All articles from March 12, 2018


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Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia
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Vatican Academy for Life president sides with judge in Alfie Evans case

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, March 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The head of the Pontifical Academy for Life appears to be siding with a British judge who has ordered 22 month-old Alfie Evans to be denied life support against his parents’ will.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia said in an interview on Friday that Judge Anthony Hayden’s decision to remove the ventilator from Alfie is an interruption of “overzealous treatment” for the child. He said the judge’s sentence is therefore not at odds with the teaching of the Catholic Church and of Pope Francis.

But some members of the Pontifical Academy for Life are not in agreement with Archbishop Paglia’s position and argue that little Alfie’s ventilator is not “overzealous treatment” but essential life support that cannot legitimately be discontinued.

The Ruling

In a February 20 decision, Judge Anthony Hayden of the London High Court authorized doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, where Alfie Evans is hospitalized, to remove the life support that keeps him alive. 

Little Alfie suffers from a serious neurodegenerative disease whose precise cause is unknown, and for which currently there is no known medical treatment.

Judge Hayden justified his decision to remove Alfie’s ventilator, in part by citing a message Pope Francis delivered on Nov. 7, 2017 at a Vatican meeting hosted by the Pontifical Academy for Life (That same message was successfully manipulated in Italy last year by those pushing for “living wills” which many regard as euthanasia through the back door).

Quoting a select passage from the Pope’s message, Justice Hayden argued that one can reasonably make a “decision that is morally qualified as withdrawal of ‘overzealous treatment’.” 

However, in the Pope’s message, the rejection of “overzealous treatment” does not mean depriving the patient of what is indispensable for him to continue living (i.e. life support) — ventilation, hydration and nutrition — but only futile therapeutic measures that cause suffering with no benefit. 

In fact, nowhere in the passage of the Pope’s message quoted by Justice Hayden, nor anywhere in the previous magisterium is it mentioned that continuing to provide the incurably sick person with life support (air, nutrition, water) is “overzealous treatment.”

On the contrary, according to a statement issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2007, regarding patients in a vegetative state, it is obligatory to continue essential life support as long as it is achieving its end. To discontinue it would be a form of euthanasia, even if the incurably sick person’s death is unavoidable over time. 

As stated in the judge’s decision, the physicians who examined Alfie determined that the 22 month-old is in a “semi-vegetative state,” meaning that he more than qualifies for the cases that the CDF document addresses. 

Furthermore, the British judge failed to mention a portion of Pope Francis’ message in which he said we “must always care for the living, without ourselves shortening their life.” The Pope also said it is a “categorical imperative” to “never abandon the sick.” 

The Holy See has remained silent in response to Judge Hayden’s decision and his selective interpretation of the Pope’s words. According to Italian media reports and well-placed Vatican sources, Santa Marta and the Secretariat of State have been flooded with messages and telephone calls asking the Vatican to intervene. To date, the Holy See press office has not issued a statement.

Paglia weighs in

On March 9, the Italian website Tempi published an interview with Archbishop Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, about little Alfie, in which he argued that the judge’s decision “was not meant to shorten his life, but to suspend a situation of overzealous treatment.”

But critics say that Archbishop Paglia, in agreeing with Judge Hayden’s interpretation of Pope Francis’ words, is confusing (as did the judge) the suspension of a treatment, which in some cases is licit based on the Church’s teaching and tradition, with the removal of essential life support, which is never licit. 

A Vatican source with knowledge of the issue told LifeSiteNews that Paglia seems to be playing with the word “treatment,” for example when he says: “If killing were at stake, we could only be opposed to it.... But here, the issue is about a possible suspension of treatments.”

What “treatments?,” the source asked. What the Liverpool doctors and Judge Hayden want to suspend, he pointed out, are not futile treatments. Ventilation, hydration, and nutrition, he stressed, are life support, not therapy.

Yet a ventilator is not always considered ordinary and proportionate care and could be discontinued, a moral theologian in Rome clarified.

“When it is no longer medically beneficial, it is morally acceptable to stop the treatment; this includes giving food or water. A ventilator is not always a reasonable treatment when a person cannot breathe on his own and has no hope of recovery. So long as a person can metabolize food and water, these should be provided. But if a person cannot metabolize food and water, they should no longer be provided, nor is a ventilator morally necessary in that case,” he said.

If there is no hope of recovery for little Alfie, he added, the right thing to do would be to let the parents make the decision as to when to remove the ventilator. But as long as Alfie continues to metabolize food, that should be given to him.

Interestingly, the ethical reference points Archbishop Paglia used in making his argument can be found in liberal ethical positions on end-of-life questions found in the Italian Jesuit journal “Aggiornamenti Sociali” [Social Updates]. Its working group is headed by Jesuit Father Carlo Casalone, and Italian moral theologian Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, both new members of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Fr. Chiodi is the newly appointed Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) member who argued that responsible parenthood can require married couples to use contraception in some cases.

In the interview, Paglia also referred to the Board of the Italian Association of Catholic lawyers, an association whose president Francesco D’Agostino is also a PAV member. D’Agostino in the past has supported the possibility of suspending life support in some circumstances for the incurably ill. He has characterized the case of Charlie Gard as a similar rejection of an overzealous treatment. 

Sgreccia differs with Paglia

In contrast to Paglia’s position, former Academy for Life President Cardinal Elio Sgreccia endorsed an article by Fr. Roberto Colombo, a member of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the Catholic University in Rome, who explained that the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital (Vatican City) offered to welcome little Alfie and provide him with full palliative care as long as he continued to live.

The proposal was noted in Judge Hayden’s decision, Fr. Colombo pointed out. The doctors of the Bambino Gesù Hospital had no intention of removing either mechanical ventilation or hydration and nutrition. As they themselves are reported in the judge’s decision to have said: “It is therefore possible that a prolonged ventilator support, with surgical tracheostomy should be performed. Feeding and hydration have been artificially provided through a nasogastric tube for several months, a clear indication for a gastrostomy is evident. Renal and liver functions seemed normal.”

However, Judge Hayden did not agree to little Alfie being transferred to the Bambino Gesù Hospital at the Vatican, nor to his transfer to a German medical center that offered him the same palliative care. 

The fact that the doctors of the Bambino Gesú Hospital determined that providing a ventilator for little Alfie was both possible and reasonable life support, and offered to welcome him, may demonstrate that the judge’s order is intended to end little Alfie’s life.  

Fr. Colombo ended by stating: “If a ruling intends to justify a further step towards the ‘throw away culture and culture of death’ it ought not to do so by manipulating the Pope’s words, whose meaning, in the context of the Church’s Magisterium, moves in the opposite direction, that is, to the ‘culture of welcome and of life’ — of every human life whose origin is from God, and from Him alone is brought to the end of its earthly existence.” 

No response from Paglia

In comments to LifeSite, Fr. Colombo reiterated that “mechanical ventilation should not be considered as a therapy for Alfie, but rather a form of life support, as are enteral hydration and nutrition.” 

“This is consistent with the statement of the physicians from the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital who visited Alfie in Liverpool — that a tracheostomy and gastrostomy are the recommended and appropriate palliative care for Alfie,” he added.

“Using this support cannot be ‘therapeutic obstinacy,’ because there is no therapy to be considered or discussed for his disease. Ventilation is provided to take care of him (his life) until his death occurs, soon or later, as a consequence of his disease.”

LifeSiteNews also contacted Archbishop Paglia’s office and received no response. But it seems that not all of his colleagues are in agreement with him. 

The Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life today tweeted an article by the Italian pro-life organization ProVita, titled: “Taking care of Alfie is not overzealous treatment.”

Little Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, are asking that the ruling be overturned.

