’s egos; I’m interested in saving the lives of babies,” he said. And if he’s unsuccessful in bringing the Heartbeat Bill to the floor for a vote, “I’ll be obligated to do everything that I can do that is within the rules and within the morals and ethics and standards that each of us should have.”

‘This is your moment to act’

Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, is speaking at the March for Life, along with Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA, Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-IL, and Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ.

“If people want to end abortion, they need to mount grassroots pressure like never before,” said Porter. “The easiest way to do that is to click one button to send seven faxes to the ones who can call for a Heartbeat Bill floor vote in Congress. You can do that at Faith2Action.org.”

“There’s no reason not to do it…I’m actually losing money” by funding this, said Porter. “If you want to do more than march to end abortion, this is your moment to act.”

 

RELATED:

‘I am a mass murderer,’ former abortionist tells Congress

Democrat shouts down black pro-life woman at House hearing, accuses her of ‘ignorance’

U.S. House votes to ban late-term abortions on babies who feel pain

Congress to hold hearing today on banning abortions of babies with beating hearts
Bill banning abortion from baby’s first heartbeat introduced in U.S. Congress

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‘Shadow banning’: How Twitter secretly censors conservatives without them even knowing it

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SAN FRANCISCO, California, January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Conservatives and Christians have long suspected that Twitter works aggressively behind the scenes to censor their material. That suspicion has now been confirmed in an undercover investigation involving numerous Twitter employees who let slip what really happens behind the scenes of the mega social media platform. 

A Project Veritas (PV) report released this week zeroes in on Twitter's little-known practice of “shadow banning,” which turns out to be a rather surreptitious, stealth method of censorship.  

“Shadow banning is a way of blocking users from a social media platform without notifying them,” explains PV founder, James O’Keefe in the fifteen minute video.

“Tweets from a shadow-banned user still appear to their followers, but don’t show up in search results, or anywhere else on Twitter,” he said.  

“Although Twitter presents itself as politically neutral, its culture behind closed doors is one of blatant censorship, systematic bias, and political targeting,” according to O’Keefe.

How 'shadow banning' works 

Through shadow banning, “you have ultimate control,” said Abhinav Vadrevu, former Twitter software engineer. “The idea of a shadow ban is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned, because they keep posting but no one sees their content.  So, they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when, in reality, no one is seeing it.”  

“At the end of the day, no one else interacts,” continues Vadrevu.  “No one else sees what you’re doing.  So, all that data is just thrown away.” 

Conrado Miranda, a former Twitter engineer, says shadow banning is happening at Twitter, acknowledging that the procedure is often used to silence conservatives or Trump supporters.    

Vadrevu said, “It’s risky though.”  Why? “Because people will figure that sh*t out, and be like … you know, it’s a lot of bad press if, like, people figure out like you’re shadow banning them.  It’s like, unethical in some way.” 

Twitter employs “content review agents,” whose job is to review content that has been flagged as harmful, offensive, or in violation of Twitter policy, and to ban it if it they concur.  PV’s O’Keefe describes content review as “an integral part of any social media platform … but it is highly subject to abuse.”

'Shadow banning' criteria 

Mo Noral, a former Twitter employee, described to the PV investigative reporters what he did as a content review agent, illustrating the subjective nature of his work.  

“Let’s say if it was a pro-Trump thing and I am anti-Trump, I was like, I banned his whole account.  It goes to you, and then it’s at your discretion," he said.   

“If this is pro-Trump I don’t want it because it offends me. And I say, 'I banned this whole thing …'”

“On stuff like that, it was more discretion on your viewpoint, I guess how you felt about a particular matter,” continued Noral.  He added, “Twitter was probably like 90% anti-Trump, maybe 99% anti-Trump.”  

Tweets expressing conservative viewpoints were downranked, while liberal viewpoints were deemed, “OK,” and allowed to continue unchecked, he said.   

Twitter’s anti-conservative corporate culture 

The PV report indicates that the corporate culture at Twitter is anti-conservative.  The report makes the case based on the way certain tweets and Twitter accounts are flagged for review, and then become subject to shadow-banning.

