All articles from March 5, 2018


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California attorney general defends forcing pro-life centers to advertise for abortion

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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Tuesday, the state of California filed its brief at the U.S. Supreme Court defending a 2015 state law that forces non-profit pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for the abortion industry. California’s brief continues to make clear that the state is targeting pro-life pregnancy centers because it disagrees with what they say and do to love and support women and their babies. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys represent pregnancy center network, NIFLA, and two of its centers that are challenging the law and filed their opening brief with the high court in January. 

“Americans shouldn’t be forced by the government to promote messages that conflict with their beliefs,” said ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Michael Farris, who will argue the case before the high court on behalf of NIFLA, and the two centers. “Yet, the attorney general of California claims that pro-life pregnancy centers must provide free advertising for abortion because women may not know how to find an abortion facility. We strongly disagree: information about abortion is widely available. Under the Constitution, California is required to respect the free speech rights of all of its citizens – not just those in the abortion industry.”

California AB 775 requires licensed medical centers that offer free, pro-life help to pregnant women to post a disclosure saying that California provides free or low-cost abortion and contraception services. The disclosure must also include a phone number for a county office that refers women to Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry. The law also forces unlicensed pregnancy centers to add large disclosures in multiple languages about their non-medical status in all advertisements, which obscure and crowd out their pro-life speech. Failure to comply carries civil fines up to $1,000 per violation. Other courts have invalidated or mostly invalidated similar laws in Austin, TexasMontgomery County, MarylandBaltimore; and New York City.

“No one should be forced to provide free advertising for the abortion industry – least of all pro-life pregnancy centers,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President of the U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner. “Freedom of speech also means the freedom to not express views that would violate one’s conscience. Yet, under this law, the California government is using its power to force pro-life centers to provide free advertising for the abortion industry against their conscience. Because of the First Amendment’s protections, courts have repeatedly rejected these types of laws as unconstitutional.”

Twenty-two states, 144 members of Congress, and many others have filed friend-of-the-court briefsurging the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and a lower court’s ruling that allows California to enforce AB 775.

According to the opening brief in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra filed by ADF attorneys, “This Court has long held that compelled speech is highly disfavored because it imperils freedom by giving government control of the voices of private actors—and that laws targeting particular speakers because of their views are especially dangerous. The government ‘may not substitute its judgment as to how best to speak for that of speakers and listeners; free and robust debate cannot thrive if directed by the government….’ This Court should continue its steadfast defense of this fundamental freedom against governmental attempts to compel speech, and reverse the judgment of the Ninth Circuit.”

ADF-allied attorney John Eastman of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law, Anne O’Connor of NIFLA, and Dean R. Broyles of The National Center for Law and Policy are co-counsel in the lawsuit on behalf of NIFLA and the two pregnancy centers.

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Jim Caviezel at University of Steubenville March 4, 2018. Formed / screen-grab
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Jim Caviezel tells university students to ‘stand out’ and ‘be saints’

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By Doug Mainwaring

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio, March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic actor Jim Caviezel, who famously played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, told university students on Sunday that they must set themselves apart from this “corrupt generation” and “be saints.”

“You weren’t made to ‘fit in,’ my brothers and sisters. You were born to stand out. Set yourself apart from this corrupt generation. Be saints,” he said. 

Caviezel made the comments during a March 4 panel discussion at the University of Steubenville, Ohio, where he discusses the soon-to-be-released film, Paul, Apostle of Christ, in which he stars. He was joined by EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, host of The World Over, Dr. Scott Hahn, Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at the university, and Eric Groth, executive producer of Paul, Apostle of Christ.  

While the panel's dialogue on the film was fascinating, it was Caviezel’s concluding speech that made the crowd in an overflowing room rise to its feet in thunderous applause. 

Caviezel told the students that they are at “war” with the “most dangerous enemy” who wants to strip them of their freedom, of having the right “to do what you ought.”

“Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom exists, not to do what you like, but having the right to do what you ought,” he said.  

Here is his concluding comment in full:

This message is for you. A great man once said that, ‘evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.’  But you and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth – or, we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

We’re at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his climb from the swamp to the stars. And it’s been said if we lose this war, and in so doing, lose this great way of freedom of ours, history will report with the greatest astonishment, that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent it from happening.  

Well, I think it’s high time now that we ask ourselves if we still even know the freedoms that were intended for us by our founding fathers? Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom exists, not to do what you like, but having the right to do what you ought. 

You weren’t made to “fit in,” my brothers and sisters.  You were born to stand out.  Set yourself apart from this corrupt generation. Be saints.  God bless you.

The actor’s words were met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

Elsewhere during the panel discussion, the actor made bold statements of faith, for instance, asserting, “I believe the devil is more afraid of me than I am of him.”

When asked by a webcast viewer who had experienced conversion after watching The Passion of the Christ if Caviezel thinks his movie on Saint Paul will be similarly powerful, the actor explained this movie is different, but the message will be just as powerful.  

"Forgiveness is everything. It’s forgiveness at all costs. And it does not mean weakness, it does not mean passivity.  It means meeting evil face to face with love. And that’s the power behind this movie.” 

“Love and Forgiveness” is the theme running through the movie, he said.

In one of the film clips shown to the audience, Caviezel as St. Luke, says to a young Christian who proposes murdering Romans to avenge the deaths of members of Rome’s nascent Christian community, “None of us here have walked with Christ, but Paul has followed him longer than us all. I have watched him being beaten. I have watched him be stoned and flogged, and never once did he raise his finger against his oppressors. Let peace be with you. For we live in the world but we do not wage war as the world does.  Peace begins with you, Cassius.  Love is the only way.”  

“Courage . . . is ardent love, noted the actor.  “Love creates change by igniting a passion in each one of us, one person at a time.  Paul is the spark that ignites a real revolution.  And that revolution is love.”   

The film’s executive producer, Eric Groth, explained why this movie focuses only on the end of Paul’s life.  

“To tell Paul’s entire life story would require a miniseries.  You look at the amazing conversion experience he went through.  From being Saul, the greatest persecutor of the early Church … to the greatest promulgator of the faith, and to look at that from the end of his life where he’s gone through that conversion, and all those experiences where he’s gained wisdom and yet we can still see a man who is very human, who knows he’s saved by the grace of God, and yet he still has those struggles with his humanity.  And I think that’s an important thing to be able to reflect on, to be able to say, ‘Hey, he’s a lot like I am.’”

Dr. Scott Hahn described the historical/Biblical context of this moment in Paul’s story.  

“The Roman Empire, under Nero, fell into the deepest corruption.  The darkness was most likely demonic,” said the theologian.  “And so here is the Christian community—the Body of Christ—experiencing what Jesus’ body had just undergone a couple of decades before, back in the early 30’s.  And so you recognize this is the moment when it looks as though this empire, this culture of death, will snuff out the life of Christ’s Body."  

“What I think this movie shows us,” continued Hahn, “reminds me of the old proverb:  “They buried us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.” 

“We have got to buckle up and really pray and enter into the wisdom of Paul’s writings because we might not end up in prison, but our children or our grandchildren will, and they have a lot to learn from the lessons of this man,” said Dr. Hahn. 

“You know, it’s said that Paul was such a zealous apostle because Saul was such a zealous persecutor,’ continued Hahn.  “God redirected all of that energy, and even though he’s aging in this movie, it is really refined and deepened.  And that’s the kind of wisdom we need now.”   

“Theological speculation has a place, but that really practical wisdom in the face of death and suffering, this is where we learn life’s deepest lessons,” he added.

Paul, Apostle of Christ will be released in theaters on Wednesday, March 28, one day prior to Holy Thursday when Catholic celebrate the institution of the Eucharist. 

Caviezel is a devout Catholic who has called abortion “the greatest moral defect of the western world.” He is also working on a sequel to "The Passion of the Christ" with director Mel Gibson that focuses on the Resurrection.

“This is the real deal.  It’s going to blow your mind.  It’s absolutely going to make you so proud.  You heard it here:  It’s going to be the biggest film in history,” said Caviezel. 

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Facebook apologizes for survey on men asking underaged girls for ‘sexual’ pictures

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March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook has apologized for and discontinued a user survey on attitudes toward adults using social media to solicit “sexual” images from children.

Jonathan Haynes, the Digital Editor of the UK’s The Guardian, tweeted a photo of the question that caused widespread concern. It was part of “survey for some users asking how they thought the company should handle grooming behaviour,” The Guardian later reported.

“There are a wide range of topics and behaviors that appear on Facebook,” the question began. “In thinking about an ideal world where you could set Facebook’s policies, how would you handle the following: a private message in which an adult man asks a 14 year old girl for sexual pictures.”

The answers that could be selected were:

  • This content should be allowed on Facebook, and I would not mind seeing it
  • This content should be allowed on Facebook, but I don’t want to see it
  • This content should not be allowed on Facebook, and no one should be able to see it
  • I have no preference on this topic

Haynes tweeted his concern that the “best” the social media giant could do would be to make such solicitations "secret," rather than “calling the police.”

“We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies,” Facebook’s Vice President of Product tweeted. “But this kind of activity is and will always be completely unacceptable on FB. We regularly work with authorities if identified. It shouldn't have been part of this survey. That was a mistake.”

Another question asked, “When thinking about the rules for deciding whether a private message in which an adult man asks a 14 year old for sexual pictures should or should not be allowed on Facebook, ideally who do you think should be deciding the rules?

Facebook users, external experts, and Facebook itself or Facebook with input from experts were answers that could be selected.

Earlier this year, a group saying a Christian activist mom should be “burned...alive” was deemed to fit Facebook’s community standards.

The Vatican’s over-sexualized nativity scene, however, was deemed “sexually suggestive or provocative.”

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Scottish gov’t proposes criminalizing spanking, parents strongly oppose

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March 5, 2018 (The Christian Institute) – The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has criticised Government-backed moves to criminalise parents who smack their own children.

It warned against the state interfering in family life and noted the ban is overwhelmingly opposed by the public.

The Scottish Government has already said it will "ensure" a Member's Bill that seeks to ban reasonable chastisement – put forward by Green MSP John Finnie – becomes law.

State interference

Anthony Horan, Director of the Roman Catholic Parliamentary Office, said: "It is not the role of the state to interfere in how parents go about building a strong relationship with their children, except in the most exceptional circumstances."

"Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights is relevant to the debate on criminalising parents for disciplining their children.

"It states that everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence", he added.

Public opposition

Horan went on to cite a recent ComRes poll for the Be Reasonable Scotland campaign, which showed strong opposition to outlawing smacking.

The poll of more than 1,000 Scottish adults found that three in four of those questioned thought smacking should not be made a criminal offence.