 

RELATED:

Judge cites Pope Francis to justify ending baby’s life against parents’ wishes

Appeals court: Hospital can yank baby Alfie Evans’ life support against parents’ wishes

New Academy for Life member uses Amoris to say some circumstances ‘require’ contraception

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Archdiocese of Madrid
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Francis-appointed cardinal supported feminists who defaced churches with pro-abortion graffiti

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By Doug Mainwaring
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More of the graffiti left by pro-abortion feminists Archdiocese of Madrid

MADRID, Spain, March 12, 2018  (LifeSiteNews) – Last week, feminists defaced churches in the Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid with pro-abortion graffiti during a “feminist strike” as part of International Women’s Day. Before the protest, Madrid’s Cardinal Carlos Osoro expressed support for the event, going so far as to suggest that “the Virgin Mary would join the strikers.”

“The churches of Espíritu Santo and San Cristóbal were covered in pro-abortion slogans, feminist symbols and blasphemous messages,” reported the UK Catholic Herald, “causing the Archdiocese of Madrid to issue a strong condemnation of the ‘attack on the heritage of the faithful.’”  

The report continued:

“The Archdiocese of Madrid expresses its sorrow and its forceful condemnation of these acts that harm social cohesion,” they said in a statement, adding: “True equality is founded on respect for all people and their beliefs”.

The graffiti on the side of the churches read: “Abortion yes”, “Free abortion” and “Get your rosaries out of our ovaries”.

The Cardinal’s pro-feminist words seem to have been taken to heart by at least one of the feminist graffiti perpetrators, who wrote, “The Virgin would also go.”

While Madrid’s Archbishop Osoro – appointed a Cardinal by Pope Francis in 2016 – supported the feminist strike, San Sebastian’s Bishop Ignacio Munilla simultaneously denounced it as being rooted in “gender ideology” and “adopted under the influence of the devil.”

According to a report by the UK Tablet:

Ahead of the strike a Spanish bishop used his radio show to accuse some radical feminists of being influenced by the devil. On his show Sexto Continente, broadcast by Radio Maria, the Bishop of San Sebastian Jose Ignacio Munilla said the decision to strike was taken by a wing of feminism that promotes “gender ideology.”

According to Bishop Munilla, the feminist movement divided into two different strands during the 1960s: “authentic, feminine feminism” and “destructive feminism manipulated by gender ideology.” The acceptable face of feminism for him was the “feminism of difference and complementarity”. Unacceptable was “egalitarianism feminism” which he claimed “establishes that men and women are the same and that differences are down to sociological reasons.” The activists behind the strike would belong to the second category, he said.

Bishop Munilla said that gender ideology was adopted under the influence of the devil, and in taking this path feminism had committed “harakiri,” making women themselves its main victims. This is the tendency that has – self-destructively – forced the feminist movement to defend the struggle for legal and free abortion rights as well as some “lesbian and bisexual causes”, he said.

This isn’t the first time this year that progressive forces have sought to blemish and deface Catholicism in Madrid.    

In January, a float in the city’s traditional Epiphany parade promoted the “normalization” of LGBT rights, and featured a drag queen, a stripper, and a female hip-hop artist.

“Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra [...] didn’t address the situation,” according to a report in Crux.  

 

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Jordan Peterson: students have ‘no excuse’ to pander to left-wing professors

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean
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Dr. Jordan Peterson at Queen's University YouTube

KINGSTON, Ontario, Canada, March 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — While a howling mob screamed obscenities and pounded on the windows, freedom-of-speech advocate Dr. Jordan Peterson gave hundreds of university students life-changing advice.

In an hour and forty minute presentation at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, now available on Youtube, Peterson gave a short presentation on the rise of “compelled speech in Canada” before taking students’ questions.

In a marked contrast to the screeching activists outside, the young people inside Grant Hall showed a sincere interest in what the northern nation’s most famous living public intellectual had to say. Their respect was rewarded with equally respectful and deeply insightful answers.

Peterson’s reply to the fourth question in particular pertained to students who fear that speaking their minds will ruin their career prospects.

“In terms of practicality, what are your tips and your perspective on steps that students can take to speak their minds while not sacrificing their future prospects?” asked one young man.

Peterson said that it would be “very practical” for students not to write in their essays what they think their professors want to hear.

“There’s absolutely no excuse whatsoever for doing that,” the best-selling author said. “Now, first of all, most professors, even those who have descended into a state of ideological possession… still have enough character to grade an essay that’s well-written properly. So you’re actually taking less of a risk than you would think by stating what you have to state.”

Peterson warned that pandering to professors has negative consequences on student character.

“If you start practicing when you’re in university, when the stakes are rather low, pandering to the audience ... and saying what you think will get you by, you’re going to train yourself to do that,” he said. “And what that means is that you’re going to train yourself in the falsification of your character. And your character is the only thing you have to guide you through life.”

By contrast, riches and luxuries are only “a thin defence against the harsh realities of the world,” Peterson said. The intellectual battles young people fight in university strengthen their minds and characters for the rest of their lives.

“When you go to university, you learn to say what you think as clearly as you can, and to take the slings and arrows that come along with that,” he said.

“When you’re writing, you’re thinking,” Peterson continued. “You’re laying out the arguments that you’re going to use to structure your existence in the world throughout your entire life, and if you start twist and bend those for expedient reasons, you’re going to warp your soul.”

Unconsciously echoing Thomistic virtue ethics, Peterson underscored that habit forms the character: “You become what you practice...If you automate expedient speech for the sake of short-term gain, then that’s what you’re going to produce...Well, God help you if you do that.”

Such craven self-censoring robs students of the ultimate benefits of a university education.

“There is nothing that you will possibly do in your entire life that will serve you better than to get control of your voice in university,” Peterson said. “Obviously you do that by reading...great people. You do that by writing what you think. You stay true to yourself while you write what you think.”

“You take the risks and you gain the benefits that go along with that. You learn to stand up and speak and to listen carefully,” he continued. “That makes you a negotiator of unparalleled power. And if you’re a negotiator of unparalleled power, there’s nothing in the world that won’t open itself up to you. So that’s what you’re doing in university.”

A ‘Sacred Obligation’

If students face the few professors who reject their free thought, then it’s the students’ “sacred obligation” to stand up for themselves.

“It’s going to happen to you throughout your whole life, and you might as well start practicing how to do it right now,” he said.

Peterson also encouraged students not to adopt the terminology of those determined to play the “identity politics game.”

By accepting the use of words like “gender” in place of “sex,” which Peterson said he himself was tempted to do, conservatives get dragged into identity politics. The clinical psychologist understands the inner compulsion to use politically correct language to be “nice,” but he said he also knows where identity politics leads.

“It leads to the gulag, it leads to the concentration camps, it leads to blood in the streets. We don’t need that here,” he said.

Although no blood was spilled on the streets of Kingston as a result of Peterson’s talk, an activist left blood on the lecture hall window she broke while the professor was speaking. The 38-year-old woman was arrested and taken into custody after fleeing the scene. Police say that they found a weapon in her backpack. She is not a Queen’s University student.

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Fr. James Martin in a March 7, 2018 America Magazine Youtube video titled ‘Spiritual Insights for LGBT Catholics.’ America Magazine / Youtube
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Archbishop warns diocese about event featuring pro-LGBT Vatican advisor Fr. James Martin

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By Doug Mainwaring
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Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr Archdiocese of Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, Ohio, March 12, 2018  (LifeSiteNews) – Ohio Archbishop Dennis Schnurr has issued a stern statement warning clergy in his diocese about an upcoming pro-LGBT event at a state-run university featuring pro-gay Vatican consultant Fr. James Martin and dissident nun Sr. Jeannine Gramick.

In a March 9 letter addressed to “Fathers and Deacons” within his diocese, Cincinnati’s Archbishop said the March 24 event to take place at the University of Cincinnati, “is in no way sponsored by, sanctioned by, or associated with the Catholic Church.”