“Just go to a random (Trump) tweet and just look at the followers. They’ll all be like God, ‘Merica, like, and with the American flag, and like, the cross,”  says Pranay Singh, a direct messaging engineer for Twitter.  He continued, “Who says that?  Who talks like that?  It’s for sure a bot,” referring to tweets generated by a computer -- a “bot” -- rather than a real person.  

Singh, clearly incredulous, doesn’t believe that people actually love America or embrace Christianity.  “There are hundreds of thousands of them, so you’ve got to write algorithms that do it [the censoring] for you.”  

Perhaps exaggerating, Singh seemed to say that there are about “5,000 keywords that describe a redneck,” a term Singh used to describe the kind of people that Twitter would like to keep off their platform.

Clay Haynes, a senior network security engineer for Twitter says, “I’m pretty sure every single employee at Twitter hates Trump.”

Olinda Hassan, a Policy Manager for Twitter Trust & Safety, is responsible for Twitter’s rules and regulations, determining what content is and isn’t allowed.  Hassan makes clear what Twitter seeks to do: “We’re trying to get the shitty people not to show up.  It’s a product thing we’re working on.”  

Shadow banning is just one tool Twitter has at its disposal to stealthily target political views it finds offensive and to silence those who express those views.  

Twitter's unspoken corporate rules

“[There are] a lot of unwritten rules, and being that we’re in San Francisco, we’re in California, very liberal, a very blue state,” says Noral.  

“As a company you can’t really say it because it would make you look bad, but behind closed doors are a lot of rules. Like, hey, you gotta do this this way … it was never written, it was more said.”  

PV’s James O’Keefe called Twitters’ unwritten content review protocol a "tool used to promote a political agenda."

"You won’t find any of these rules or practices outlined in company policy documents,” he added. 

O’Keefe said that it "may not be just average users feeling the heat."

"Does Twitter target certain political figures for suspension?  And more importantly, why?”

When asked why certain high-profile political figures or celebrities have their accounts taken down, Pranay Singh, direct messaging engineer, said it might be because of government coercion. 

“It might be the U.S. government pressuring us. They don’t like people messing with their politics (and he — Julian Assange —  has shit on a lot of people).”  

He went on to say that Twitter gets requests from the government to take down celebrities “all the f**king time.”

“What we can do on our side is actually very terrifying,” said senior network engineer Clay Haynes.  

Looking to the future: Twitter’s 'secret project'

“Twitter’s censorship practices go beyond a few politically motivated techies,” said O’Keefe. “Twitter is run by an advanced set of algorithms – tools that are used to sift through vast amounts of data, or in this case, ‘tweets.’”  

Twitter’s “algorithms block, mute, and prioritize everything on the Twitter platform and [the algorithms] are growing smarter by the day.”  

Algorithms can be written which allow machines to do the work done by human censors. For instance, an algorithm can look for certain trigger words, which will cause the platform to automatically delete those tweets and accounts.

In one interchange, Singh suggested that Twitter users with words like “guns” or “Trump” or “conservative” or “America” in their twitter name might be targets for deletion.  

Steven Pierre, Twitter Software Engineer, revealed a secret project at Twitter involving “machine learning” i.e., algorithms that teach themselves how to  solve problems, eliminating the need for human input.

“Every single conversation is going to be rated by a machine and the machine is going to  say whether or not it is a positive thing or a negative thing … it’s going to ban a way of talking,” he said. 

“The power over speech Silicon Valley tech giants has is unprecedented and dangerous,” according to Project Veritas’ published report. “What kind of world do we live in where computer engineers are the gatekeepers of the ‘way people talk?’” asked O’Keefe.

“Twitter may fancy itself the global town square, but it’s clear from our reporting that Twitter is not an open, unbiased platform,” concluded O’Keefe.

“Anonymity of its internal policies have bred irresponsibility and abuse. If Twitter wants to convince its users it truly respects free speech, there must be some transparency."

"Bring shadow banning out of the shadows. Algorithms are only as good as the weights put on them. So, take your thumb off the algorithmic scale.  Get rid of the engineers who abuse their power, and show us your HR policies,” he said. 