For more information on the campaign, which is being backed by The Christian Institute and the Family Education Trust, visit Be Reasonable Scotland's website.

Attacked

The Roman Catholic Church's defence of parental freedom was attacked by Scotland's Children and Young People's Commissioner, Bruce Adamson.

And, despite the results of the Be Reasonable poll, a spokesman for the Scottish Government claimed that a smacking ban was "something backed by an overwhelming majority of public opinion".

Published with permission from The Christian Institute.

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Fr. James Martin SJ on the Colbert Report, Sept. 24, 2013. Colbert Report
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Pro-gay Fr. James Martin will headline LGBT symposium at public university

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March 5, 2018 (Joseph Sciambra) – On March 24, 2018, Jesuit priest James Martin will be the featured speaker at a one-day symposium: "Building Bridges: A Dialogue on Faith, Catholicism, and the LGBTQ Community." The event will take place at the University of Cincinnati. Besides Martin, those participating include dissident pro-gay marriage advocate Jeanine Gramick, LGBT activist and women's ordination supporter Jamie Mason and gay theologian Andy Buechel who will moderate the panel discussion.

Jeannine Gramick

The co-founders of the dissident gay-affirmative outreach New Ways Ministry were Sister Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent. Both were officially silenced in 1999 by the Vatican:

The ambiguities and errors of the approach of Father Nugent and Sister Gramick have caused confusion among the Catholic people and have harmed the community of the Church. For these reasons, Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Father Robert Nugent, SDS, are permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons...

In addition:

...positions advanced by Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent regarding the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts and the objective disorder of the homosexual inclination are doctrinally unacceptable because they do not faithfully convey the clear and constant teaching of the Catholic Church in this area.

Nugent died in 2014, but Gramick openly defied the Vatican and continues to speak on the issue of homosexuality and is active in New Ways Ministry. In 2011, she stated: "But because I know church history, I know change takes centuries. We are planting seeds for change at the upper level of leadership." She continued: "When we started this work, only 20 percent of Catholics believed in equal rights for gays and lesbians. Now it's over 73 percent...The church is moving." In an op-ed for "The Washington Post," she wrote:

Many Catholics have reflected on the scientific evidence that homosexuality is a natural variant in human sexuality, and understand that lesbian and gay love is as natural as heterosexual love. In forming our consciences, Catholics also consult scripture and our theological tradition. Here, again, there is little firm reason to oppose marriage equality.

After the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry, released the following statement:

New Ways Ministry rejoices with millions of U.S. Catholics that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided in favor of marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples! On this historic day, we pray in thanksgiving that justice and mercy have prevailed and that the prayers and efforts of so many have combined to move our nation one step closer to fairness and equality for all...The Supreme Court's decision embodies the Catholic values of human dignity, respect for differences, and the strengthening of families.

In 2010, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I, Archbishop of Chicago and then-President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the status of the organization "New Ways Ministry;" here is an excerpt:

No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination. Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.

In 2016, James Martin accepted the "Bridge Building Award" from New Ways Ministry and his address at the awards ceremony served as the inspiration for his book "Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity." In 2017, Martin called for the canonization of Jeannine Gramick.

Jamie Mason

Jamie Mason is a frequent columnist with The National Catholic Reporter and she received the Theresa Kane Award for Women of Vision and Courage from Women's Ordination Worldwide in 2015; in 2012, she wrote:

The ability to dissent from the institutional church's teachings and to live lives free of the church's teachings is a privilege. But it is a privilege that can bear fruit for the wider church if we use this gift well.

We must think differently about what leaving the church looks like now. The traditional line in the church justice movement has been that "one can only change the church from within."

In 2014, in an article about same-sex marriage and the Catholic Church, she wrote:

As someone preparing to enter a same-sex marriage with my partner of five years, I think American Catholics can and should accept recognition of same-sex marriage because they are Catholics. The church should revise its attitude toward same-sex relationships not simply because the culture is moving in that direction – which by itself...is no reason to alter any moral teaching – but because it has become clear that that what the church teaches about homosexuality is not true.

Andy Buechel

Andy Buechel currently teachers at Jesuit Xavier University in Cincinnati. He received his Master of Theological Studies from Notre Dame in 2007 and his Doctor of Philosophy in 2012 from Emory University. His dissertation was titled: "Can Anything Good Come Out of Nazareth? Perspectives in Queer Theology," and it was later published as his 2015 book: "That We Might Become God: The Queerness of Creedal Christianity."

According to Buechel:

...God became human that humans might become God. Our deepest desire is to participate fully in the erotic life of God, to be immersed so totally in love that the Divine Life and our own become the same.

He continued:

The encounters with the resurrected Lord intensify the limitations and reductions of modern conceptions of sexual difference and sexual orientation, limitations first seen at the transfiguration. Jesus' body is not only queer in its fluidity, openness, and excess; it is queer by how it relates to other bodies erotically, drawing them towards the Divine.

In one chapter, "Incarnation: Christ's Queer Body," Buechel engages in a lengthy discussion pertaining to Jesus' penis; he wrote: "I have discussed the value of reflecting on Christ's penis, Christ's sex, in order to think through the political implications – cultural and ecclesial – that such reflection manifests. This, in turn, raises questions about us as church and our comfort with the full implications of the Incarnation, into which we are also incorporated." In this context, Buechel also examined the Catholic Church's historical refusal to depict the crucified Christ as completely nude; he identified this as: "Theology's refusal to look under the loincloth..."

He added this hypothetical situation involving someone gazing upon a nude image of the Crucifixion:

What if the worshipful gazer is a straight man, for whom Jesus must be only a buddy – in order to maintain the devotee's own solid heterosexuality – yet, somehow, more than that as well? What if the one who gazes is a straight woman or gay man whose desire might be enflamed by this image? Isn't this dangerous territory? But isn't the creation of desire precisely what this image is meant to do? Enflame us with love and the yearning to unite with the one who shows his love in outstretched, pierced arms? Are we not invited, like Thomas, to enter his body through his wounds? How do we think of this body – this body of God – and our relationship to it?

Concerning the doubting Apostle and the Resurrected Christ, Buechel describes "the erotic and sexual charge of Jesus' encounter with Thomas..." According to Buechel, the meeting

...is erotically and even sexually charged is evident not only through the matrix of distance/proximity, sight/touch, difference/identity which all enflame and power desire but also through the interpretative tradition of this story...In this, the intimacy and eroticism are manifest. Jesus himself is guiding the hand of the fascinated Thomas toward his side. He is guiding the penetration of his wound, of the womb from which the church is born. Strictly, and anachronistically, speaking, this encounter is homosexual: it involves deep erotic intimacy between two people of the same sex.

Discussing his own discernment to the priesthood, Buechel wrote:

For me personally, the priesthood was a "safeplace" for my own gayness, for it was a space where one could be unattached to a woman and still be praised rather than judged. The ideal of the Priestly Body was one with which I resonated, a body that was not simply male and not simply straight: it offered space to play with these identities.

Buechel currently serves as Theological Adviser for the Lexington based pro-gay marriage ministry Fortunate Families. In his testimony for Fortunate Families, Buechel referred to Church prohibitions against homosexuality as "a handful of lower-order teachings." Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington serves as their Ecclesial Adviser. In 2017, Stowe spoke at New Ways Ministry's Eighth National Symposium.

Fortunate Families

Fortunate Families is a gay-affirmative pro-same-sex marriage advocacy group founded in 2004 by the Catholic parents of a "gay" son – Mary Ellen and Casey Lopata. Inspired by the work of Robert Nugent and Jeannine Gramick and their New Ways Ministry, the Lopata's decided to form an outreach specifically targeted to the Catholic parents of LGBT children.

In 2003, the Lopatas published their book "Fortunate Families: Catholic Families with Lesbian Daughters and Gay Sons." Here are some excerpts.

Since church law restricts marriage to a man and woman, does this mean homogenital behavior is always a sin? The Vatican says: "In fact, circumstances may exist, or may have existed in the past, which would reduce or remove the culpability of the individual [engaged in homosexual activity]...in a given instance." So Church teaching says homogeni-tal acts are not necessarily always a sin. Of course!

1. There are only six passages generally used to condemn homosexuality.
2. The primary concern of these passages is something other than homogenital activity.
3. There are translation issues suggested by the fact that 1946 was the first time the word "homosexual" appeared in an English translation. 
4. The biblical writers had no concept of our modern psychological understanding of homosexual orientation.
5. The prophets, the gospels and Jesus say nothing about homosexuality in the bible.

In 2015, the Lopatas published a "Letter" addressed to Pope Francis in which they detail their support for same-sex marriage and their experiences related to an ongoing twenty year friendship with a "married" "gay" male couple; the Lopatas are the godparents for the couple's two adopted children. They describe the two men and their children as "a model Catholic family." According to the "Letter," the "married" "gay" couple is very active in their Catholic parish:

"They are very active in parish life: one or the other (or both) has served as president of the parish council, chair of the liturgy committee and on the diocesan liturgical commission, religious education teacher, lector, Eucharistic minister, cantor and choir member."

The Lopatas continued, with this message to Pope Francis:

"These gay men have accepted their God-given sexual orientations and are striving to follow God's will in their lives. Though our two godchildren are not being raised by their biological parents, their gay parents through their complementary (though not in the reproductive sense) and loving relationship have created a family every bit as authentic and holy – and life-giving – as that of any heterosexual relationship we know of including our own."

According to Fortunate Families, their "Foundational Statement" includes:

We also acknowledge, together with the Church, that the fullness of sexual expression is best framed in a loving committed relationship. We believe, along with mainstream science, that the homosexual orientation and experience of gender is deeply seated and cannot be reversed by prayer and/or therapy. Many of our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers are in loving, committed relationships with persons of the same sex or persons with other gender nonconforming expressions and ask us to embrace, accept and love them for who they are. We do embrace them, knowing that our decision to love them – at times – places us in tension with Church teaching.

We do not come lightly to these conclusions; we have prayed about it, talked to other parents, families, friends, allies and Church officials about it, cried about it and finally come to an acceptance about it that resides on the level of conscience. We recognize that sometimes the conscience of the individual places him/her in conflict with articulated Catholic teaching. The resolution of this conflict often includes the proper use of conscience as articulated by the Magisterium. Many of us have sought the counsel of Catholic priests who have supported us in loving LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers.

We realize that church teaching and the articulation of doctrine has developed through the years. We earnestly pray for a development of Church teaching on the topic of homosexuality and gender. We also earnestly pray that Church officials listen to our experiences and the experiences of our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers.

After the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, Deb Word, then President of Fortunate Families, released the following statement:

"Fortunate Families celebrates with our LGBT children the opportunity to share in the same rights as their straight siblings. The Supreme Court decision brings legal stability to our children's lives and security to our grandchildren. We applaud this decision and continue our work in the Catholic tradition seeking social justice for all our children..."