“In fact, one of the scheduled speakers has been ordered to not speak on behalf of the Catholic Church in the United States due to the grave error of her teaching,” continued Archbishop Schnurr, referring to Gramick.  “The Code of Canon Law (Can. 216) states in part that "no undertaking shall assume the name Catholic unless the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority is given." 

“My permission was not sought in this case, nor would it have been given,” concludes the Archbishop. 

The one-day symposium is titled Building Bridges: A Dialogue on Faith, Catholicism, and the LGBTQ Community. The title is drawn from a book by Fr. Martin on normalizing homosexuality within the Catholic Church. 

The Jesuit priest has called for the Church to change it’s language about homosexuality, especially as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He has expressed his hope that in the near future same-sex couples will be able to “kiss” during the sign of peace at Mass. He has said that some saints in heaven are “probably gay.” He has dismissed Catholic teaching, saying God made homosexuals “who they are.”

With the publication of his June 2016 book Building a Bridge, Fr. Martin has been able to push his campaign against Church teaching on homosexuality to major media outlets as well as through his massive social media following. The book has been heavily criticized by Catholic leaders for seeking to open inroads to the normalization of homosexuality and transgenderism within the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Schnurr is not the first prelate to warn the faithful about efforts to normalize homosexuality within the Catholic Church. 

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, wrote in The Wall Street Journal last August that Fr. Martin's book has made him “one of the most outspoken critics of the church’s message with regard to sexuality.”

Others include Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who criticized Fr. Martin for failing to be clear about the sinfulness of homosexual acts. 

Respected Catholic lay academics who have read and criticized Fr. Martin’s teaching for departing from Catholic sexual morality include moral theologian Janet Smith, Princeton professor Robert P. George, and professor Anthony Esolen.

Earlier this year, Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), a lay Catholic group known for its fidelity to Church teaching on life, marriage, and family successfully campaigned to have a New Jersey Catholic parish cancel a talk offered by the pro-homosexual priest. Fr. James Martin went on the warpath against the Catholic group, slamming them on social media as “bullies.”

The lay group noted how the pro-LGBT priest acted like a “wolf in sheep's clothing” when it came to Catholic teaching on sexuality.

Other speakers slated to speak at the symposium 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.

Gramick, co-founder of the pro-homosexual New Ways Ministry, has been disciplined by the Church for activities in defiance of Church teaching. 

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Dr. Benjamin Wiker speaks at the Bringing America back to Life convention Mar. 9, 2018. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews.
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Pro-lifers will only end abortion if they understand what they’re really fighting against

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By Lisa Bourne

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, March 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The pro-life battle is not primarily about overturning Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion across the U.S. in 1973, Catholic ethicist Dr. Benjamin Wiker told a leading pro-life conference Friday. The real battle is against a pervasive"materialist philosophy" that sees no inherent value in human life, he added. 

The infamous court case is just one of the many effects of a far more comprehensive cultural divide between those who hold two rival and incompatible views of reality, he said, illustrating a bigger picture issue of which abortion is a symptom.

The pro-life movement must understand and defend the big picture war on the principles of Christianity to be able to win the abortion battle in front of them, said Wiker.  

“You can’t fix the little picture without fixing the big picture,” he told the pro-life gathering.

The Senior Fellow at the Veritas Center for Ethics and Public Life and Professor of Political Science and Human Life Studies at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio addressed attendees of the Bringing America back to Life convention presented Friday and Saturday by Cleveland Right to Life. 

The convention, in its ninth year, centers on prayer, action, voting and education for the pro-life movement on the local, regional and increasingly the national level.

Wiker also explained, as he says he does for his students, that the addressing the big picture issue entails fighting for life in areas normally considered to be outside the pro-life arena. 

There is some serious intellectual work to be done along with front-line efforts, he said.

Wiker said he works to help students understand how things went bad with the overall rejection of the sanctity of life. And he stresses to them that the pro-life movement can be defended in any discipline, including philosophy, biology, and mathematics, because of the overall influence those areas have on society.

He detailed contrasts between Christianity and the Epicurean Materialist philosophy for the conference, and how the two opposing philosophies play into the pro-life movement. Epicurean thought seeks to reject a higher power, rejecting with it the idea of human beings made in God’s image and thus the sanctity of life.

They are essentially two different views of reality, said Wiker.

The Materialist philosophy of ancient pagan Greek philosopher Epicurus has come to saturate nearly every aspect of our culture, he said, including our way of life and thinking, and our views of law, science, rationality, and reality.

Christianity has been slowly getting displaced and replaced in the last several hundred years by Epicurean Materialism, he said, the result a mix of these two opposite ways of understanding things, creating the environment for current pro-life battles. 

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus espoused the idea the Greek gods were the source of all evil and argued they must be gotten rid of, according to Wiker. He also believed human beings were just another random jostling of atoms without souls.

This mindset eliminates the concern for morality. 

Where Christianity holds that human beings are made in the image of their creator, with an eternal destiny and impending judgment after death, said Wiker, in the Epicurean materialist view, there is only matter, and no God, so that philosophy presumes human beings have no soul and are fundamentally no different than animals.

Euthanasia is just as humane for humans as it is for animals in the Epicurean view.

All Christian moral prohibitions are rooted in one central truth, Wiker pointed out, that human beings are not just another animal, and if this is taken away, the foundation is done away with. 

“If there is no essential qualitative difference between a human being and any other animal,” Wiker said, “if that is the truth, then all prohibitions against murder of whatever kind are entirely without foundation, unless we want to prohibit the killing of any and all creatures.”

Opposition to euthanasia is not about a single moral issue for the Christian, he added, it is about the protection of morality itself by maintaining the essential distinction between animals, which we can euthanize and human beings, whom we should not.

“In fighting against abortion, you’re not just fighting against abortion, you are fighting for all morality,” said Wiker, “because it rests on that one little distinction.”

Society is deeply divided by these two rival views, he told the pro-life gathering.

“So we don’t have a mere legal disagreement about Roe v. Wade and how it’s decided,” stated Wiker, “we have a disagreement about reality, about truth, about what a human being is.”

Roe v. Wade is a symptom, an effect, of this deepest of all disagreements on reality itself.

“This is difficult news for my students in pro-life studies,” Wiker said, “because they want to believe that all will be well if they could just overturn Roe v. Wade. They really want to believe that’s all that’s necessary.”

“What they soon see that the other side doesn’t just disagree about abortion, they disagree about the nature of reality, about what a human being is, about what nature is, about the existence of God,” he said. “Abortion is murder if, and only if, a human being is qualitatively distinct from other animals.”

The big picture disagreements are also the cause of other cultural battles we experience, he added.

Drawing from the discipline of biology, Wiker said the reductionist approach, which reduces living things solely to their biological makeup, and defines nearly every aspect of modern biology, is a form of Epicurean Materialism that opens the door to viewing the unborn child as merely a mass of cells, thus indirectly supporting abortion.

The acceptance of Jean Jacques Rousseau’s ideas has also led to the acceptance of abortion, he said.

Rousseau thought that man was moved primarily by his appetites, reducing the sexual act to something purely animal and rendering marriage unnatural. If man is acting solely on his sexual desires like an animal, Wiker said the “need” for abortion would then follow. 

He detailed a number of historical figures and forms of thought that have also fed Epicurean Materialism, making its continued effects possible today.

Historically, Christianity is the only source for abortion being illegal in the west, he said.

It’s the one reason why there’s such a thing as a pro-life struggle, or Roe v. Wade. Abortion had not been illegal, but the principles of Christianity caused that to be changed.

“The only reason that abortion became illegal is that Christians evangelized the Roman Empire with the big picture of Christianity,” stated Wiker. “The whole message about a loving God creating the world, human beings being made in the image of God, of the fall in need of redemption, of the Incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The prohibition of abortion was one part of that big evangelical picture about reality.”