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Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

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Trudeau: Believe what you want, but ‘we draw the line’ if you try to restrict abortion

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

HAMILTON, January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Canadians can believe what they want but can’t act on those beliefs when it comes to the right of women to “control their own bodies,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

The Liberal leader made the sweeping comment in defending his government’s new rule that employers must attest to their support of abortion and transgender “rights” to receive student summer job grants.

“This is a really important right that we have established and there are organizations out there that couch themselves as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience,” Trudeau said at a town hall meeting at McMaster University in Hamilton.

“Of course, you’re more than allowed to have whatever beliefs you like, but when those beliefs lead to actions determined to restrict a woman’s right to control her own bodies, that’s where I, and I think we, draw the line as a country,” he said to a loud burst of cheers and clapping.

But Jeff Gunnarson, vice president of Campaign Life Coalition, says the Liberal policy should galvanize Christians to get politically involved.

“Faithful Christians need to take a stand and vote for a candidate who will publicly proclaim to be pro-life, and be willing to help re-educate the public that abortion is not a right under our Charter,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Trudeau defended the policy in response to a student’s question on how much he valued freedom of speech, reported the Huffington Post.

“If you’re pro-life then you are ridiculed and insulted, but if you're pro-choice then you are praised,” the student said to some applause.

Trudeau brought up the “kerfuffle” over the Canada Summer Jobs program to illustrate that “we need to know that there is a difference between freedom of expression and acting on those expressions and beliefs.”

The Liberal policy requires employers sign an attestation that their “core mandate” respects human rights and the “values underlying” the Charter, including “reproductive rights” and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of, among other things, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

The online application is void if the attestation isn’t checked off.

The rule “doesn’t mean that religious groups and faith groups can’t apply,” Trudeau insisted.

“It does, however, mean, and this is where we get to the crux of the matter, that an organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion and the rights for women to control their own bodies is not in line with where we are as a government, and quite frankly, where we are as a society.”

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition! Click here.

But the Liberals are facing a backlash from faith-based non-profits, charities and institutions that say they can’t in conscience sign the attestation.

Barry W. Bussey, director of legal services of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities, which has 3,400 members, says “most” of the groups who have contacted him “are saying, no, they’re not signing.”

He’s advising them to send in paper applications with an alternative attestation.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has issued a call to action to all members to contact their MPs to protest the policy.​

Canada’s Catholic bishops have also blasted the Liberal policy, charging that it “conflicts directly with the right to freedom of religion and conscience” enshrined in the Charter.

Catholic Civil Rights League president Phil Horgan echoed this in a Thursday statement.

“The Prime Minister’s position at ‘drawing a line’ on pro life positions is utterly unacceptable, since it violates the very Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is cited by the government as the basis of its policy,” he said.

“Any Catholic organization, which professes fidelity to the teachings of the Church, cannot make this affirmation and is thereby excluded from a program which should be open to all law-abiding organizations. A firm and principled rejection of abortion is inseparable from an adherence to the Catholic faith.”

Horgan excoriated the Liberal government’s “abortion absolutism,” pointing out that, contrary to the Liberal belief, no “fundamental right” to abortion exists in “either the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or of case law.”

Moreover, a majority of Canadians oppose “unfettered access to abortion,” he noted, referencing a 2013 Life Canada poll that found six in 10 Canadians “support protection for the unborn at some stage of pregnancy.”

Trudeau’s requirement that employers “have to certify they support abortion and transgender ideology” reveals the prime minister’s “tyrannical impulse,” says Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition.

The Liberal prime minister is “essentially demanding a pinch of incense from faith-based employers and churches. If they just give that pinch of incense to Caesar’s statue and thus compromise their beliefs, they can enjoy the pleasure of Emperor Trudeau.”

Canadians “have a situation in which a prime minister so hates pro-life people that he is punishing citizens for their religious and political beliefs, where the crime is in fact, simply expressing their beliefs in a public manner,” Fonseca said.

“We need to kick these bums out,” emphasized Gunnarson.

“And I’m not talking about Liberals only. All MPs who have said nothing about this or approve of it should be unelected in 2019,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“In all the churches every Sunday there are millions proclaiming to love and worship God.  Well, all of us need to show we love God and His commandments by voting for men and women who disavow the status quo on abortion, which kills 100,000 unborn Canadians per year,” Gunnarson said.