According to Fortune Families:

We need to acknowledge that many of our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers are in committed loving same gendered relationships. While same gendered relationships might not be procreative in the strict sense, they often are very generative, contribute to the common good, and can be examples of a loving, committed relationships.  We ask the Church to acknowledge the truth of this.

In 2017, James Martin recommended Fortunate Families.

Themes of "queer theology" have been incorporated into several Catholic LGBT ministries, namely at St. Paul the Apostle Church in New York City, St. Cecilia's Rainbow Ministry in Boston and at St. Patrick – St. Anthony Church in Hartford, Connecticut.

Published with permission from Joseph Sciambra.

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Nancy Flanders

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She was raped at 13 and told to kill her son. She didn’t.

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By Nancy Flanders
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Kali and newborn Smitlee.
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Kali and Smitlee.
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Kali and Smitlee on Halloween.

March 5, 2018 (Live Action News) – At just thirteen years old, Kali was assaulted by a stranger. The rape left her feeling so scared and ashamed that she didn't tell anyone what had happened to her. After losing twenty pounds and becoming ill from the stress of the assault, she discovered she was pregnant, and her entire world was altered once again. Yet despite pressure to abort her child, she stood firm in her decision to give birth to him and raise him at just 14 years old.

"I let it all out when I knew that I was pregnant. I was 12 weeks," she told Live Action News. "I was three months pregnant so it was three months until my family knew anything had happened. My mother cried and told me everything was going to be okay. She was totally supportive. I was in the hospital vomiting when I found out and she looked at me and said, 'You know what? It will be okay.' She said she would support what I decided. She has always been against abortion so when I told her I wanted to keep it she cried and said she would help me in any way she could. She was my backbone through it all."

Kali's mother and stepfather were the only ones who initially supported Kali in her choice for life. Friends and family alike urged her to abort and when she refused, rumors and bullying began to overwhelm her life.

"After I was assaulted and everybody found out that I was, in fact, pregnant, everyone was against it," she explained. "I was assaulted at thirteen. Everyone said, 'You're going to ruin your life. You're making a mistake. It would be so much easier if you got an abortion. You're too young.'"

Her father had concerns at first because his young daughter had become pregnant through rape, but once he saw his grandson on the ultrasound he knew his daughter had made the right choice. Her brothers were in shock, and while they were supportive of her, they were upset that she hadn't come to them sooner so they could have tried to protect her. As for her friends, Kali lost most of them.

"I had one friend that stuck with me the whole time. The others spread rumors," she said. "They said I was sleeping with this person, and this person, and this person. That same lingo went around – It's a rapist's baby, I was too young. They spray painted 'whore' on my house. The bullying got really bad."

Even medical staff made inappropriate comments concerning her baby, telling Kali that she was going to give birth to a rapist.

"I said, 'No, that's just not even relevant to him," said Kali. "That has nothing to do with my son. He didn't choose how he got here. He didn't choose the man who was his sperm donor.'"

But Kali, who once considered herself pro-choice, had heard her son's heartbeat at twelve weeks gestation and knew that his life was a gift. Hearing that heartbeat helped her to choose life without hesitation. She said she used the judgment and bullying as motivation to prove them all wrong.

"Now that I have been put in that situation, I am totally pro-life. Once you hear that baby's heartbeat it is an indescribable feeling," she said. "It was an emotional time, but it [choosing life] wasn't honestly that hard of a decision at the time. That's a life. To me abortion is murder and so I'm totally pro-life completely now that I've been put through one of the most horrible situations."

With her mother by her side for every single ultrasound, Kali remained strong through difficult times during the pregnancy and even an emergency C-section. She went into labor nine times – as early as 14 weeks – and had to change OB/Gyns three times because of poor treatment.

During numerous trips to the hospital to deal with premature labor, nurses were flippant with Kali concerning her son's life. She was told that her son would die if he were born too young and that they wouldn't be able to help him, she would have to just hold him as he died and that it was okay since she was so young. They acted as if his death shouldn't have an impact on her.

"One woman, who was a midwife, said, 'Well, if you lose this baby, you're young, it shouldn't matter. You can have another one.' I told her it wasn't okay to say that," said Kali.

At 27 weeks, Kali's water broke. She remained on bedrest in the hospital for a full week before her son, Smitlee –named after Kali's stepfather Smitty and her father Lee – was born at just 28 weeks gestation. Doctors performed an emergency C-section after both Smitlee's and Kali's heart rates had dropped.

When Smitlee was born, he was breathing on his own but would require a ventilator and complete life support. He spent five weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit and doctors gave him a good chance of survival but told Kali that her son faced the risk of having a disability. However, Smitlee proved them wrong. Now four years old, he is in an honors preschool program in which he attends preschool half of the day and kindergarten the other half of the day. Kali is proud to say that he has undergone all the testing the doctors requested and he is doing well and is healthy.

Now 19 years old, Kali has no regrets about choosing life. She does, however, believe laws need to change to protect sexual assault victims and the children they give birth to. Her rapist was caught, but in order to protect her son, she had to allow her rapist to get away with a shorter sentence.

"They caught him and it wasn't just me. Apparently, he had sexually assaulted others as well and they had been videoed. The police went in his house for a drug raid and they saw videos labeled with horrendous things and they watched them. And that's how a police officer knocked on my door," she said. "There was a video of him assaulting me and videos of him assaulting three other young women. One other was pregnant and got an abortion. The other two didn't get pregnant. State laws are ridiculous. The rapist can – if you go to court and get a DNA test – he can get visitation or shared custody and if you don't get a DNA test he gets a shorter sentence."

Kali opted to skip the DNA test because she didn't want her rapist to have even a chance of ever being near her son. Her choice meant that he has already been released from prison.

Kali is now living on her own and raising Smitlee. After graduating from high school a year early with honors, she is in college full time, majoring in criminal justice and forensic science. She also works part-time at her grandfather's company, and for two years she has been dating a man who works as a corrections officer. Kali hopes that everyone who criticized and bullied her opens their eyes to realize that abortion isn't an answer for pregnancy after rape.

"In a nice way, I would try to just tell them told you so and I hope that they learned something," she explained. "I hope that my story will open their eyes so they realize that not everybody has to be pro-abortion in a tragic situation and to realize the beauty behind it – and that baby was totally it for me. That's what I told everyone – that I'm doing this for him. I hope they change the way they treat people. I hope they start giving women more respect and keep their negative comments to themselves because those really aren't needed in that stressful time."

Kali also wants all women facing pregnancy after a sexual assault – or any unexpected pregnancy – to believe in themselves and to reach out for help.

"There is help everywhere," she said. "Choices 4 Life – that organization helped me so much. Don't keep it bottled in. That's the worst thing you can do and that's what I did. If your parents are attacking you, there is a way out. There's a way to do it. If you don't keep it all to yourself you will feel so much better. I wish I had known that. […]Don't be afraid and don't be ashamed.

"There is no better gift in the entire world, no matter what anyone else tells you," she continued. "There is no better gift than that baby."

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

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China’s communist gov’t creates machine to spy on and rate citizens’ ‘trustworthiness’

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

SHANGHAI, China, March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Chinese communist government is poised to become what one critic is calling the “nightmare of the world’s first truly totalitarian state” with the rollout of a nationwide system that rates the “trustworthiness” of its 1.4 billion citizens. 

China’s “Social Credit System” is set to become mandatory for all Chinese citizens and businesses by 2020.

Citizens who have a high trustworthy rating will be able to partake in the benefits of society, including banking, travel, healthcare, etc. Those with low ratings will be shamed and excluded. 

The program, which is still confined to pilot projects in a few Chinese regions and cities like Shanghai, will collect online data, ranging from Uber reservations to comments on social media, to rate citizens’ “integrity” and reward or punish them accordingly. 

According to the Chinese communist government’s “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System (2014 - 2020),” the monitoring system will focus on honesty in government affairs, commercial integrity, social integrity, and judicial integrity. The aim of the program is “to raise [citizens’] awareness of integrity and the level of trustworthiness in Chinese society.” 

According to Meg Jing Zeng of Queensland University of Technology, the credit of the “Social Credit System”, or xinyong, is a “core tenet of Confucian ethics.” Originally meaning “honesty” and “trustworthiness”, xinyong now denotes “financial creditworthiness” as well. 

The plan, which was first proposed in 2007, was ostensibly meant to regulate China’s new socialist-capitalist economy, which is plagued by cheating, counterfeit goods, problems with food safety, and dishonored contracts. However, the plan has been gradually extended to include other aspects of daily life, including personal habits, opinions and friendships.

Zeng writes that the goal of the pilot schemes is to create a standardized system of rewards and punishment. Some schemes have a “points system,” in which participants begin with 100 points, and then win or lose points, depending on their social behavior. For example, a participant loses points if he neglects to cancel a reservation to a restaurant before his no-show, or is caught jaywalking. However, he wins points if he does a good deed, like donating blood. 

Rewards to citizens with “high social credit” have included discounts on transportation and shorter waits at hospitals.  However, citizens with “low social credit” have found themselves unable to purchase airline tickets, get passports, or reserve any but the least comfortable seats on trains. They have also found their citizen identity document photograph displayed on digital screens as a form of public shaming. 

If that weren’t troubling enough, a citizen’s social credit score can be lowered by associating online with people who themselves have low scores. 

“What we have now in China is the nightmare of the world’s first truly totalitarian state,” Steve Mosher told LifeSiteNews. 

Urge Pope Francis to stand with persecuted Catholics in China.Sign the petition here!

Mosher, the president of the Population Research Institute, is a frequent guest on EWTN’s “The World Over” as an expert on Asian affairs. His latest book Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order is currently third in the “China” section of the Amazon bestseller list. 

“The Left has always said that true totalitarianism is impossible to achieve because there are never enough minders,” said Mosher. “That’s no longer true.” 

Thanks to surveillance cameras on every street corner and to Chinese citizens’ reliance on electronic devices in shopping, bill-paying and communications, they have never been easier for their government to watch.

“A lot of people in China don’t use money anymore,” Mosher explained. “They use their phones. The Chinese government monitors all phones, everything electronic.” 

The dark beauty of the new system is that residents of the People’s Republic of China, by operating online, are “self-reporting” on where they go, what they buy, and--on social media--who they know and what they think.  

“Your social [credit] score goes up if you say good things about the regime,” said Mosher. “Your social score goes down if you say bad things about the regime.”

According to the expert, the Chinese government has a seat on the board of every social media company in China. It also owns one percent of the stock of each company, and although that percentage seems small, it is the government board member who is in control. Any wrong move by the company, Mosher said, “and he can shut you down.”   