With Christianity and the moral pieces that flow from its central doctrines having been on the decline, the return of abortion was inevitable.

“The big picture must change or the small picture will remain the same,” Wiker said.

“Christians must re-evangelize what has been de-evangelized by Epicurean Materialists, he said, “but they also need to tell the whole big truth about Christianity if we want the smaller truth that abortion is murder to be overturned.”

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Bishop Daniel Thomas speaking at the Bringing American Back to Life. March 10, 2018. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
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‘Christian’ politicians who support abortion don’t ‘share…in the faith of Christ’: bishop

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By Lisa Bourne

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, March 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Politicians who publicly support abortion and euthanasia do not "share fully and practically in the faith of Christ," Bishop Daniel Thomas of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo told a top pro-life conference over the weekend.

“Every Catholic and every Christian is a missionary of the good news of the dignity and sanctity of the human person made in the image of God and redeemed through the human body of Jesus Christ His Son on the Cross,” Bishop Thomas said. “No one, least of all those who exercise leadership in society can claim to share fully and practically in the faith of Christ who at the same time publicly support practices of abortion and euthanasia.” 

“If to be truly Catholic and truly Christian is to be pro-life,” Thomas said, “than any person who embraces an ideology or political stance which does not by law protect the most innocent among us, including the unborn, then they’ve renounced the very heart Catholic Social Teaching, which has as its foundation the word of God and the very design of human nature.”

The Toledo bishop spoke about family, citizenship, and the call to be saints at the Bringing American Back to Life (BABL) convention in Cleveland. 

Sponsored by Cleveland Right to Life and billed as an educational event for the grassroots, BABL has grown steadily in its nine years of existence. Hundreds of pro-life advocates from Ohio and other area states gathered Friday and Saturday for what’s become a premier pro-life gathering.  

In his presentation, Thomas expressed avid support for life, marriage, and religious freedom. He offered his thoughts on how pro-life advocates to work to these things in today’s culture.

“To bring America back to life, we have to be those citizens who bring our faith into the public square, engaged, informed and politically active for life, for marriage and for religious liberty,” the bishop said.

Humanae Vitae

One only need visit Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae encyclical to see the roots of the current devastation of the family, he said, detailing specifics of the societal damage wrought by the birth control pill since its release.

Paul VI’s encyclical is in its 50th year and the focus of considerable attention with reports of a “re-examination” of the landmark document upholding the Church’s perennial condemnation of artificial birth control underway in Rome. HV came up in a number of presentations made during Bringing America Back to Life

“The full embrace by our nation of the sexual revolution has led us to abandon in our modern day the definition of marriage and gender identity that even ten years ago would have been considered impossible or an absurdity,” said Bishop Thomas.

We need the family

He added that to challenge the culture of death, it will take nothing less than the restoration of culture via the family, the articulation of the truth in love, and the holiness of individuals who surrender to God’s will.

“Our entire society depends on the family,” Thomas said. “It’s from the family that children first become aware of their dignity as human persons, and receive their first formative ideas about truth, goodness, love, virtue and what it actually means to be a human person.” 

The importance of marriage, family and fatherhood were at one time the standards of society, the bishop said. “Sadly today, we have devalued the complementarity of the gift within family of mother a mother and a father being present for and with their children,” he added.

“The consequences for doing so,” said Bishop Thomas, "if we look back over the 40 or 50 years behind us, are truly dire. Sadly today we have devalued family.”

He ran down statistics illustrating the negative societal effects associated with the breakdown of the family, saying they should awaken us to the importance of keeping the family together.

'God has given us a design, an ideal, a foundation to aim for'

Bishop Thomas echoed various other prelates today in acknowledging other-than-ideal familial situations. He did not, however, take the view of those who argue the Christian ideal of the family is unattainable.

“No one is perfect,” the bishop stated, “no family is perfect, and we all sin and fall short of the Glory of God and his design for the family.”

“But no family being perfect, we’re always called pastorally to walk with our brothers and sisters in whatever situation they may find themselves,” he added. “Yet with the knowledge that God has given us a design, an ideal, a foundation to aim for.” 

Since the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome and release of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, some bishops have floated the thought that God’s design for marriage and the family is a standard too high for Catholics to achieve.

Bishop Thomas laid this theory bare by explaining a key aspect of Christ having come in human form to redeem us.

“Still there is an ideal, an ideal not only that the Church holds up, but an ideal given to us by God himself,” he said. “Why? Because he chose to come to us in a family – a mother, a father and a child.”

Get started at home

He ran through numerous data on the negative consequences of men being absent as father and husbands, stating, “The statistics are clear: Fathers matter, moms and dads together matter, families matter.”

“If we want to bring America back to life, then it’s time to revivify the family,” he said. “Founded upon the gift of a husband and wife, built on the wisdom of God’s design that every child deserves a mother and father, the resurrection of the family must start first and foremost with our very own.”

Bishop Thomas encouraged resolve in the face of resistance to Christian principles in the public arena, and also dismissal of “the modern-day tyranny of the notion of the separation of church and state.” 

“Today so many Catholics and Christians have embraced a false pluralism,” he stated, “a pluralism which states that all ideas are equal and that you’re allowed to have your moral convictions but you have to keep them to yourself, to your homes, your own churches or your conscience, because your truth is not my truth. 

“This is what modern-day secularists have coined 'freedom of worship,'” said Thomas. “And remember, we’re not assured freedom of worship as citizens – we’re assured freedom of religion.”

That’s not what the First Amendment says

“The First Amendment of the Constitution does not speak of freedom of worship, it speaks of freedom of religion,” he clarified. “Our faith is not to be confined in the walls of a church, or in the corners of our brains. We’re called to live our faith as religious people in all aspects of our lives.” 

Catholics and Christians must “declare that democracy is not the substitute for morality,” the bishop told the pro-life crowd. “Democracy stands or falls on the foundational values it embodies and promotes.”

“And if we are not promoting the truth of the human person, our dependence on the providence of God and belief in the common good,” he said, “then we are doomed to drift into oblivion by the fickle winds of popular mentality of the current age.”

Thomas called for promoting public officials for office who embody the virtue we desire to see in ourselves. More must be demanded of politicians, he said, and the pro-life community should foster and form politicians who will be models and will be informed by their religious beliefs.

Life is the foundation

He cited the 1998 USCCB document Living the Gospel of Life, which employs the analogy of the human person as a house.

“We cannot be concerned with the poor, the immigrant, human trafficking, etc., without first the fundamental concern of the foundation of that house,” stated Bishop Thomas, “human life itself.”

Thomas also quoted Pope St. John Paul II's document Evangelium Vitae — from which the USCCB document is derived — in which the right to life is defined as the foundation of all other inalienable rights.

To be Catholic is to be pro-life

“So to be clear, to be Catholic, to be Christian, is to be pro-life,” he said.

The bishop said pro-life advocates were called to engagement in the public square “with fervor, zeal, passion, charity mercy kindness,” and he offered the caution of being zealous but not zealots.

Everyone who claims Christ as Lord should remember that each is called to preach and live his message, said Thomas, “and woe to us if we do not preach it.”

Thomas has been bishop of Toledo since 2014. He was Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Cleveland from December 2016 until Bishop Nelson Perez was installed in Cleveland in September of last year. Thomas is also a Consultor for the USCCB’s ProLife Committee. 

Where the rubber meets the road

He is involved in a direct fight to lobby ProMedica, a health care system with locations in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, whose board of trustees recently signed a transfer agreement with Capital Care Network, Toledo’s last remaining abortion facility. Thomas explained to the Cleveland pro-life conference that the agreement keeps the abortion facility open, “where it can continue to take innocent lives.”

He has also pushed the issue in public, with an initial statement published in the press and then a subsequent op-ed in the Toledo Blade. Thomas has also personally written a letter to each board member of ProMedica about the transfer agreement.