“And don’t keep score. It’s not about winning or losing elections! It’s about changing the political landscape to reflect once again the true Canadian values: to uphold the dignity of the human person.”

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Pro-life group sues Trudeau gov’t for tying pro-abortion pledge to summer job fund

Justin Trudeau woke a sleeping giant when he banned summer job grants to pro-life employers

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Tennessean pro-lifers rally in support of Amendment 1.
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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‘Resounding victory’: Tennessee pro-life amendment upheld by appeals court

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

NASHVILLE, Tennessee, January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A hard-fought pro-life battle spanning sixteen-years has resulted in a federal appeals court handing pro-life advocates a victory by upholding an amendment to Tennessee’s state Constitution allowing limitations on abortion.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected a pro-abortion attempt to overturn the 2014 pro-life statewide ballot results passing Amendment 1, which reads:

Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives or state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.

The Tennessean reports that the amendment “was the most hotly contested and most expensive Tennessee ballot measure in recent years – one that brought an unprecedented level of voter organizing, phone banking and attention from national groups on both sides of the abortion issue.”

The Circuit Court Justices overruled District Court Judge Kevin Sharp’s 2016 order for a recount of the successful amendment vote.

Tennessee Right to Life (TRTL) is calling it a “resounding victory” and expressed “profound gratitude” to pro-lifers who worked for years to get Amendment 1 on the ballot and passed.

“The voices of Tennessee’s voters have been heard and, as a result, public policy decisions on the matter of abortion can be rightly debated and determined by the people’s representatives,” TRTL President Brian Harris said in a statement.

TRTL explained the need for the amendment came when in 2000 the Tennessee Supreme Court declared abortion a “fundamental right” in the state Constitution “thereby making enforcement of common-sense protections impossible in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Supreme Court struck down popular pro-life laws in 2000. Like the U.S. Supreme Court unilaterally legalized abortion by fiat in Roe v Wade, the state’s highest court ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist that the constitution prohibits abortion restrictions.  Acton Institute’s Rev. Ben Johnson called it “a case of judicial activism.”  

As a direct result, Tennessee became the most liberal abortion state in the region. “Since the extremely liberal state Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the state of Tennessee cannot put any regulations on abortion, Tennessee has become an abortion procedure destination,” reality TV star Michelle Duggar said. Over three thousand out-of-state women come to Tennessee to abort every year.

Dr. Brent Boles explained that the state Supreme Court “virtually ended all abortion restrictions,” including informed consent laws and waiting periods.  

“As a result of that decision, the owner of two abortion clinics successfully prevented the state from inspecting his facilities in 2002, the Ob-Gyn charged.  “Since then, any inspections of abortion clinics in the state have been voluntary.  For those clinics that did allow inspections, no enforcement provisions existed.”

Pro-life advocates across the state organized a grassroots effort to amend the Constitution. After years of work between pro-life leaders and politicians, Amendment 1 passed the legislature.  It went on to win the popular vote by a wide margin (53 percent).

But eight abortion supporters, including the former chair of the regional Planned Parenthood, sued to stop the passed amendment.  They did so by challenging the long-standing way state constitutional amendments tallies are counted.

To ensure a significant vote, the Tennessee Constitution requires amendments to get not only more ‘yes’ votes than ‘no’ votes, but also that those ‘yes’ votes constitute a “majority of all the citizens of the state voting for governor.”

The method election officials use is first to verify that more people voted for the amendment than against it.  They then count all the votes for any governor in total, and if the number of votes for the amendment is more than half of that number, it passes.

Knowing those rules, pro-life and pro-abortion forces used completely divergent tactics in drumming up votes.  Pro-lifers told supporters to leave the governor’s choice blank, so a big gubernatorial vote will not nullify their efforts. Pro-abortion forces decided to advise the opposite, increasing the total tally of votes for governor.

District Judge Kevin Sharp agreed with the pro-abortion challengers that election officials should have only counted amendment ‘yes’ votes from voters who also voted for any governor. But, the Sixth Circuit Court overruling Sharp wrote that the “strategic choices made by members of the voting public” were intended “to maximize the impact of their votes,” and election officials did nothing wrong in tallying the results constitutionally.