Mosher thinks that while the non-political types won’t mind that the government knows all about them, life will certainly become much more difficult for dissidents. For the time being, they can use cash to evade detection, but when the Social Credit System becomes mandatory, people who try to stay “in the dark” won’t be able to do anything in a financial sense.

“Is it now ever going to be possible for the Chinese people to organize a demonstration like Tiananmen Square?” he wondered. “It’s hard to see how dissidents can get ahead of the government.”

 “The cyber walls are closing in.”

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Carole Novielli

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Planned Parenthood is racist, must be defunded: black former PP director

Carole Novielli
By Carole Novielli
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Dr. Laverne Tolbert.
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La Verne Powlis: Beauty from the Inside Out.
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Dr. La Verne Tolbert, former Planned Parenthood board member (Image credit: TooManyAborted.com).
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Dr La Verne Tolbert tweet about Planned Parenthood.
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Definition of Dysgenic.
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La Verne Tolbert (then Powlis) shown with PPFA president Faye Wattleton (Image: edited from Black Enterprise Magazine).
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Former Planned Parenthood board member writes to Ebony Magazine 3.
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Former Planned Parenthood board member La Verne Tolbert (Image: Twitter).
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Dr La Verne Tolbert, former Planned Parenthood board director.

March 5, 2018 (Live Action News) – Dr. La Verne Tolbert is an accomplished professor, author and outspoken advocate for adoption and foster care. She is also a former Planned Parenthood board member turned staunch pro-life advocate who admits that at one time she hated children. Her journey to the truth led her to become a role model for children and an outspoken representative against the agenda of abortion and Planned Parenthood, which she says targets the Black community.

Early in her career, Tolbert, who then went by the name La Verne Powlis, landed a job as editor/reporter for Family Circle Magazine and went on to become the first Black beauty editor of Brides Magazine, where she claims she lived a "very glamorous life in the beauty world." (In 1979, she authored her first beauty book and became a spokesperson for L'Oreal.)

"Why is it more necessary for women in the inner city to have the 'right' to abortion?"

Due in part to her success as a magazine writer, after joining the Coalition of 100 Black Women in New York, Dr. Tolbert was asked to join the board of Planned Parenthood. Tolbert had been raised in church and her father was a pastor, but she writes, "I knew little about abortion." In her book she also describes being sought after to join Planned Parenthood: "When a speech I made received media coverage back home, I was greeted with my organization's applause along with invitations to join two boards – The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and Planned Parenthood."

"In 1975, when I was asked to be a part of the board, I thought, this is a wonderful way for me to volunteer and help the women in my community. This is a great way to give back," Dr. Tolbert told an audience.

Dr. Tolbert often points out that abortion had just been legalized a few years earlier and many people, including her, were uneducated about abortion and the development of the preborn child in the womb.

Tell Congress to keep their promise and defund Planned Parenthood.Sign the petition here!

Dr. Tolbert says that while she was with Planned Parenthood, she discovered that at one time, the state of New York's Health Department required a death certificate for each baby that was aborted. "And I thought, death certificates? Well a death certificate is only required if somebody dies."

"And so, the information that I had learned that it was just a 'blob of tissue,' a 'mass in the uterus,' was not true."

"Later on, as I began to read, I asked a [Planned Parenthood] board member how abortions were performed – I protested that this was traumatic for the mother and her baby. But, I was corrected and told, 'It is not traumatic!'"

She described her first Board meeting: "I remember walking into the first board meeting. And I was filled with anticipation. I was so excited to be there. And I took the bus from my job and the magazine where I worked and took it over to the Margaret Sanger Center."

Dr. Tolbert writes that almost immediately she began to notice board members arriving to meetings in style:

Over time I noticed that several of the board members arrived in chauffeured limousines. Who were these men of wealth, I wondered, and why were they so interested in the people who lived in the inner-city?

Once in the building, I walked past the clinic that served primarily African-American and Latino girls. The elevator took me upstairs to an imposingly large boardroom, and I took my seat with the striking observation that I was the only person of color in the room. The majority of board members were male, and the handful of women appeared to be much older than my twenty-seven years."

Today, we know that many of these "well-to-do men" as she described them later, had been indoctrinated with the ideology of eugenics and population control, and Dr. Tolbert soon realized this as well, writing about it in her book, "Keeping You & Your Kids Sexually Pure":

During the course of my five-year tenure, we received a lot of literature. Most discussed population control and the concern for the growing number of people in the world – poor people in the United States and in developing countries. As the population grew, natural resources like air, water, and food were shrinking. I soon understood why the full name for this organization was Planned Parenthood World Population. I struggled with the question, "Which population are they trying to control?" As a black woman, the question kept coming back to me like a boomerang. I wondered why abortion was more necessary for my ethnic group, why this organization fought so hard to give us this particular "right" when the rights for better education, better jobs, and better housing seemed paramount.

Tolbert has publicly shared her experiences of being the only African American on the Board of Planned Parenthood at that time, saying, "I would wonder, why are they so concerned about abortion being a right for us? Why is it more necessary for women in the inner city to have the 'right' to abortion?" She added at another event:

And I thought, what about housing and jobs and schools?... And every time I asked the question, the boomerang came back to me. And, I realized that Planned Parenthood-World Population [as it was called at that time] had one goal. And that was to control the population of those people they considered to be dysgenic – those people who should not be procreating.

Tolbert added, "The reason I was asked to be on the board was because I was the daughter of a pastor. And they realized the importance of those in the religious community preaching to our own community the 'right' to have an abortion."

"Part of our responsibility as board members was to become familiar with abortion procedures. We read documents detailing how abortions were performed, and for me, that's when the viability debate ended," Dr. Tolbert wrote.

In her book, she describes how reading details of the horrific D&E (dilation and evacuation) abortion brought her to tears:

The dilation-and-evacuation abortion literally tears the baby apart limb by limb.... I was horrified. I came to the next meeting shaking with disbelief and filled with protestations. Holding up the papers, I said that these procedures were traumatic for both the mother and her baby.

An older woman sitting directly across from me looked me coldly in the eye and said in a low, rabid voice, "It is not traumatic!" I was stunned by her insensitivity and chilled by her icy stare.

I was on the verge of resigning from the board. Now that I understood what was really involved, I wanted no part in this abortion business. But the question, "Who will speak up if I leave?" kept me in a quandary. Eventually deciding to remain, I determined to be a thorn in their side and often cast the lone opposing vote.

Dr. Tolbert had nightmares about the babies Planned Parenthood aborted. "We're not just a board of directors. We are death's directors!" she wrote.

We were told never to use the words embryo... or fetus... we were instead to use the inanimate terms "mass of tissue" or "contents of the uterus.

We were never to call a teenage girl a "mother." We were to refer to her as a "woman" no matter how young she might be...Students were to be assured that parental notification or consent was not required for any of Planned Parenthood's services.

While serving on Planned Parenthood's board from 1975-1980, Dr. Tolbert became pro-life. When she retired from the board, she began to speak out against Planned Parenthood's eugenics agenda. Dr. Tolbert's career as a magazine writer began to take off and she relocated from New York to Los Angeles. She can be seen here in a 1978 article published by Black Enterprise  –  ironically featured with Planned Parenthood's first Black president, Faye Wattleton:

"I thought I had seen everything. This is murder."

Dr. Tolbert often recalls the day when the reality of what she had participated in hit her. She said at that moment, she fell to the floor and began weeping before God in repentance. Tolbert later recounted that she had been abused as a child and as a result she came to realize that she hated children. She struggled for many years as a young Black woman, but despite all her success, Dr. Tolbert admitted recently, "I just wanted to die. I had this gaping mother wound and I didn't know how to fix it. Worst of all, I hated children  –  or at least that's what I thought. Even though I was raised in the church and my dad was a pastor.... I still wondered if God was real enough.... I cried out to God to heal my pain."

Then, after years of wondering why she hated children, she began to cry out to God for help. "I woke up, and something was different." Shortly after this, Tolbert got a job at an elementary school, writing curriculum. She also ended up becoming a counselor... for children. Tolbert found herself walking through hallways and having children running up to her, hugging her... and suddenly she realized that she no longer hated children. "I thought, I'm not afraid anymore. I don't hate children anymore.... God's truth changed my life and impacted every area of my world."

Today, Dr. Tolbert spends most her time instructing churches on how to educate and teach children. She is a favored speaker at pregnancy resource center events and is part of the National Black Pro-life Coalition. But as a former Planned Parenthood board member, Dr. Tolbert also says she remains focused on educating her community on the truth about Planned Parenthood. In a 1989 issue of Ebony Magazine, Tolbert (then Powlis) wrote scathing rebuke against abortion. It read in part:

I suggest that every pro-abortionist investigate just exactly who sits on these boards to so vigorously uphold "our" right to abortion. And if the finger is pointed to population control, ask yourself this next question: Just what population are "they" trying to control?

... And why is abortion more necessary to Black women? Can we honestly believe that when our children are dying in the streets because of the proliferation of drugs in our communities, when education for Black boys and girls is constantly and categorically inferior, when housing and employment opportunities for women of color  still scrape the bottom of the barrel- can we be so naive to believe that the same "they" who hold us down with one foot will stand up for us with the other? What if the monies spent to kill babies by abortion, were instead, targeted to keep the kids on our streets alive?

... If Black life is so valuable, why are we killing our babies?

In 2011, for the very first time, Dr. Tolbert saw a video of an actual abortion. "I thought I had seen everything," she stated emotionally. "... I saw that baby's little hands and the little feet ripped out of the cervix of that woman. This is murder! It must end!"

She added, "We are not a population that needs to be controlled. We must control ourselves. If we don't walk into Planned Parenthood they cannot kill our babies...."

"There is no way to justify funding Planned Parenthood. Its roots are racist."

Dr. Tolbert said that since her time on Planned Parenthood's board she has extensively researched Planned Parenthood and its founder, Margaret Sanger, a former member of the American Eugenics Society:

One book in particular, Grand Illusions, The Legacy of Planned Parenthood by George Grant, confirmed what I had experienced and taught me much, much more. In it I learned about the Negro Project, which was Margaret Sanger's directive that Planned Parenthood target African-American pastors. It dawned on me how valuable they considered me to be since I was a pastor's kid!

I now understand more about the philosophical roots of the woman and the organization she launched.

Dr. Tolbert later wrote about her findings:

In her [Sanger's] autobiography, she expresses disdain for the poor, whom she calls the wretched of humanity. Eugenics – the improvement of the race through controlled breeding – identifies certain ethnic groups as dysgenic, meaning they are biologically defective or deficient and therefore unworthy of procreation. Sanger's mission was to "stop the multiplication of the unfit...[for] race betterment" to guarantee "a cleaner race."  "Birth-control," said Sanger in 1920, "is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, or preventing the birth of defectives, or of those who will become defectives...