“Undoubtedly, I will face backlash for such actions, and frankly already have,” stated Bishop Thomas, “but none of us can afford any longer to stand idly by as innocent life is threatened.” 

“A moment has arrived for the nation that will determine for generations what type of culture we will become,” the bishop said, "and more challenges are to come.”

Defenders of life need to be willing to lay down their lives, fortunes, and comfort to fix the broken culture, he said.

The answer is simple, Thomas told the pro-life crowd – to become saints. He referenced a quote from Blessed Mother Theresa that said the saints were sinners who never stopped trying.

He also said it’s important to recognize who the enemy is – the devil and sin.

“There is only one thing for us to do,” stated Thomas, “to storm the gates of hell.” 

“This requires preparation to articulate the truth that the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness exist because God authored them,” he said. 

“How do we do it,  except to do it in the Lord,” the bishop said, exhorting the crowd, “You were made for this.”

And citing Pope St. John Paul II’s signature phrase, he urged, “Be not afraid.”

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Pope Benedict says it’s ‘foolish prejudice’ to question Pope Francis’ theological formation

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By John-Henry Westen

Update March 14: The AP is reporting that the Vatican has admitted to doctoring the photo of Benedict's letter in a way that changed the meaning. Full story here.

VATICAN, March 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- The newly-formed Vatican news agency is reporting that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has written a letter saying there is an “interior continuity between the two pontificates” – that of Pope Francis and his own.  Moreover, the letter speaks of the “foolish prejudice” of those who view Francis as lacking in theological and philosophical formation and Benedict as out of touch with concrete realities. 

The letter came, the Vatican says, after Pope Benedict was presented with a Vatican-published series of 11 books entitled “The Theology of Pope Francis.”

“I applaud this initiative,” says the letter. “It contradicts the foolish prejudice of those who see Pope Francis as someone who lacks a particular theological and philosophical formation, while I would have been solely a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete lives of today’s Christian."

The books, he says, “reasonably demonstrate that Pope Francis is a man with profound philosophical and theological formation and are helpful to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, even with all the differences in style and temperament.”

Watch Vatican News explain the letter:

The comments echo those Pope Benedict made in a June 28, 2016 Vatican celebration of his 65th anniversary of priestly ordination. At the time, Pope Benedict told Pope Francis: “Thank you, Holy Father, for your goodness, which from the first moment of your election, to every moment of my life here, has touched my heart.” The Pope Emeritus added, “More than the beauty of the Vatican Gardens, your goodness is the place where I live; I feel protected."

Also in a book of interviews with Pope Benedict completed some months after Pope Francis’ election but only published in 2016, the Pope Emeritus was asked if he saw any kind of break between his pontificate and that of Francis. In Last Testament, he replied:

No. I mean, one can of course misinterpret in places, with the intention of saying that everything has been turned on its head now. If one isolates things, takes them out of context, one can construct opposites, but not if one looks at the whole. There may be a different emphasis, of course, but no opposition.

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Catholic school trustees are under attack for defending life. We need to support them now

The Editors
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Editorial 

March 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholics have been scandalized for decades at the sorry state of our schools. It has become commonplace to see Catholic schools overseen by our bishops undermining the faith in so many ways. It should be shocking, but it’s not. It’s simply the status quo.

The problem has been particularly acute in Ontario, where Catholic schools are fully funded by the government and thus under constant scrutiny from secularist activists. The teachers in Ontario’s Catholic classrooms are forced members of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA), a union that is openly in bed with the LGBT lobby and has been supportive of the abortion lobby’s aims as well. This union has a disturbing level of influence over the formation of Catholic teachers and exercises its political clout over the entire system.

The problem with the schools’ Catholicity is deep and systemic. But one particular problem that faithful Catholics, and LifeSite in particular, has highlighted over the years is the schools’ support for organizations that undermine the right to life. 

It’s galling for schools to claim they support the Church’s teaching on life while fundraising for organizations that are anti-life. Some of these include the Canadian Cancer Society, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Free the Children (precursor of the global charity and “child empowerment” group WE Charities), Doctors Without Borders, or Sick Kids Hospital. Who can wholeheartedly defend the merit of these organizations when they also support abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia, or embryonic stem cell research?

How often have faithful Catholics wished that leaders with influence would take a stand for life in Ontario’s Catholic schools?

Well, now some brave souls have. And, predictably, they’re coming under attack. The question is: are faithful Catholics willing to get behind them?

PLEDGE: I support trustees taking a stand for life in Catholic schools. Sign the petition here.

Trustees in the Halton Catholic District School Board, based in Burlington, passed a Sanctity of Life motion in January banning school-generated funds from going to charities that directly or indirectly support practices contrary to Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life, specifically, abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia, or embryonic stem cell research. (See the full motion here.)

Since then, the trustees have come under fire from OECTA, and a vocal minority in the community. Such was the clamor of opposition that trustees revisited the policy February 20. It was defeated, then reconsidered and ultimately passed because one trustee had a change of heart during the course of the evening.

But that didn’t stop the attacks. Indeed, it’s led to a renewed wave of angry opposition. 

Critical parents are accusing the board of not consulting them. A petition launched by some students has generated over 19,000 signatures from around the world (only some 5,000 coming from Canada). 

And the media is giving credence to OECTA’s portrayal of the faithful trustees as “unnecessarily divisive” and generating sympathy for the dissenting students, parents and OECTA. 

The board is under tremendous pressure to cave, and in fact, the chair of the board has welcomed critics to air their opposition at the next board meeting on March 20.

This whole ordeal seems small and local, but it actually isn’t. It is emblematic of the main problem. 

If faithful Catholics can convince the board to hold the line for life, it will be no small victory. In fact, it will give momentum to Catholics schools across the province to be authentically Catholic. But if the board caves, it will only embolden the anti-life, anti-family secularists in our midst to clamp down even harder.

Every faithful Catholic who has wished our schools were more Catholic has a very concrete opportunity right now to do something that can make a difference.

LifeSite has launched a petition to support the faithful trustees. Sign it now, and share it with all your contacts. After signing you’ll also be given a chance to greatly increase your impact by quickly and easily sending a personalized postcard to the trustees. Sign the petition and send your postcard here.

We need thousands of signatures, from Ontario and beyond, showing these faithful trustees that we have their backs.

Contact the trustees today and tell them to hold the line on this pro-life measure. (We’ve included their contact information below.)

The anti-life forces taking over our schools are acting fast. We need to take a stand now.

PLEDGE: I support trustees taking a stand for life in Catholic schools. Sign the petition here.

Halton Catholic District School Board trustees' contact information: 

Diane Rabenda, Milton Trustee & Chair of the Board
905-632-6314 x. 7185
[email protected]

Paul Marai, Oakville Trustee & Vice-Chair of the Board (voted for motion)
905-842-3826
[email protected]

Arlene Iantomasi, Burlington Trustee, Wards 1 & 2
905-632-6314 x. 7182
[email protected]

Jane Michael, Burlington Trustee, Wards 3 & 6
905-802-6258
[email protected]

Susan Trites, Burlington Trustee, Wards 4 & 5 (voted for motion)​
905-637-7377
[email protected]

John Mark Rowe, Halton Hills Trustee
905-877-9510
[email protected]

Anthony Danko, Oakville Trustee (voted for motion)​
905-825-9159
[email protected]

Helena Karabela, Oakville Trustee (voted for motion)​
289-230-1423
[email protected]

Anthony Quinn, Oakville Trustee (voted for motion)​
905-338-3919
[email protected]

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Vatican hires pro-gay law firm to shut down Catholic website critical of Pope Francis

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By Michael Hichborn
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Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for the Holy See
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Examples of various companies using 'crossed keys' in logo.