“Tennessee did exactly what it had done in prior elections, exactly what it told voters it was going to do and exactly what the constitution says,” State Attorney General Special Assistant Sarah Campbell summarized.

The judges agreed that the pro-abortion challengers’ beef was with Tennessee laws on voting, not with the results of the 2014 ballot.  “Plaintiffs arguments amount to little more than a complaint that the campaigns in support of Amendment 1, operating within the framework established by state law, turned out to be more successful than the campaigns against Amendment 1,” the Sixth Circuit decided.

“This is not the ‘exceptional case’ that warrants federal intervention in a lawful state election process,” Circuit Judge David McKeague wrote.  “Although the subject of abortion rights will continue to be controversial in Tennessee and across our nation, it is time for uncertainty surrounding the people’s 2014 approval and ratification of Amendment 1 to be put to rest.” 

The Attorney General’s office said he was “gratified” that the court confirmed the 2014 election was “true to the meaning of the Tennessee Constitution.”

“Amendment 1 (is) a measure which now allows the Legislature to once again pass meaningful actions that pertain to the abortion industry,” Dr. Boles concluded. “This amendment restored the state constitution to a neutral position on the issue of abortion.”

Related: 

Tennessee appeals federal judge’s order for recount of 2014 voter-backed pro-life amendment

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Father Maurizio Chiodi. Diane Montagna / LifeSiteNews
Michael Hichborn

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The Church teaches contracepted sex leads to hell. So, why is a priest promoting it in Rome?

Michael Hichborn

Editor’s note: Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn responds to a Dec. 14 statement at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome by Fr. Maurizio Chiodi that Responsible parenthood can obligate a married couple to use artificial birth control.

January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Code of Canon Law, which is the universal law of the Roman Catholic Church, clearly establishes the obligation of fidelity to everything that has been definitively proposed by the Magisterium of the Church regarding faith and morals. (Ed. note: texts throughout have been bolded by the author.)

Can. 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.

§2. Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith, is also to be firmly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Canon 715 of the Code of Canon Law provides the precise definition of what constitutes a heresy:

Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith.

The Magisterium of the Catholic Church teaches, and has taught since Her beginning, that the direct and intentional use of contraception is not only gravely immoral but intrinsically evil.  This is to say that it is an evil act in and of itself, and can never be justified.

Pope Pius XI in his 1930 encyclical, Casti Connubii, paragraphs 54-57, not only condemns the use of contraception as intrinsically evil, but he also reminds his priests of the grave evil they commit should they promote or permit by their silence the use of contraception among couples:

54. But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.

55. Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, "Intercourse even with one's legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Juda, did this and the Lord killed him for it."[45]

56. 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.

57. We admonish, therefore, priests who hear confessions and others who have the care of souls, in virtue of Our supreme authority and in Our solicitude for the salvation of souls, not to allow the faithful entrusted to them to err regarding this most grave law of God; much more, that they keep themselves immune from such false opinions, in no way conniving in them. If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust, and let him take to himself the words of Christ: "They are blind and leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.

In section 14 of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, he very clearly states that the intentional use of contraception for the sake of preventing procreation is condemned by the Magisterium of the Church.

14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly 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. (16)

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. 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 (18)—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. 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

Pope John Paul II, in section 91 of his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, echoed the condemnation of contraception when he wrote:

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.

These clearly defined teachings of the Magisterium of the Church are only the latest teachings of a subject that goes all the way through Scripture and the early Church Fathers.  In the 38th Chapter of Genesis, Onan was slain by God because he spilled his seed upon the ground in order to avoid the generation of children.

Father of the Church, St. Clement of Alexandria taught, "Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted." - The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2

St. Caesarius of Arles said in a sermon in 522:

“Who is he who cannot warn that no woman may take a potion so that she is unable to conceive or condemns in herself the nature which God willed to be fecund? As often as she could have conceived or given birth, of that many homicides she will be held guilty, and, unless she undergoes suitable penance, she will be damned by eternal death in hell. If a women does not wish to have children, let her enter into a religious agreement with her husband; for chastity is the sole sterility of a Christian woman.”