What began with Sanger's Birth Control Federation in 1916 had, by 1960, become a national movement....

The organization in place, opportunity surfaced when African American women, who were perceived to be particularly fecund or fertile, became the focus of the government's national family planning efforts. Reducing the size of traditionally large black families was a priority that eventually would impact other minorities as well.

Tragically, Dr. Tolbert said she also learned how the United States government has funded this Black genocide, telling CBN, "It is our government that hires Planned Parenthood to provide abortions to Black women in the inner city."

Tolbert added in her writings, "Sanger's personal mission alone did not propel Planned Parenthood to such national status. To do so involves a shared goal, multiple committed partnerships, and the sustained dedication of financial resources – a monumental strategy that only the United States government could achieve."

"There is no way to justify continuing to fund Planned Parenthood.  Its roots are racist!" she stated in 2015.

"Planned Parenthood targets minorities for abortion with the specific goal of keeping down (or lowering) the birthrate of Black babies.... Over twenty million African American babies have been aborted," she added.

Dr. Tolbert has co-edited a book with Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., entitled, "Life at All Costs: An Anthology of Voices from 21st Century Black Pro-Life Leaders." The book details national efforts to end abortion and protect the traditional family. She sits on the board of Too Many Aborted and is also an advocate for abstinence education and teen pregnancy prevention. Dr. Tolbert is also President of Teaching Like Jesus Ministries Inc., a para-church ministry equipping leaders in the local church.

In March 2013, Dr. Tolbert recently received the Priscilla Award from Biola University during National Women's History Month. In 2010, she was awarded a commendation by the County of Los Angeles for her efforts with the Department of Children and Family Services to find permanency for older children who are being raised in foster care. She also champions adoption in pulpits across America and invites pastors to partner with her program, Covenants for Kids, where volunteers drive children who are living in foster care to church.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

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Liberal columnists mock parents opposing a lesbian Elsa in ‘Frozen 2’

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By Claire Chretien

March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two columnists, one Canadian and one English, are irritated at parents who have asked Disney not to portray Elsa as a lesbian in Frozen 2.

It’s “disturbingly misguided” for parents to be asking Disney not to give Frozen’s protagonist a “female love interest,” Emma Teitel wrote at the Toronto Star.

“There is something very wrong with the notion that a gay Elsa would pervert an otherwise sexless story by merely existing inside it,” argued Teitel. “If you believe gay characters aren’t age-appropriate for little kids, you believe gay people aren’t age-appropriate for little kids. You believe we’re deviants.”

TELL DISNEY: Don’t make Elsa a lesbian in Frozen 2! Sign the petition here.

In The Guardian, Arwa Mahdawi mocked the conservatives who she says are “clutching their pearls and screaming about the upcoming gaypocalypse.”

Teitel called LifeSiteNews’ petition asking Disney not to promote lesbianism to young girls “frantic.”  Parents “are terrified that a lesbian Elsa will be so cool and so fabulous — she’ll turn their daughters gay,” she mocked.

Teitel suggested some parents are being disingenuous about their opposing to queering Frozen. Such parents already didn’t like the original Frozen, and should be happy they have an excuse to skip taking their kids to it sequel, she wrote.

“What better excuse could a socially conservative, Frozen-averse parent have to banish the voice of Idina Menzel from his car stereo, than conclusive evidence she is a cog in the homosexual indoctrination machine?” Teitel asked.

Mahdawi maintains that the suggestion Elsa will be a lesbian in Frozen 2 is giving leftists a “glimmer of hope” – as the Huffington Post put it – but is far from being certain.

“The media then turned this glimmer into a firestorm,” she wrote.

Teitel acknowledged that a lesbian lead in a Disney film would have a huge impact on kids.

“Frozen 2 starring a gay Elsa would absolutely change the world,” Teitel wrote, “because a lesbian Disney queen with a female love interest sends the following message to millions of kids: hand holding, slow dancing, and maybe a peck on the lips — these chaste movie moments aren’t just for boys and girls.”

“Once, there was a time when young women were empowered to believe they could be doctors, lawyers, and participate in our constitutional republic just as well as men could,” the Activist Mommy blogger wrote as she discussed the possibility of an “LGBTQ” Disney princess.

“Somewhere along this road, however, society took a massive left turn and started teaching young girls they had to have all the unattached, casual sexual encounters they wanted, engage in sexual relationships with other women, and completely forsake a husband and family in order to be empowered,” she continued. “This agenda is nothing short of completely wicked and immoral.”

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Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin Lambda Legal / screen-grab
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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‘Married’ lesbians sue U.S. Catholic bishops over rejection as foster ‘parents’

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

FORT WORTH, Texas, March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic Charities of Fort Worth, Texas, turned down two “married” lesbians for foster parenting because their homosexual lifestyle gave children no father. The lesbians are now suing Catholic hierarchs and the federal government for discrimination. 

Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin filed a lawsuit February 20 in U.S. District Court for (District of Columbia) against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Trump administration for being turned down by the Christian adoption agency to foster a refugee child.

Texas A&M University instructors Marouf and Esplin are “married” to each other, which violates the Bible-based criteria Catholic Charities of Fort Worth goes by in placing children. The criteria are set by the bishops of the Catholic Church.

“This mission is entrusted to the Church by Christ,” Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson said.  “It would be tragic if Catholic Charities were not able to provide this help in accordance with the Gospel values and family assistance that is so essential to these children who are vulnerable to being mistreated as meaningless in society.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops receives federal money for refugee resettlement and oversees Catholic Charities of Fort Worth’s international foster care program, which is the only placement agency for unaccompanied refugee children in Texas.  

The program “is faithful to the Church’s mission to care for the poor and vulnerable,” Bishop Olson said, and is fully compliant with federal regulations, according to the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops and the Fort Worth Diocese.

Specific defendants named in the lawsuit include the Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Alex Azar, the Administration for Children and Families and Asst. Secretary Steven Wagner, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement and Director Scott Lloyd.  They are accused of violating the Establishment Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution by imposing a religious litmus test in child placement.

“Allowing (them) to turn away our clients is like our government endorsing one set of religious beliefs over another, which is unconstitutional,” pro-homosexual Lambda Legal attorney Jamie Glicksberg, who filed the complaint on behalf of the lesbians, said.

Marouf, a Muslim, and Esplin, a Mormon, also accuse Catholic Charities of Fort Worth’s Chairman of the Board Executive Committee, Donna Springer, of “insulting” and hurting their feelings by saying only heterosexual married couples who “mirror the Holy Family” qualify.  Springer and Catholic Charities deny the conversation, but admit their director of child welfare talked with the lesbians on the phone.

“We are challenging federal funding to an organization that permits religiously-based discrimination,” Lambda Legal’s Currey Cook said.

Last year, Texas passed the Freedom to Serve Children Act, which protects state-funded Christian adoption and foster care agencies from government punishment if they give preference to married, one man and one woman households.  The Act took effect last September.

Christian Homes and Family Services only considers stable couples who go to church faithfully and have been married for at least two years.  Buckner International only considers couples who have been married at least four years to be foster parents, but places children in single-parent homes on a case-by-case basis.

Texas’ new law also stops the government “from discriminating...against a child welfare services provider” if the provider refuses to facilitate an abortion or the distribution of contraceptives, offers a Christian education to a child such as placement in a Catholic school, or refuses to betray “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Alabama, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Virginia have passed similar laws protecting Christian adoption agencies.

Lambda Legal says the state’s religious freedom law doesn’t apply to Marouf and Esplin’s case, because refugees are under the federal government’s care.

“While our case does not challenge the state [law], it...demonstrates clearly the danger of such laws — harm to children as result of fewer homes available to them and harm to the loving families turned away,” Cook claimed.

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Jim Sedlak

Opinion

Planned Parenthood’s insidious 2018 battle plan hinges on state laws promoting abortion

Jim Sedlak
By Jim Sedlak

March 5, 2018 (American Life League) – As its lame-duck president, Cecile Richards, plans to leave Planned Parenthood in May, the organization is taking steps to make abortion more acceptable in the United States and easier for Planned Parenthood.

In her years at the helm, Richards did not see any large increase in Planned Parenthood’s abortion numbers. But, now that she is exiting, the organization wants to take the political power Richards is leaving and turn that into a boon for its abortion and abortifacient birth control business.

Last week, Planned Parenthood held a news conference to announce its plans for 2018. Fittingly, this was a news conference held over the phone rather than one where reporters gather in person. This fits the ever-growing web-cam abortion business Planned Parenthood is also working toward.

In combination with the news conference, Planned Parenthood issued a press release that said, in part: “Today, Planned Parenthood, in conjunction with state lawmakers, advocates, and fellow advocacy groups, unveiled a sweeping plan to push initiatives that expand access to reproductive health care [sic] in all 50 states. The push kicks off today, with the announcement that more than a dozen states this week are moving legislation that would expand access to abortion, birth control, and other reproductive health care.” The release further clarified that Planned Parenthood seeks “protections for birth control coverage, bills that expand access to abortion, and changes to make sex education more inclusive.”

For those familiar with the three-step business model upon which Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood—create customers through sex “education,” make more money from the sale of, mostly abortifacient, contraceptives, and make even more money from abortions “needed” to take care of the expected contraceptive failures—these objectives are not surprising.

 

In her talk during the press conference, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, gave four examples of the kinds of legislation Planned Parenthood considers important:

  • A bill in Missouri to repeal the 72-hour waiting period before a mother can have her child killed through abortion.
  • A bill in Maine that would force nurse practitioners to become abortionists by providing the abortion pill to mothers to kill their child.
  • A bill recently passed in California to require all campuses of California State University and the University of California to stock the abortion pill in the health centers on campus and make those instruments of death available to all students who request them.
  • A bill in New Jersey that will provide $7.5 million to Planned Parenthood to ply its grisly trade. All state money to Planned Parenthood in New Jersey had been cut off by former governor Chris Christi.

These four items are just examples of what Planned Parenthood is seeking, but they give you a good picture of what PP considers important. These are not about healthcare; they are about murder. Whether it is surgical abortion using suction, instruments, and saline; medication abortions using mifepristone and other pills; contraceptive abortions using birth control pills, shots, implants, and IUDs; or anything else that kills unique human beings from their inception, it is all murder, and Planned Parenthood is complicit in those deaths.

This new push by Planned Parenthood is a natural outcome of its political organizing efforts under Richards, but it also follows other political pressure being brought to kill more and more babies in the United States. WRAL.com reports that, “in January, more than 200 legislators from 41 states,” undoubtedly at Planned Parenthood’s urging, “formed the Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council to promote ‘a bold, unapologetic stance in favor of abortion rights.’” You can see a full list of the members of this group by clicking here.