March 12, 2018 (lepanto Institute) – In August of 2017, InfoVaticana, a small Catholic news portal based in Madrid, Spain, was surprised to receive a letter from Baker & McKenzie, the second largest law firm in the world, demanding that InfoVaticana transfer its domain (www.infovaticana.com) to the Vatican Secretariat of State.  The reason for the demand was that the Vatican alleges that it possesses exclusive property rights over the name of the physical center of the Catholic world.  The letter stated that InfoVaticana had seven days to comply with this order and that failing to do so would result in an exceedingly expensive lawsuit.

InfoVaticana, which was launched in May of 2013, says that it is “a free and independent media that has the vocation to serve the Catholic Church and society.”  It’s stated mission is to “deepen the denunciation of Christianophobia and the corruption that the Church uses, the rejection of the totalitarian impositions of the powerful LGBT lobby and the support of our brothers, the persecuted Christians.”

InfoVaticana has written articles critical of the homosexual influence in the Vatican, Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia, the Vatican’s scandalous handling of the Order of Malta, the provision of a medal to a radical pro-abortion politician, and many other concerns held by Catholics around the world.

Tell the Vatican: Stop censoring faithful Catholic journalists. Sign petition here.

In early 2017, InfoVaticana filed a trademark request for its name beside the Emblem of the Vatican State.  It wasn’t long before InfoVaticana discovered that it could not trademark a national emblem, and so on March 27, 2017, it withdrew its trademark application and opted to trademark its name along with a more generic pair of crossed keys instead.

The trouble began two months later, when on May 15, InfoVaticana received a letter from Baker & McKenzie on behalf of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.  The letter argued that the crossed keys “represent the symbolic emblem of the Christ Delivering Keys to St. Peter [and] are an integral part of the Emblem,” and when combined with the name “InfoVaticana,” the public may draw the “wrongful and misleading impression that the Website is officially linked or directly managed by the Holy See.”  As such, the letter requests that InfoVaticana withdraw its trademark application and cease using the Emblem of the Vatican State and the combined image of InfoVaticana with the crossed keys.

In August of 2017, InfoVaticana received a second letter from Baker & McKenzie, this time demanding that in addition to no longer using the crossed keys with the name InfoVaticana, InfoVaticana actually cease using the name “InfoVaticana” at all and turn the website domain over to the Secretary of State.  The letter argues that the crossed keys used in InfoVaticana’s application for its trademarked logo is a violation of the Vatican’s intellectual property in the form of “State Symbols.”  Such argumentation would imply that any portion of the formal symbols representing Vatican City (the Cross, the keys, a tassel, a gold and white flag) are prohibited from use by any entity without express permission from the Vatican.

If this is actually the case, then the Vatican would need to pursue lawsuits against the following as well:

The Society of the Crossed Keys

Prime Real Estate of Florida

Metro Local Locksmith

Cross Keys Animal Hospital

The Cross Keys Inn

York Minster

Cross Keys Bank

But then the letter from Baker & McKenzie gets even more ridiculous.  In addition to demanding that InfoVaticana refrain from using the crossed keys as a symbol of the website, the letter demands:

4) Immediately transfer in favor of the Secretary of State (or in favor of whom it designates), the domain name www.infovaticana.com.

Why?  Because:

“the domain name infovaticana.com (the “Name of Infringing Domain”) incorporates the vocabulary “INFOVATICANA” that, as seen, induces the public to error about the nature and origin of the service offered by you.

In short, the described uses not authorized by the Secretary of State on the Website in the Name of the Infringing Domain and the way in which your Website and the business carried out by you are presented to the public constitute clear infractions of the State Symbols and other signs that designate the Vatican institution that the Secretary of State is not willing to tolerate.”

In other words, the argument is that (forgetting that InfoVaticana’s “about us” page clearly states that it is “a free and independent media” site) InfoVaticana gives the appearance that it is an officially sanctioned Vatican website (it does not) and so therefore must not only cease using any portion or imitation of official symbols of the Vatican State, but hand over the domain name as well.

This would be like the Federal Government of the United States telling USA Today that it must hand over its name and web domain to the US government because the use of “USA” is exclusive to the government.  Perhaps, then, the state of New York should demand that the New York Times hand over its name and domain for the same reason.  Same thing with America Magazine.

In response to the letter, InfoVaticana enlisted the aid of a legal team who provided a compromise to Baker & McKenzie, proposing that InfoVaticana cease to use the crossed keys in its logo, as well as any other image that may correspond to official emblems of the Holy See.  The proposal was not a concession of any wrong-doing, but an act of good faith and good will in a desire to avoid causing confusion or the impression that InfoVaticana was in any way involved with the Vatican State.

Baker & McKenzie’s response was an emphatic refusal to negotiate, reiterating the demand that the domain name must be transferred to the Vatican Secretary of State.

But that’s not even the worst of it.

The law firm Cardinal Parolin hired to handle the case, Baker & McKenzie, is well known for the promotion of homosexuality, and even represented the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood.

In August of last year, Baker & McKenzie’s office in Belfast, Ireland partnered with the homosexual group “Cara-Friend” to fund its “LGBTQ+ Awareness Teacher Training program.”  James Richards, the Executive Director of Baker & McKenzie’s Belfast office said:

“We believe that no-one should be put at a disadvantage, professionally, financially or socially, on the basis of who they are. Here in Belfast, we set up our LGBT network just over a year ago and we are thrilled to be sponsoring Cara-Friend’s Awareness Teacher programme, to help influence our future leaders to respect and support all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Northern Ireland.”

In September of last year, Baker & McKenzie’s London office implemented “Gender Transition Guidelines.”  Following the implementation of the Firm’s “North America Gender Transition and Identity Guidelines,” the London Office guidelines are intended to:

“support transitioning employees and ensure that the Firm, and all relevant managers and employees, support individuals through their transition.  This includes, for example, a Workplace Transition Plan which provides a framework for the transitioning individual, their line manager and HR to follow.”

In December of 2017, Baker & McKenzie advised the homosexual group called “Stonewall” as it fought against what it called an “ultra-orthodox Charedi Jewish Community.”  Baker & McKenzie’s statement says that the case was about

“the right of a transgender woman to have direct contact with her children who belong to the ultra-orthodox Charedi Jewish Community. The case raised the questions of human rights and discrimination, in evaluating a child’s welfare.”

In 2016, Baker & McKenzie was named “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign.

In July of 2017, Baker & McKenzie was named “One of Stonewall’s Top Global Employers 2017.”

On top of this, in 1991, Baker & McKenzie represented Planned Parenthood in the case “Planned Parenthood V. Wilson.”  Timothy Wilson was a pro-life activist in this case.

It remains to be seen what further action the Vatican will take against InfoVaticana.  InfoVaticana (rightfully) refuses to hand over the domain name of their website, and the Vatican Secretary of State (Cardinal Parolin) is threatening to engage in a protracted legal battle, which will inevitably ruin InfoVaticana financially.  Baker & McKenzie’s specious arguments about the use of crossed keys and the word “Vatican” in the name “InfoVaticana” likely don’t have the strength to win in court, but battles such as these tend to more about attrition than victory.  And all the while, a great enemy of the Catholic Church will swell with Catholic funding, because some dissident clericalists in the Curia are annoyed by the criticisms of a single voice.

Editor's note: This article first appeared on Lepanto Institute. It is republished here by permission. 

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Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship offers Mass at London's 'Sacra Liturgia' conference on July 6, 2016. Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr
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Livestream of Cardinal Sarah speaking in Toronto Monday at 7 p.m. EST

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By Steve Jalsevac

March 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The University of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College is hosting Vespers and a talk by Cardinal Robert Sarah on Monday March 12 from 7 to 9 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. Cardinal Sarah is the Prefect of the Catholic Church’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He is also the author of the two popular books, God or Nothing and The Power of Silence.