There are plenty of examples from the early Church to the present which make the case that contraception has always only ever been condemned, and never permitted as a moral good.

However, on Dec. 14, 2017, at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Fr. Maurizio Chiodi (a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life) firmly contradicted the Church’s Universal teaching against the use of artificial contraception. Not only did he state the permissibility of contraception, but emphatically declared that there may be a moral imperative for its use in marriage in some situations.

In his presentation titled, “Re-reading Humanae Vitae in light of Amoris Laetitia,” Fr. Chiodi claims that there are “circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8 — that precisely for the sake of responsibility, require contraception.”  

When “natural methods are impossible or unfeasible, other forms of responsibility need to be found.” 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 law of the Church is very clear about what it means to oppose the Magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church. As indicated earlier, material heresy occurs when one denies or doubts some truth which must be believed by the faithful.  From Scripture, the Church Fathers, and no less than three popes in the 20th century, there can be no doubt whatsoever that the use of contraception is taught by the Magisterium to be an intrinsically evil act, resulting in grave sin which leads to Hell.

Yet, Fr. Chiodi, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, directly opposed the Magisterial teaching of the Church on the matter of contraception.  

In fact, it is clear that Fr. Chiodi is guilty of betraying his sacred trust, as described by Pope Pius XI, by professing to souls entrusted to his care that contraception could be permissible or even required.  

Given all of this, it is clear that what Fr. Chiodi said in his presentation is heretical. While it is not our intention to determine whether his statement constitutes formal heresy (a matter which should be undertaken by a tribunal), there can be no doubt that what he said at least constitutes material heresy.

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Christine de Marcellus Vollmer

Opinion,

More proof that Francis’ pontificate has been ‘hijacked’ by the ‘Gay Lobby’

Christine de Marcellus Vollmer

January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The revelations of homoerotic, blasphemous art in the Cathedral of Terni, commissioned in 2006 by Archbishop Paglia, now the head of the dicastery that oversees the St. John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family worldwide, had already raised several vital issues that needed to be urgently addressed. 

The exposition of homoerotic art in Archbishop Paglia’s Cathedral from 2006 left the world asking the important question of how he could ever have been chosen to lead the Pontifical Council for the Family and later the Pontifical Academy for Life and the John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family, when he clearly opposes the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. 

This question in itself requires an inquiry as to the intentions and criteria used within the Vatican for appointments under Pope Francis.

Archbishop Paglia’s use of homoerotic art reinforced the earlier views presented to the Vatican by several Catholic mental health professionals, that Archbishop Paglia should be suspended from his responsibilities at the Vatican and be required to undergo a mental health evaluation.

This evaluation would correspond to the Dallas charter concerning Sexual Abuse and further required because of his role in the development of the grossly erotic Meeting Point online sex education program when he led the Pontifical Council for the Family. That damaging program for youth is now under review and, hopefully, reform. 

But Paglia was promoted.

Already Public concern about the policies placing Catholic youth at risk of abuse had been intensified by Pope Francis’ restoring to priestly ministry an Italian priest who was laicized by Pope Benedict for homosexually abusing adolescent males. This priest relapsed, homosexually abusing a youth, and was arrested.

The rumors of the Vatican being in the clutches of a ‘gay lobby’ seem each day to be further confirmed.  Parents will increasingly retire their children from religious-run schools and parochial activities. A sad result of what is billed as ‘compassion’ and ‘mercy.’

The protection of Catholic marriages, families and youth depend upon a correct resolution of these scandals.

Even more alarming, however, is the teaching coming out of a series of conferences being held at the Gregorian University on Humanae Vitae.

Added to the deviant suggestions made and over-ruled at the Synods on the Family, the same subtle, but insistent, approval for homosexuality is making its way again toward what would seem intended to be acceptance of what was expressed by one speaker, French Jesuit Father Alain Thomasset, as “homosexual relationship[s] lived in stability and fidelity can be a path of holiness”

One need not be an expert to see the incremental presentation by Vatican ‘authorities’ of homosexuality as a legitimate use of sexuality, even by priests and religious. Priests recently “come out” are praised by their bishops, further splitting the Church in matters of Christian morality.