In its press conference, Planned Parenthood said it would work alongside these state lawmakers, advocates for reproductive rights, and partners—such as the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, Latino Memphis in Tennessee, and the Michigan Progressive Women's Caucus—to push reproductive rights (i.e., abortions) policies in more than a dozen states and DC this week. The states named by Planned Parenthood as being immediate targets for its efforts include Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and West Virginia, along with the District of Columbia.

 

Of course, those who oppose Planned Parenthood have been active in many of these states for years, but what is new this year is that Planned Parenthood is putting itself out there and publicly announcing its intentions. History shows that Planned Parenthood has not been very successful when it sets these massive goals. Back in 1992, after Bill Clinton was elected president, Planned Parenthood—with 922 clinics at the time—announced it would have 2,000 clinics by the year 2000. It never reached more than 938, and today has 597.

Furthermore, who can forget Planned Parenthood’s great claim a couple of years ago that “these doors will stay open”? Yet, in every year since, it has closed two to three dozen clinics.

Now we get this proclamation of political might and self-interest. Laguens concluded her address to the press last week with a statement that makes one wonder if the organization ever lets facts get in the way of PP’s self-serving agenda. Laguens said: “And just to remind people, health care is the means by which we deliver on our big idea, but the big idea behind Planned Parenthood for more than 100 years is that your body is your own and unless you can control your own body, you cannot be free and you cannot be equal.”

Of course, if anyone really believed this dribble, we would negate all laws against drunk driving, heroin, cocaine, and other drugs. After all, according to Planned Parenthood, people who do these things are just controlling their own bodies in the way they want.

But we don’t even have to push that analogy. The scientific, biological fact is that a preborn baby is not part of his mother’s body. Why is it that children, like those involved in our Culture of Life Studies Program, know instinctively that a preborn child is a separate, unique human being, while Planned Parenthood executives, who are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, cannot wrap their minds around that simple fact?

Reprinted with permission from American Life League.

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Wesley J. Smith

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No matter what advocates say, assisted suicide is an all-or-nothing proposition

Wesley J. Smith
By Wesley Smith

March 5, 2018 (National Review Online) – The U.S. assisted-suicide movement pretends to want a limited legalization of assisted suicide to competent adults with a terminal illness.

That's not true. It's just the expedient to persuade us to accept the premise that suicide or killing is an acceptable solution to human suffering.

If we ever do that – the jury is still out – then, the killing license thereby granted will not only expand way beyond the terminally ill, but will eventually also include children and the incompetent.

The evidence of this isn't hard to find. Case in point. Pediatrics asked Dutch and American bioethicists whether they would support repealing all age limits for euthanasia in the Netherlands – as the Belgians already have. (Currently, euthanasia in the Netherlands is legal starting at age 12.)

If American advocates were serious about their espoused limits, they would be appalled by the existing Dutch law, and even more so by the Pediatrics hypothetical proposal.

But at least one prominent U.S. proponent – Margaret P. Battin, a favored source on the issue for the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets – is enthusiastically in favor of the Dutch doing away with all euthanasia age limits. From her comment:

I generally support [the] change in Dutch law governing eligibility for euthanasia.‍ Given that euthanasia is currently legal for infants <1 year of age and children and adults >12 years of age, I believe that opponents would have to show evidence that at least 1 and perhaps many of the following propositions are true if they are to persuade you [a hypothetical Dutch health minister] not to support the change in the law:

Battin lists several propositions, including:

That parents aren't harmed by seeing their children suffer.

In other words, children should be put out of the parents' misery:

That pediatricians can't understand the difference between killing a healthy, curable child and hastening a bad death that is already in progress.

Except that Dutch law does not require a terminal illness to be killed. Indeed, the infanticide-allowing Groningen Protocol – it isn't technically legal, but is virtually never punished – specifically does not require that the killed baby be otherwise dying. In fact, under the Protocol, serious disabilities justify infanticide.

That allowing this practice would lead to wholesale killing of children from 1 to 12 years of age.

In other words, killing would only be wrong if it amounted to a pogrom against seriously ill or disabled children. Good grief.

That it is always wrong to end a life.‍ (Proponents of this view would need to address situations such as killing in war, killing in self-defense, killing in defense of others, and [more controversially] capital punishment; they would also need to oppose current laws in the Netherlands that allow euthanasia for children <1 year of age and adults >18 years of age.

So, since babies and children age 12 and up can be killed, the Dutch should go all-in. Or to put it another way, once a society starts down Euthanasia Road, there is no stopping.

Battin's radical proposals aren't usually made by U.S. assisted-suicide proponents because they know that our society has not completely swallowed the hemlock (as has the Netherlands). If we ever do, we will go exactly to the dark place that country has gone over the last few decades – just as Battin advocates.

It's a very big deal that a respected medical journal such as Pediatrics hosted a debate on the ethical propriety of child euthanasia. It means that among the medical intelligentsia, child euthanasia has become a respectable proposition.

For those with eyes to see, let them see.

Published with permission from National Review Online.

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Ryan T. Anderson

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Looking for ‘anti-trans bigotry’ in all the wrong places

Ryan T. Anderson
By Ryan Anderson

March 5, 2018 (The Daily Signal) – Anti-trans bigotry exists. It's wrong, and we should all condemn it. I condemn it in my new book "When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment."

But we lose the ability to effectively call out bigotry when all disagreement is condemned as bigoted – and when lies are told in the process.

That's what happened earlier this week in a New York Times op-ed. Jennifer Finney Boylan, a contributing opinion writer for the Times, and a professor of English at Barnard College of Columbia University, told several bald-faced lies about my work. I'm surprised the editors published it.

For the record, Boylan never contacted me regarding my research or my book. Nor did the Times contact me to verify any of the claims made about me in the column.

Boylan claims I wrote "a book that suggests that transgender people are crazy, and that what we [people who identify as transgender] deserve at every turn is scorn, contempt, and belittlement."

Good luck finding a single line from my book to back up either claim. I wrote nothing of the sort. On the contrary, at several points in the book I admonish my fellow social conservatives not to treat people who identify as transgender with "scorn, contempt and belittlement."

TELL DISNEY: Don’t make Elsa a lesbian in Frozen 2! Sign the petition here.

Indeed, the introduction to the book notes that:

Chapter 3 presents the stories of several people who found that transitioning didn't bring the peace and wholeness they sought, but only new problems. The stories of detransitioners complicate the sunny picture frequently presented in the media. Many of these people recall a feeling of being pushed into transitioning, as if there were no other options, and they wish that medical professionals had made an effort to help them understand the deeper psychological issues that alienated them from their own bodies. Many regret the permanent damage done to their bodies, and some who transitioned as teenagers believe they were not mature enough to make such consequential decisions. Some feel that their dysphoria resulted from social hostility to people who don't conform to gender norms or who have same-sex attractions.

The very next sentence reads: "In this light, social conservatives (including myself) should take care to be respectful and compassionate toward people we may disagree with."

I repeat the point in Chapter 3 itself, writing: "This charge should prompt social conservatives (like myself) to be careful not to attack or marginalize people as we advocate for the truth."

The admonition appears once again in the conclusion: "First and foremost, as we advocate for the truth, we must be careful not to stigmatize those who are suffering."

And the book practices what it preaches. That's also why the Times op-ed was unable to produce even a snippet from the book to back its baseless claim that I urge treating people who identify as trans with "scorn, contempt and belittlement."

Then there's Boylan's assertion that I "suggest that transgender people are crazy." Nowhere do I make any such suggestion.

Throughout the book, I point out that the feelings that people who identify as transgender report are real – they really feel a disconnect with their bodily sex – but I also acknowledge the fact that those feelings don't change bodily reality. I recognize the real distress that gender dysphoria can cause, but never do I call people experiencing it crazy.

I repeatedly acknowledge that gender dysphoria is a serious condition, that people who experience a gender identity conflict should be treated with respect and civility, that we need to find better responses to people struggling with their gender identities.

Anyone who has read my book would know all of this. Sadly, it appears that Boylan did not. The hit piece contains no discussion of what I actually wrote, no quotation of my words, not even the briefest summary of a single claim I actually make. Instead, it links to a "review" of the book by Zack Ford, a gay rights activist at ThinkProgress.

Ford immediately jumped to Boylan's defense on Twitter, writing: "You call them mentally ill." I replied: "Simple. Please quote the passage where I 'call them mentally ill.' You can't quote that passage because it doesn't exist."

Indeed, Ford was unable to quote any passage.

This isn't the first time that a mainstream media outlet fell for Ford's misreporting. Before the book was released, The Washington Post wrote an embarrassingly bad story about it, chock full of factual errors. By the end of the day the Post had entirely rewritten the first half of the piece, but never even acknowledged its errors.

Americans disagree about gender identity and the best approaches to treating gender dysphoria. Boylan claims my book is "abundant in junk science," but couldn't point to anything in particular that I got wrong.

As I explain in "When Harry Became Sally," contrary to the claims of activists, sex isn't "assigned" at birth – and that's why it can't be "reassigned." Sex is a bodily reality that can be recognized well before birth with ultrasound imaging. Cosmetic surgery and cross-sex hormones don't change the deeper biological reality.

People who undergo sex-reassignment procedures do not become the opposite sex – they merely masculinize or feminize their outward appearance.

The medical evidence suggests that sex reassignment does not adequately address the psychosocial difficulties faced by people who identify as transgender. Even when the procedures are successful technically and cosmetically, and even in cultures that are relatively "trans-friendly," transitioners still face poor outcomes.

In truth, very little is understood about the causes of discordant gender identities, and yet we are now promoting radical, experimental therapies for children. Starting a child on an experimental process of "social transitioning" followed by puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones was unthinkable not long ago. It should still be today.

A more cautious therapeutic approach begins by acknowledging that 80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria will grow out of it naturally. Many experts think of gender dysphoria as being much like other kinds of dysphoria, or serious discomfort with one's body, such as anorexia.

The most helpful therapies do not try to remake the body to conform with thoughts and feelings – which is impossible – but rather to help people move toward accepting the reality of their bodily selves.

Children are especially vulnerable. We need to respect the dignity of people who identify as transgender, while also doing everything possible to protect young people and foster their healthy development. That will require a better conversation about these issues, and that's why I wrote my book.

How sad that The New York Times, The Washington Post, and ThinkProgress refuse to participate in that conversation.

Published with permission from The Daily Signal.