The demand for tickets to the event has been so high that the venue has been moved off the University of Toronto campus and to the downtown St. Michael’s cathedral which can hold a much larger number of people.

The event may be viewed live on Monday at either

Facebook LIVE:
www.facebook.com/ustmikes

or

the cathedral Livestream:
https://www.stmichaelscathedral.com/live/

The talk will also be available afterwards at the same two Internet addresses.

 

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The gay media can’t hide the truth anymore: same-sex ‘marriage’ is the antithesis of marriage

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By Doug Mainwaring
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March 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – When it comes to gay “marriage,” things are not what they seem. Same-sex “marriage” is very different from the immutable definition of marriage embraced by every religious tradition for millenia.    

Visit any gay-oriented media site, and you’ll quickly discover that vast discrepancy graphically displayed for all to see. It’s a thinly-veiled secret that the mainstream media would rather you not see. LGBTs, on the other hand, clearly don’t give a damn if you do.

‘Open’ relationships, buying babies, ‘raw and unedited’ videos of homogenital activity

For a few weeks, Instinct Magazine has featured a video commercial promoting vacations in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.    

The ad shows a presumably “married” gay couple with “their” young son enjoying a vacation at the very gay-friendly tourist destination. It promotes the idea that families headed by two men are no different from families formed by a married father and mother.

Buying the notion that two men can replace a mother and a father requires a certain level of “suspension of disbelief.”

Yet if a website visitor were to cast his or her eyes to the stories adjoining the video ad, a completely different picture of gay “marriage” emerges. This picture of same-sex “marriage” is rooted in truth, not Madison Avenue fiction. Suspension of disbelief becomes impossible.

To one side of the ad – which popped up all over the site’s homepage – was a cluster of links to four articles. The first one presented the regrettable story of the male prostitute who outed scores of priests in a 1,200 page dossier delivered to the Vatican.  

The remaining three links, however, all dealt directly with gay “marriage” in some way:

  1. Gay actor/singer Ricky Martin explains why sexually “open” relationships should be the norm for “married” homosexual men, saying such promiscuity and unaccountability is a positive, loving thing for homosexuals. “It’s good for the world,” he said. “It’s good for me as a gay man with kids.”
  2. Champion swimmer Tom Daley, who is “married” to a man, has revealing pictures on public display. Two weeks before, he and his homosexual partner had they are expectant dads – via surrogacy – where their child’s mom will be a phantom, nothing more than a breeder.
  3. The final article’s headline asks if gay actor Russell Tovey’s male “Fiancee Used to Do Gay Porn A Couple of Years Ago?” The article declares, “Nothing wrong with it at all…!”

Perhaps most startling was the big headline below the video commercial, with smaller, still versions of the ad popping up throughout.  

In Famed Porn Director Michael Lucas Invites You to Get Raw, we learn that New York’s most successful gay pornography entrepreneur/director/porn actor – who is “married” to a man – has a new online endeavor:

. . . where he's bringing his fans into his actual bedroom with raw and unedited videos of his personal hook-ups.  These are real guys that Michael is meeting at the gym, on the street and on hook-up app — shot with their permission, of course.

“I’m always up for trying something new but this has been more fun than I realized it would be," Michael revealed.  “I’m hooking up with both real guys and porn models and I’m letting everyone watch. I basically don’t have sex without a camera on any longer:).”

He also spoke about just how forthright some men are when it comes to being showcased on the popular social media app.  “I think what’s been most surprising is how many guys I meet that are willing to have sex with me on-camera.  I guess for young guys who grew up in the social media age, texting dick shots and posting naked pics on hook-up apps is no big deal.”

Sounds like a description of every marriage in your parish and neighborhood, right?

No, of course not. And that’s exactly the point.

Together, these four articles reveal what mainstream media outlets don’t want you to know: Same-sex “marriage” is the antithesis of marriage. It is anti-conjugal and anti-complementary. It is genderless. It is sterile.  

It exists to normalize sodomy, which is the sole binding element holding the entire LGBT movement and culture together.      

At the same time, the lowest common denominator virtues of monogamy, sexual self-control, personal modesty, parental role modeling, and paternal care are completely, unashamedly absent from these truth-based articles.

Same-sex ‘marriage’ was a ‘conservative’ virtue, just long enough to become legal

Same-sex marriage was, for a little while, presented as a “conservative” ideal – just long enough for the public to shrug its shoulders and say “okay.”

But now, less than three years after the United States Supreme Court imposed same-sex “marriage” across the land, reality is settling in, and things are returning to normal.  

Gay “marriage” was never compatible with the one true, immutable definition of marriage. It was never “conservative” in any way.  

It remains precisely what the LGBT world (up until recently) had always honestly presented itself to be: Unabashedly countercultural and a chance to “stick it” to the establishment, especially Christians.

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No, Trump is not perfect. Yes, I would still vote for him.

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By Dr. Michael Brown

If the presidential elections were held today and Donald Trump were running against Hillary Clinton, I would vote for Donald Trump without hesitation. But that doesn't mean he doesn't embarrass me at times. And when it comes to his recent attack on NBC's Chuck Todd, I side with Todd.

That's not because I agree with Todd's ideology or because I feel that his reporting is fair and balanced. To be perfectly candid, I don't see much of Todd's reporting, and so I can't really comment either way.

But what I do know is that the president of the United States debases himself by getting into juvenile, even profane name-calling. And while he may rally certain elements of his base with this kind of rhetoric, he alienates another part of his base. He also further inflames his adversaries and gives fresh fuel to his detractors. And to what purpose? To what gain?

Speaking in Pennsylvania on Saturday, President Trump referred to Todd as a "sleeping son of a b‑‑‑‑," a remark that lit up the internet within minutes.

On Sunday Todd responded: "I bring my kids up to respect the office of the presidency and the president. I don't allow them to say anything negative, ever, about the president. It creates a challenge to all parents when he uses vulgarities like that."

He is absolutely right. The "b"-word is now everywhere, spelled out in full, and repeated on the airwaves, just as "s-hole" word became ubiquitous after the president's alleged comments in January.

Suddenly, that which used to be censored is now acceptable. The profane is no longer profane. Civility (or whatever is left of it) is further crushed underfoot.

This contributes to a general coarsening of the culture, while the ugly insults multiply exponentially as all sides fire back.

Without a doubt, having Donald Trump as our president has its big pluses and big minuses.

Ardent Trump supporters will lambaste me, accusing me of prudery, of focusing on inconsequential details, of being a secret leftist at heart.

"Just look at what he's done for the economy, for Israel, for the courts, for our religious rights. And he's about to meet with the president of North Korea in what could be one of the greatest diplomatic breakthroughs of our era. Plus, he's virtually destroyed ISIS."

Again, that's why I would vote for him today against the likes of Hillary Clinton.

But the fact is that President Trump could have accomplished these same goals without degrading himself, without debasing the office of the president, without attacking others with crudeness and vulgarity, and without further dividing an already divided nation. Can anyone tell me how his cruelty helps his cause?

My appeal is that our president step higher, that he be aggressive and bold without acting like a child, that he be fearless without being frivolous. Only the blindly loyal will defend him at every turn, just as those blindly loyal to President Obama could see no wrong in him.

Appearing on "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson was asked, "What do you think the evangelicals who support President Trump make of the Stormy Daniels scandal?"

He replied, "Well, I think that it is the height of hypocrisy. ... If any other Democratic president had been guilty of what is alleged in these cases, evangelicals would be, you know, off the reservation."

But Gerson is only partly right since: 1) no Democratic president fought for the things Trump is fighting for, meaning that the overall picture is quite mixed, and 2) there are evangelicals who support President Trump while not endorsing his crude behavior or passing over his marital transgressions.

That being said, I agree with Gerson that evangelicals who downplay Trump's moral failings are guilty of hypocrisy and do compromise their witness. This is something I've addressed many times before.