New evidence of the collusion of privileged prelates and special friends in the priesthood toward the destruction of Catholic moral teaching surfaced in the Gregorian University conference on Humanae Vitae.

A certain Father Maurizio Chiodi was allowed to present the entirely heretical theory that objectively evil acts do not exist; that all is subject to the judgment of the individual.  

On that basis, he went on to declare that “contraception can be a good and even a duty.”  It is obvious that, if uncorrected, this is a sign of two important things: 

  1. A clever strategy to demolish the 2000 years of Catholic morality assembled in Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor, and thereby permit all deviant sexual practices, and
  2. Apparent proof that Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia does, in fact, contain heretical teaching. Chiodi bases his entire argument in favor of relativism, situation ethics and contraception upon this chapter. There is no other authoritative teaching that would allow him to do this.

There is concern worldwide that the Pontificate of Francis has been hijacked by the ‘Gay Lobby’ so discussed of late and that he is manipulated by homosexual prelates. 

It is time that Pope Francis take a firm stand in favor of Catholic Moral Doctrine, distancing himself from those who favor homosexuality as an alternate form of ‘love’ and from the notion that ‘anything goes, if you feel good about it.’

Editor's note: Christine de Marcellus Vollmer is president of Provive and a former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life as well as the Pontifical Council for the Family. 

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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Google’s new Fact-Check operates just like Orwell’s 1984 ‘ministry of truth’

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges
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London billboard advertising Robert Icek and Ducan MacMillan's theatrical adaptation of George Orwell's 1984. 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The world’s most popular internet tool appears to be not only targeting conservative sites for criticism, but it has been caught bungling the “facts” it refutes.

Search engine and social media giant Google has added a new feature offering outside evaluations of news reporting.

All well and good — everyone believes in honest journalism — except Google’s highlighted “fact-checking” appears to only target conservative news media, not liberal ones. Worse, Google creates fact “claims” it attributes to sites which those sites never made. Furthermore, Google uses liberal “fact-checkers” to determine the validity of conservative-based news reports. What could possibly go wrong?

Eric Lieberman at The Stream and The Daily Caller pointed out Google’s “highly partisan” bias by demonstrating its search results when conservative sites were looked up versus liberal sites.  LifeSiteNews also verified this Googlespin under the guise of “facts.”

Google’s influence must not be underestimated. Every month, over one billion different people around the world use it – searching for facts, answers, truth.  Not only does Google directly affect them and all those they influence, but the internet superpower promotes or censors content those billion people see, wielding a power that potentially influences the course of human history. 

Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center told LifeSiteNews that Google's fact-check is like something taken out of George Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel. 

“The power Google has to impact results and determine what it considers to be absolute truth is 1984-ish,” he said. 

Google’s 'fact-checking'

The new Google fact-checker section, called “Reviewed Claims,” appears in a large sidebar, along with information about the news outlet, including typical topics it covers.

However, Google only critically judges the claims of conservative media.

Right-leaning media such as the Daily Caller, Breitbart, the Daily Wire, the Blaze, Gateway Pundit, and WorldNet Daily have the “Reviewed Claims” section when “googled.” The Atlantic, National Public Radio, Newsweek, the Hill, Real Clear Politics, the New York Post, the Nation, and Time all appear with the information sidebar but without any critical analysis.

Even openly liberal sites, such as Think Progress, the Guardian, Vox, Vanity Fair, Alternet, Gizmodo, Slate, Vice, Mother Jones, Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, and MSNBC are all given a pass.

And Google never questions the claims of homosexual agenda-driven news.  The Advocate, the Washington Blade, Gay Star News, OUT magazine, Instinct, and Queerty all have no “Reviewed Claims.”

In an analysis titled, “Google Treats Six Conservative Media Sites as Fake News, But Zero Liberal Ones,” Newsbusters’ Corinne Weaver noted the same Google bias in the name of “fact-checking.”

“Six of the top twenty conservative sites had ‘Reviewed Claims’ showcased in the summary,” she counted.  “By contrast, none of the top 20 liberal sites had ‘Reviewed Claims.’”