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LGBT activists are labeling the Oscars a huge victory, but most Americans aren’t watching

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By Doug Mainwaring
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'Call Me By Your Name' screenshot 'Call Me By Your Name' screenshot
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HOLLYWOOD, California, March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – After months of endless, unsurprising news about sexual predation, pedophilia, and perfidy in Hollywood, the American public has lost interest in the self-congratulatory Academy Awards telecast.  

The number of Oscar Awards viewers plummeted precipitously, dropping a whopping 16 percent from last year.

While the American public is disinterested in actors moralizing acceptance speeches – and industry execs are troubled, if not panicked, over declining numbers – one group couldn’t be happier.

The gay/transgender world is giddy because it perceives some of the awards handed out last night to be victories for the homosexual and transgender causes.

“On Sunday evening, ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel dropped an absolute stinker of a performance – bland, flat, and politically correct,” wrote Ben Shapiro at The Wire.  “But he did drop one joke that landed: a joke targeting Vice President Mike Pence, but accidentally exposing Hollywood for what it is. Noting that many of the nominated films were seen by virtually no one, Kimmel stated, ‘That’s not the point. We don’t make films like Call Me By Your Name for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.’”  

“Kimmel told the truth, which is why his joke landed,” explains Shapiro.  “Hollywood does greenlight films so that its creators can brag to each other at cocktail parties about how much they ticked off Mike Pence. The dirty little secret is that the more they tick off Mike Pence, the fewer Americans overall bother watching the messages they’re so eager to dispense.”

Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name, while promoted as a beautiful gay love story, is actually better understood as a promotion for pedophilia, as a relationship between a teenaged boy and 24 year old man turns sexual.  

While Call Me by Your Name lost its Best Movie bid, gay writer James Ivory won Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on the film.  

During his acceptance speech, Ivory said “whether gay, straight, or somewhere in between,” the experience of first love is universal.  

Perhaps the most problematic component of this movie is that the seventeen-year-old’s father expresses his approval for his son’s sexual relationship with an older man.  He laments with regret having forgone similar opportunities when he was his son’s age.

This is meant to establish a new baseline of normalcy for parents, nudging them to second guess their natural protective instincts to save their kids from men who would happily invade and end their sons’ and daughters’ innocence.

Judging by the dearth of ticket sales, American parents aren’t buying the pro-pederast message the movie is selling.   

Coco

Coco, a cartoon movie produced by Disney’s Pixar, won the award for Best Animated Feature.

Accepting the award were “out” producer Darla K. Anderson and “out” co-director Adrian Molina.   Molina thanked “my family, my Latino community, to my husband Ryan,” according to the GLAAD report.

Similarly, Anderson said, “Coco is proof that art can change and connect the world and this can only be done when we have a place for everyone and anyone who feels like an ‘other’ to be heard. This is dedicated with enormous love to my gigantic, interwoven family and most especially, my wife, my rock Kori Rae.”

A Fantastic Woman

A headline at the gay media outlet The Advocate screamed, “A Fantastic Woman Makes Trans History at Oscars.”  The movie won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

The transgender world sees this a double victory:  “The production is the first film with a main transgender storyline, and starring an out transgender actress, to win at the Academy Awards,” according to The Advocate report.

The Shape of Water

Best Picture was awarded to The Shape of Water, which was lauded by GLAAD for featuring Richard Jenkins as gay character.

This science-fiction fairy tale is a “love story” between a mute woman and an amphibious fish creature, who, old movie buffs will notice, looks almost exactly like the creature from the Black Lagoon, except with a more approachable personality.

Hollywood’s ‘Perfect Man’

Host Jimmy Kimmel suggested that The Shape of Water marks “the year men screwed up so badly, women starting dating fish.”

During the awards ceremony, host Jimmy Kimmel pointed to a big Oscar statuette on the stage and said he was “Hollywood’s perfect man.”

Kimmel said, “[he] keeps his hands where you can see them, never says a rude word, and, most importantly, no penis at all. He is literally a statue of limitations.”

Going a step further than celebrating the Oscar eunuch as “Hollywood’s perfect man,” the industry insider publication, The Hollywood Reporter (THR) took it a step further and pondered “what if the iconic statuette were a woman?”  

In a short video, THR showed what happened when it “commissioned A-list artists, sculptors and designers to reinterpret the coveted gold statuette for the #MeToo era.”

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Cardinal Müller: Magisterium is not supposed to lead faithful ‘into confusion’

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By LSN

March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Formulating pastoral practices based on “individual cases” is a “rhetorical trick” that undermines the unity of the faith, said Cardinal Gerhard Müller in an interview published last week in German and translated into English by LifeSiteNews. 

“That is why papal and episcopal statements on the reception of the Sacraments have to be prepared in such a clear manner that they serve the salvation of the people. Christ did not institute the Magisterium in order to initiate processes which lead into confusion,” he said. 

Cardinal Müller made the comments to Die Tagespost last week.

He was reacting primarily to the German bishops’ decision to open Communion to the Protestant spouses of Catholics in some cases. LifeSiteNews reported only excerpts from the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s interview to the German journalist Regina Einig. His comments may also have been directed, in part, toward Pope Francis' exhortation Amoris Laetitia which, due to ambiguity, has been interpreted by many bishops and cardinals as allowing habitual adulterers to receive Communion, contrary to previous Church teaching.  

Müller said that the Eucharist cannot simply be given to anyone, just because they want it. 

“Neither the pope nor we bishops may re-define the Sacraments as a means to soothe psychological pains and fulfill personal spiritual needs,” he said when asked about a Protestant married to a Catholic receiving the sacrament. 

When asked about Pope Francis’ apparent openness through vague statements and gestures to have non-Catholic Christians receiving Holy Communion, the Cardinal said they have “no magisterial weight.”

“The task of the pope, together with the Congregation for the Faith, is to preserve the unity of the Church in the revealed truth. It is legitimate to have a pluralism in theology, but a pluralism in the Faith is wrong. Because there is only one Faith and one Church,” he said.

“The pope might think, according to his own feeling, that his task is not to pronounce interdicts and that he, rather, should find formulations which appeal to those outside of the Church. This pastoral impetus is good. [But] the mission and task of the pope is also to convince people of the Faith and to lead them into the depth of the Gospel according to the mandate of Jesus that Peter shall confirm his brethren, always and everywhere, in that exact revealed Faith (Luke 22,32),” he added.

In this same interview, Cardinal Müller not only opposed the German bishops’ decision to open Communion to the Protestant spouses of Catholics but also the suggestion raised by German bishops to offer a blessing for homosexual couples.

LifeSiteNews is pleased to provide a translation of the entire interview.

***

Translated by Maike Hickson with permission from Regina Einig.

Question: Your Eminence, the German bishops want to admit mixed marriages in individual cases to Holy Communion; the non-Catholic spouse may make here his own decision of conscience. Is this a form of ecumencial progress?

There would be only ecumenical progress if we came closer to the great goal of the unity of Christians in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The precondition for this, however, would be the recognition of the sacramentality of the Church and of the fact that we have no power of disposal over the Sacraments. Here, one would first have to clarify whether bishops' conferences do not step over their own area of authority in individual cases. They have no power to make decisions in questions of Faith in a manner that the result, as a practical consequence, would contradict the Faith. That is why St. Paul, in Antioch, stood up openly to St. Peter, because the latter “was to be blamed” for  ambiguous conduct which darkened the “truth of the Gospel” (Gal. 2: 11, 14).

Question: But some are hoping that this new step would foster a rapprochement of the confessions. What is there to be objected?

One may not separate pastoral practice from the Church's doctrine. If we depart from the revealed Faith [supposedly] for the sake of the salvation of souls, it would mean to correct God who in our eyes would then not be at all capable of foreseeing in His Commandments all the possible concrete individual cases. That would be madness, in whose abyss the Church then would sink. We cannot do so as if one could accomplish the full community of the Church – which is represented in the Eucharist – without “considering our teachings to be true,” as Justin the Martyr already said in his First Apology (art. 66, written around 150 B.C. in Rome). If, according to Vatican II's Constitution on the Liturgy (SC 10; 47), the Eucharist is the “source and climax” of the liturgical life of the Church, how could one then claim that the question as to whether someone may fully partake in it does not touch the question of Faith? The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, and the Eucharist the Sacramental Body of Christ, which one may only receive if one belongs fully and without obstacle to that same one visible Church, according to one's profession and to one's state of Grace. This connection can only get lost where this bond between the Church and the Sacraments is not as highly valued as in the Catholic Faith – as well as in the Orthodox faith – or where there is dominant a [dubious] view according to which one may save oneself individually. 

Question: But the Church knows exceptions?

But here it is not about the fulfillment of spiritual needs or about an attentiveness toward social pressures. If a Protestant Christian finds himself in an emergency situation, in which his salvation is at stake – that is to say, if he is in danger of death – and where he cannot reach his own clergyman and he, as an individual, can agree in that moment with the Catholic Faith in the Eucharist and in the sacramental essence of the Catholic Church, such a person may, for the sake of his salvation, receive the Sacraments: first Penance, then Holy Communion. But the marriage with a Catholic partner, the family ties, or a good friendship with non-Catholic Christians do not fulfill the preconditions for such an emergency situation where it is about eternal salvation. He who shares the Catholic Eucharistic Faith, additionally has to reject those teachings of non-Catholic communities that are opposed to it.

Question: However, in the [episcopal] decision, there is only talk of individual cases.

The formulation “individual cases” is a rhetorical trick. Most of the faithful are no theologians who have an overview over this topic. That is why papal and episcopal statements on the reception of the Sacraments have to be prepared in such a clear manner that they serve the salvation of the people. Christ did not institute the Magisterium in order to initiate processes which lead into confusion. The Holy Ghost, by the way, is not the stopgap for deficient knowledge of, and theological reflection on, the Catholic doctrine. The institution of the Church by the historic Christ must not be played against the living presence of the elevated Lord in the Holy Ghost. The Magisterium was transmitted to the shepherds in order to exercise power over others, but only in order to pass on to all of the faithful Christ's teaching that has been entrusted to them – and not at all in order to please members of one's own ideological group. Bishops and priests are not the cause of Grace, but merely administer the Sacraments of Grace, as Catholic Tradition distinguishes it in a meticulous manner.

Question: The [German] bishops refer to Code of Canon Law 844, § 4 CIC and the “grave spiritual need” upon which a Protestant spouse may rely. How do you assess this interpretation of the law?

It is not right to apply can.  844, § 4 CIC in this fundamental manner to mixed marriages. Mixed marriages are not an emergency situation. Through it, the salvation of the spouses is not endangered. On the contrary, it is a great challenge which can definitely be dealt with together in the Faith. Neither the pope nor we bishops may re-define the Sacraments as a means to soothe psychological pains and fulfill personal spiritual needs. They are effective signs of the God's Grace. We respect the good will and the religious conviction of our fellow Christians from other denominations, but we also expect that our Faith is respected as an expression of our conviction, and that it is not demeaned as a product of stubbornness or of a “conservative” world view.