Gerson further stated, "Evangelicalism really has had a good tradition. And now they are really undermining that reputation of their faith."

This prompted Margaret Brennan to ask, "But, in that judgment, you are saying the transactional part of this relationship isn't worth the trade-off?"

Gerson replied, "Well, they are acting like, you know, slimy political operatives, not moral leaders.

"They are essentially saying, in order to get benefits for themselves, in a certain way – they talk about religious liberty and other issues – but to get benefits for themselves, they are willing to wink at Stormy Daniels and wink at misogyny and wink at nativism.

"And that, I think, is deeply discrediting, not just in a political sense, but actually in a moral and religious sense."

Are some evangelicals acting like "slimy political operatives, not moral leaders"? Perhaps some are, just as some liberal Christian leaders have gotten into political bed with their Democratic counterparts.

But once again, Gerson is only partly right.

As evangelicals, we're not trying "to get benefits" for ourselves as much as we're trying to advocate for what is best for our nation and the world. And when it comes to fighting against abortion, fighting against the genocide of Christians in the Middle East, fighting against the radical left's takeover of America – just to name some of our biggest issues – we absolutely support President Trump. We believe he's the man for the job.

Yet we don't pretend he is a virtuous Christian, while we are grieved over many things he says and does. As for the Stormy Daniels allegations, if they are true, many of us will not be surprised. But we would urge our president to confess his past sins publicly and ask for forgiveness.

That's what true support looks like, and frankly, I fail to see what is hypocritical in taking a stand like this. As an evangelical leader, I'm often embarrassed by our president, but I voted for him with my eyes wide open, weighing the good with the bad.

So I will praise him for the great things he accomplishes and share my disappointment when he falls short.

That means that one day I'm celebrating President Trump for his bold and courageous leadership while the next day I'm regretting his cruel and crude attacks.

Today is one of those days when it's important for me to say, "Chuck Todd, I'm sorry for what our president said about you, and I agree with the sentiments you expressed."

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a different day.

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Liberals are terrified of Doug Ford. If he beats Kathleen Wynne, their narrative collapses.

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By Jonathon van Maren

March 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The long, messy race to replace Patrick Brown as the leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party is finally over. 

To sum up quickly: Brown was ousted by his colleagues after sexual misconduct allegations in January, and social conservative Tanya Granic Allen, two-time PC leadership contender and former MPP Christine Elliot, city councilor Doug Ford, and PC candidate Caroline Mulroney joined the race to replace him. Then, Brown filed to enter the leadership to replace himself hours before the deadline, before departing the race again just over a week later. On Saturday, after an agonizing recount process due to the impossibly close results, Doug Ford emerged victorious—although Christine Elliot apparently considered challenging the results and didn’t concede the race to Ford until Sunday afternoon.

The mainstream media, as usual, has been thrown into disarray by these results. Doug Ford was not supposed to win, and Tanya Granic Allen was not supposed to do as well as she did—nearly beating Caroline Mulroney. The last several races, including the federal Conservative leadership race, have indicated the strength of the social conservative base, and the commentariat seems perennially shocked that so many of them exist. Paul Wells of Maclean’s magazine, who had previously tweeted that a Doug Ford victory was impossible, wrote an eloquent essay eating crow shortly after the leadership results were leaked, referring to Allen as “the impressive social conservative upstart”:

But there is in Ford and Granic Allen a little bit of what Stephen Harper had…the unnerving sense that they believe things, and they don’t much feel like bartering those beliefs away for magic beans. It was Elliott and Mulroney, after all, who tailored their position on carbon taxes to match Ford’s… As for Granic Allen, I was surprised by how many people at Saturday’s event wanted to remind me that in last year’s federal Conservative leadership race, the two social-conservative candidates, Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux, won 20 per cent of first-round support in Ontario between them. That suggests there are a lot of Christian conservatives in Ontario. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Granic Allen showed herself an effective advocate for their views.

Just as the social conservative vote contributed significantly to Scheer’s victory, over 80% of Tanya Granic Allen’s supporters (myself included) ranked Doug Ford second. Rob Silver noted on Twitter that, “…like Andrew Scheer, Doug Ford only won because of social conservatives. That’s not a pejorative, it’s a fact.” Adam Radwanski in the Globe and Mail noted that “social-conservative candidate Tanya Granic Allen proved kingmaker.” Candice Malcolm of the Toronto Sun noted the same thing, tweeting the results with the observation: “Pro-lifers. Don’t underestimate them.” And Scott Reid noted that, “Earlier this week, I thought Doug Ford’s move to embrace pro-lifers and re-open the abortion debate would cost him the PCPO leadership. Turns out it won him the job.” 

Which brings us to another remarkable fact: This is the first provincial party leader in recent memory to have publicly indicated his openness to pro-life legislation—in this case, parental consent laws for abortion. Even more significantly, when the media pushed Ford, he didn’t do what most politicians do—back down. Instead, he made a common-sense pitch for why this would be good legislation, telling the reporter that, “Most procedures in this province require a minor to have the consent of a parent. I can’t think of a more life-changing procedure for a young woman than abortion. I think that this is an important discussion to have.” The reporter, seemingly surprised that Ford was actually willing to defend this policy, had no response.

If Ford continues to defend parental consent laws by presenting them as common-sense policies that those from all ends of the spectrum can agree on, he will discover that even many pro-choice Canadians do not have a problem with such regulations. That is why the media and abortion activists are already attempting, ridiculously, to portray this as Ford “re-opening the abortion debate,” which he obviously is not. Parental consent laws have nothing to do with the legality of abortion, and the passage of such a law would not impact Canada’s abortion regime, which permits abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. But the radicalism of Canada’s abortion extremists does not even allow them to admit that there is a problem with the fact that children who wouldn’t be able to get Tylenol from a school nurse without permission could be driven by that school nurse to an abortion clinic without first informing the parents (an actual scenario that does take place.)

Doug Ford has not been a social conservative throughout his career, as many have already noted. But what is true is that Ford dislikes all the people who despise social conservatives. The Toronto elites and the media spent years crucifying his younger brother Rob Ford during his years as a councilor and mayor and rejoiced with a positively carnivorous glee as his personal demons consumed his political career. Patrick Brown was desperate to be accepted by the media and the elites—when the Toronto Star published a positive article on the People’s Guarantee, he missed no opportunity to mention it wherever he went. On the other hand, it is highly unlikely that Ford will be swayed by pressure from the very people who have openly despised his family for years.

The media has already begun handwringing and over-the-top Donald Trump comparisons, a combination of their genuine fear that a populist candidate could succeed in Canada and the ironic realization on their part that Trump’s name brings readers on this side of the border, too. What the media (and the Red Tories) will do next is attempt to domesticate Doug Ford, trying with all their might to convince him that the only way he can succeed and become premier is to become just like them. After all, if Doug Ford wins by running against the carbon tax, reaching out to the average hurting voter, and embracing social conservatives, the careful narrative they have been constructing for two decades—that these things are too toxic for Canada and that a politician who runs on such a platform cannot get elected—will implode, and in Canada’s most populous province to boot.

Regardless of which way you look at it, social conservatives are in a much better position than they were when the year began. Patrick Brown, the perennial antagonist of anything truly conservative, is gone. Tanya Granic Allen proved an incredibly effective advocate for social conservative positions, persuasively articulating the problems with Kathleen Wynne’s sex-ed curriculum to large crowds and in the media. And the PC party thoroughly repudiated the spineless lack of principle that defined Brown’s leadership by selecting Doug Ford as his successor. 

Already, those who claimed Doug Ford could never win the leadership are predicting that he won’t be able to beat Kathleen Wynne. I’m not so sure. Perhaps, after years of mismanagement, corruption, and skyrocketing costs, Ontario voters are fed up—fed up enough to send Ford Nation to Queen’s Park.

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