Some media are even given preferential treatment. The Washington Post, Politico, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times have info sidebars an “Awards” received section where the critical “fact-checking” would be.

Google highlights no Christian or conservative outlet’s award for journalism, excellence, or integrity in reporting.

Martina Marcova in the DC Newsbreak suggested that Google is targeting “publications that don’t agree with their point of view.”  

Google bungling the 'facts'

Lieberman offers several examples of Google making up claims that aren’t there. “Reviewed Claims” for the Daily Caller says the news outlet reported about special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that “The people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters...”  

The Daily Caller actually reported, “Mueller has hired at least seven democratic donors for his investigation,” and the “claim” in Google’s sidebar --in quotations as if a factual claim made by the news outlet-- was not even asserted by the Daily Caller, but was a partial quote excised from a remark by President Trump.

Another “fact-check” bungled by Google involves an obviously satirical column that was flagged by the tech giant as if it were fact. A scathingly humorous Daily Caller article exposed the foolishness of a professor/author using the eclipse for a diatribe against racism – a subject that deserves far more serious contemplation than “the skies are relaying a message.” For no reason except apparently to perjure the Daily Caller, Google lists as a factual claim of the news outlet that the professor/author wrote “the 2017 solar eclipse, its path, or those who vie(w)” it are racist. 

Lieberman called it “the absurdity of the world’s go-to search engine providing fact-checks to purposefully irreverent content, rather than hard news stories.”

At least in the examples Lieberman noted, Google’s “fact-checks” seem concocted to reinforce an anti-conservative narrative.

In today’s lingo, Google’s “fact-checks” are fake news.

Marcova commented, “Not only is Google ‘fact-checking’ highly partisan, just like their executives, but it’s blatantly wrong, making false claims and attributing said claims to sites who never published them.”

Last year Zephyr Teachout, formerly at the New America Foundation which is funded in part by Google, warned that internet monopoly was “coming after critics” and may have reached the point where “it no longer wants to allow dissent.”

Google's liberal 'fact-checkers'

It's no secret that Google uses agenda-driven “fact-checking” sites like PolitiFact, ClimateFeedback, and Snopes, to “disprove” conservative claims.

PolitiFact has been caught many times in the wrong, and worse, didn’t admit it.  It even mocked and presented as unquestionably false the scientifically well-documented abortion-breast cancer link, calling it “a ridiculous claim... Pants on Fire!”

Another one, ClimateFeedback, has as its mission the promotion of the dubious theory of global warming, which is being used to promote a global pro-abortion, anti-family agenda.

Snopes, Kacie Burnett at Louder With Crowder rightly points out, is “no stranger to blatant wrongness.”

Ben Alonzo of ULTRA TechLife puts it succinctly:  “Snopes is good for debunking outlandish urban myths, but it is biased junk for far too many other things, especially politics, history, and current events.” The CEO of the fact-checker which claims to be “transparent” has been accused of fraud and lying.

Even FactCheck.org has had its “least biased” reputation questioned

“Google’s fact-checking services...are biased, if not also downright libelous,” Lieberman charges.

For years, Christian groups along with conservatives have complained of Google’s blatant anti-conservatism, such as censoring Christian content and changing search results to exclude criticism of Islam.

Google has a history of exerting its liberal bias to influence the masses and transform cultures. The internet superpower came out against the Defense of Marriage Act and opposed Proposition 8 on natural marriage.  It even launched a worldwide campaign to spread the gay agenda in any country it deemed “homophobic,” such as Christian Poland. 

And Google’s loyalty is not always to its users. During the PRISM scandal, Google gave spying access —unconstitutional Internet-tapping — to the federal government via its internal servers.

Burnett concluded about Google targetting conservative media with its biased fact checker that it's a "huge step in silencing or limiting those who disagree with the progressive narrative.”

Former NAF team member Matt Stoller commented in the Huffington Post, “The misbehavior in the search market and the attempt to suppress research into how Google operates shows that the actual issue at hand is one of political power.”

Steve Bannon, former chief strategist to President Trump, argues that tech companies like Google and Facebook should be regulated, like utility companies are. 

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