Question: What is the essential matter in light of the Catholic understanding, and especially in this context?

For the Catholic understanding, the connection between Church and Sacrament is decisive. The Church is not an institution which offers religious rites – and under certain conditions also to non-members – but the Church lives out her being and her life in the Sacraments. For the Protestants, however, the Sacraments merely serve as a confirmation of a faith which alone has already justified the sinner. We do not share this view; we respectively say more about the Sacraments. We believe in the objective efficacy of the Sacraments.

Question: The reformed evangelical theologian, Ulrich Körtner (University of Vienna [Austria]), speaks in this context about “botch-up.”  According to him, the [German] bishops are giving their consent [“sanctus”] to the practice, while the Catholic spouse still is not admitted to Protestant communion. How do you assess Körtner's thesis that a sound theology would look differently?

Körtner speaks in view of a mutual admittance which, however, would only be justified if the Protestant last supper and the Catholic Eucharist would be identical and the relations between Church-justification-Sacrament would be the identical in the Catholic Church as in the different communities with a Protestant background. I have heard that Catholic theologians are critical about the quality of the first draft [as written by the German bishops] with regard to its Biblical foundation and its correspondence with the authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church, but, so far, the definitive handout is not yet available. If one, however, deals with principles in too loose of a fashion, one may not be astonished when other undesired conclusions are being drawn from it.

Question: Which ones, for example?

The Catholic Faith is in effect being relativized. Progress in the field of ecumenism is desirable and necessary. But from the Catholic point of view, this progress may not go into the direction of a protestantization of the Catholic Church, which would mean a reverse “ecumenism of return.” Let us only imagine a Protestant youth who has a close bond with a Catholic friend and asks for the Sacraments of Confirmation, but, at the same time, wishes to remain a Protestant. Or what about a good, practicing Catholic who legally leaves the Catholic Church as a public corporation [in Germany, one registers with the state one's membership with the Church] out of disdain over her increasing politicization – as he conceives it – for what reason could one deny him, of all people, Holy Communion?

Question: But the proponents of the new rule refer to some vague statements of the pope at the Lutheran church in Rome. 

 But these statements and gestures are cutting no ice in this context. They have no magisterial weight. Many speak currently about a crisis in the Roman Magisterium, which allows contradictory dogmatic statements issued by bishops' conferences instead of forbidding them, as would be the duty of the Congregation for the Faith. No ecclesial teaching authority can give to the bishops' conferences – which only exist due to a Church law – a teaching competence which they do not have and which they cannot have. The task of the pope, together with the Congregation for the Faith, is to preserve the unity of the Church in the revealed truth. It is legitimate to have a pluralism in theology, but a pluralism in the Faith is wrong. Because there is only one Faith and one Church. The pope might think, according to his own feeling, that his task is not to pronounce interdicts and that he, rather, should find formulations which appeal to those outside of the Church. This pastoral impetus is good. [But] the mission and task of the pope is also to convince people of the Faith and to lead them into the depth of the Gospel according to the mandate of Jesus that Peter shall confirm his brethren, always and everywhere, in that exact revealed Faith (Luke 22,32).

Question: How does the path of ecumenism look in your view?

Of course we do not any more live in the age of confessional controversies, but each is still called to understand ever more deeply the faith of one's community. That is, in my view, the path of ecumenism: to approach one another in an honest manner and to overcome misunderstandings. We Catholics do not wish to give up the sacramentality of the Church. That would be the greatest betrayal of our profession of Faith. What is gained for the unity of the Church if one creates within one's own ranks strife, and strikes wounds? Many have invoked collegiality and have kept talking and talking about synodality as the common path. What hinders us to practice them in these much-praised individual cases?

Question: The notion of an ecumenism of return has today a bad reputation. But when a Protestant Christian, who is married to a Catholic, shares that Catholic Faith – what speaks against conversion?

For every good pastor, there are margins of discretion – depending upon the question as to which family tradition the Protestant spouse stems from, and which considerations he has to keep in mind. But in the normal case it would be a consequent step because there exists only the one truth. It cannot be God's will that there are several religious denominations existing next to one another whose doctrines are contradicting each other. We might live now in a so-called post-confessional age. That is a social-psychological analysis or an analysis pertaining to the history of ideas. But the Catholic Church has never been a denomination such as Protestants have formed in their own communities according to Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and others. She sees herself, in her Creed which binds each Catholic in his conscience, as the one Church founded by Christ Himself and as led by the pope in community with the bishops (Lumen gentium 8). Everybody is entitled to contest this claim. But then he is not Catholic.

Question: The “decision of conscience in individual cases” is, according to some theologians, to prepare the way also for the blessing of homosexual couples. How do you assess this?

Behind the endlessly “opened doors,” there does not necessarily stand a solid house – it could also be a fake. There will only come fresh air through the windows, if it exists outside. Instead of repeating mantra-like these old images, one should formulate things in a theologically correct way. That is the best contribution for good pastoral care and for ecumenism. The expression “decision of conscience in individual cases” is redundant [“ein weisser Schimmel”], because decisions of conscience can always only be made in individual cases. It is about my free positioning in the face of revealed truths and God's moral laws. There are no exceptions to God's laws, because they are always about the salvation of man. The circumstances, however, can enlarge or mitigate the size of my guilt. Here, God alone is the judge over each man. Much less can I deny individual truths of the Faith on occasion, just as I cannot violate God's Commandments Who shows me in them the way to salvation and to well-being.

Question: What speaks against the blessing of homosexual unions?

To bless means to approve something according to the meaning which God has laid into the institutions of His creation, and first and foremost into the persons themselves. Nobody condemns as a person somebody with homosexual inclinations. That would be a sacrilegious presumption to question the essential goodness of the existence of a person created by God. By the way, there are no homosexuals as a distinct class of people. That would be the worst form of discrimination. Because God created man according to his image and likeness, and He created them as man and woman. But when homosexual acts contradict God's Will, then nobody may ask for God's blessing for them. Pastoral care looks different and serves the peace of the soul only if it remains founded in truth. A true pastoral care which is about the people – and not about one's own reputation in the published opinion –  helps those concerned to find their way to salvation in spite of all the difficulties, and to rejoice about their lives as a gift from God and thus also to recognize one's own call to eternal life.

Question: But it is said that such relationships also have some positive elements and values. Are you convinced by this argument?

Yes of course, there are positive elements in nearly all relationships. But that does not justify acts against God's Commandments. If siblings loyally take care of one another, they have no legitimacy that they take advantage of one another in individual cases with regard to their inheritance. Love and truth always belong together, they are inseparable. All of God's Commandments are valid for everybody to whom God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ as truth and life. “If we keep His Commandments, we recognize that we know Him. Whoever says 'I know Him,' but does not keep His Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:3sq.)

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A young Pierre Trudeau meets Fidel Castro.
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Justin Trudeau hangs out with terrorists and dictators, but demonizes pro-lifers

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By Jonathon van Maren

March 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Last fall, I wrote in the space that Canada’s progressive politicians have one tactic that they consistently fall back on in order to distract from their screw-ups and failing policies: They attempt to demonize Canada’s Christians (and by extension, any religious Canadian who holds social conservative views.) 

This was on full display again when the Conservative Party put forward a motion in Parliament that stated that organizations engaging in much-necessary charitable and community work could receive government funding through the Canada Summer Jobs Program, regardless of whether or not that organizations signed the attestation the Liberals inserted into the requirements, which demanded that the organization indicate support for abortion and gender ideology, among other things.

The Liberals, who have been desperate to blunt the backlash from this decision from religious Canadians of every background, responded by accusing the Conservatives of having associations with pro-life Canadians (myself among them, incidentally.) As my friend JJ McCullough noted, the entire charade revealed that the Liberals believe that to accuse someone of being pro-life or social conservative—a category that includes millions of Canadians—is a slur in and of itself. 

Tell Justin Trudeau to stop banning funding to pro-life groups.Sign the petition here!

For politicians to represent those Canadians, articulate their interests, or dare to say that they deserve a voice in the public square is to incur the immediate faux-outrage of the Liberals, who have decided that demonizing some Canadians in order to distract from their conveyer-belt of recent cock-ups is a good strategy.

But as I was watching the parliamentary debate, I couldn’t help but note that it is slightly hard to believe who the Liberals believe to be beyond the pale and who is not. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself, after all, just managed to torch Canada’s relationship with India because he refused to take responsibility for the fact that a convicted terrorist (who actually shot an Indian cabinet minister twice in an attempt to assassinate him) got invited to dinner with him in India, and was photographed with his wife. Despite Justin’s stuttering denials, this would-be assassin insists that he and Trudeau are on quite friendly terms, and a series of photographs proving that cropped up in quick succession.

And then, of course, there is his infamous fanboying of the late Fidel Castro, the Communist dictator of Cuba, a man who received a fond eulogy from Trudeau when he finally died two years ago. Fidel Castro, despite the fact that he looked like a harmless old man when he was hugging Justin at his father’s funeral and looked rather rakish when he hung out with Trudeau’s parents back in the day, is responsible for murdering (and these are conservative estimates) between 30,000 and 40,000 people, who were either executed by firing squad or perished at the hands of their communist jailers. That’s not even to mention the tens of thousands of people—the exact number is unknown—who died by drowning while attempting to escape Castro’s Cuba. 

Strange, is it not? Trudeau doesn’t mind hanging out with someone who actually fired bullets into a visiting politician—at least until the media discovered the relationship. And he has nothing but warm words to say about a man who murdered tens of thousands of people. But Canadian social conservatives—from Syrian refugees who hold traditionalist views about life and marriage to prairie farming couples to the tireless volunteers in crisis pregnancy centres helping women get the help they need—that goes too far. Those people, because they do not agree with Justin on our current abortion regime, which permits feticide throughout all nine months of pregnancy, are beyond the pale. 

Think about that for a moment. Trudeau’s Liberals can pal around wit and praise all sorts of unsavory characters, including a man responsible for murder and cruelty on a mass scale. And then, they can turn around and call the Conservatives ‘extremist’ simply because those Conservatives believe all Canadians to be worthy of a political voice, and because they recognize that valuing human life in every form does not disqualify someone from participation in Canadian democracy. 

Those Canadians who do hold social conservative values, from religious backgrounds of every stripe (and some from no religious background at all) must realize something about Justin Trudeau and his people: They hold us in utter contempt. They find us less palatable than a man who murdered thousands of people. They think that it is a slur to accuse someone of associating with us.

So let’s respond to them the only way they understand: By undermining them politically through spotlighting their hypocrisy.  

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