All articles from March 13, 2018


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Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy
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Pope Francis adviser invites adulterous couples to be godparents, teach religion

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A bishop who is considered one of Pope Francis’ closest advisers issued a decree opening various parish leadership roles to divorced couples living in illicit second marriages.

The document, entitled “Rejoice with me,” seeks to implement Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which appears to endorse giving Holy Communion to those who have divorced and illicitly remarried, even if they continue to have sexual relations. It was recently issued by Marcello Semeraro, who is the bishop of the Italian diocese of Albano.

According to Italy’s Religious Information Service (SIR), the decree states that “after a careful evaluation by the pastor,” those who are divorced and remarried may “actively participate in the Liturgy of the Word during the celebration” of Mass as lectors who publicly read the epistle. “They may be deemed ideal for the teaching of the Catholic religion” in schools, even to be “educators of the faith together with other catechists of Christian initiation” or “part of the group of educators … of family groups,” according to the decree.

The directives from Semeraro appear to contradict the laws and tradition of the Catholic Church, which requires that Catholic teachers be “outstanding in correct doctrine” and “the witness of Christian life” (can. 804).

As the secretary of the pope’s “kitchen cabinet,” the Council of Cardinal Advisers, or “C9,” Semeraro is in close contact with Francis, and his implementation of Amoris Laetitia is likely to be informed by private conversations with the pope.

Adultery excused because of ‘immoderate passions,’ habits, and ‘social factors’

In addressing the possibility of allowing divorced and invalidly remarried couples to receive Holy Communion, Bishop Semeraro appears to imply that the sin of adultery can be partially or totally excused by a long list of conditions, including the presence of “immoderate affections,” habits of behavior, and even “social factors” that influence the couple.

“Do not forget that the imputability and the responsibility of an action can be diminished or eliminated by ignorance, inadvertance, violence, fear, habits, immoderate affections, and by other psychic or even social factors,” he writes.

Semeraro also admonishes his priests to not ask anything of the couple that exceeds their “strength,” again apparently referring to abstinence from sexual relations.  

“It is fundamental that whatever is proposed (to the couple in the illicit second marriage) always take into account the real situation of the lives of the interested parties, with the purpose of avoiding that requests be made of them that go beyond their strength, and even beyond that which is requested of the other faithful,” the bishop declared.

Priests of the diocese must consider the “influences and attenuating circumstances that can limit and compromise the freedom to make choices and one’s decision-making capacity,” according to Semeraro.

Pope’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia behind the confusion

Such directives appear to refer to Amoris Laetitia as well as guidelines approved by Pope Francis, which are widely interpreted to permit people who are living in adulterous second unions to receive Holy Communion, despite their failure or refusal to cease sexual relations.

Amoris Laetitia itself contains passages that seem to imply that adulterous sexual relations may be endorsed or accepted by the Creator, or may be excused if they have some good end in mind, notions that run deeply contrary to Catholic dogma.

The Buenos Aires guidelines approved by Pope Francis for its implementation suggest that it may not be “feasible” for an adulterously remarried couple to cease having sexual relations, particularly if they believe that ceasing their sexual activity will undermine their relationship and therefore hurt the children they have had together.

Such claims attributed to Amoris Laetitia have been repeatedly condemned by cardinals, bishops, and theologians, who have gone as far to call it “heresy” for permitting those in public states of mortal sin to receive the sacrament of the body of Christ, and for teaching that those in a state of supernatural grace may be unable to avoid sinning.  

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‘Time for God…and rest’: Catholic Poles rejoice as Sunday shopping ban comes into effect

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

POLAND, March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Stores remained shuttered all over Poland as the country’s new Sunday shopping ban went into effect on March 11. 

The new law will be introduced in stages. From now until 2019, stores will be allowed to open two Sundays a month. In 2019, they will be allowed to open for only one Sunday. But in 2020, they will be shut every Sunday, with the exception of a few Sundays falling before Easter and Christmas. 

Maciek Kwiatkowski of Otwock, a town near Warsaw, told LifeSiteNews that he welcomed the return of peaceful Sundays. And he wasn’t the only one.

“Salespeople with whom I’ve spoken were really happy because finally they have Sunday for themselves,” he reported. “From my perspective, I didn’t see dissatisfaction among consumers. People simply plan to do their shopping on another day.”

Living in the famous city of Częstochowa, Daria Pietrzak said that Sunday was no different for her, since she has always avoided shopping that day. Sundays are “time for God, family and rest,” she stated. Nevertheless, a number of jokes are circulating on social media, predicting that Poles will overshop on Saturdays and pretending to commiserate with countrymen who now have no idea what to do on Sundays. 

“When I was a child all shops were closed on Sunday,” Pietrzak told LifeSiteNews. “On Saturday they were open only until 2 PM. People shopped on Friday. On Saturday they cleaned the house, and on Sunday they rested.” 

Traditionally Poles have spent Sundays in church, at family mid-day meals, walking in the woods or countryside or sightseeing, she said. 

“Now many families spend Sunday in the mall: shopping, [eating] lunch, [going to the] cinema.  This weakens family ties. There aren’t meals in the family home, or conversations. Just shopping and going to the mall.” 

Ironically, Sunday shopping began only when democracy and capitalism returned to Poland. Kwiatkowski, who was already an adult when the Berlin Wall fell, said that he has missed the old Sunday.

“I missed this peaceful Sunday without trade, which I remember from communist times because there was no [Sunday shopping] then. How strange!”  

Piotr Zapałowicz of Wrocław went to a local shopping mall with his parents on Sunday but not to shop.

“Everything was closed except restaurants,” he told LifeSiteNews. “The mall was crowded...but not [compared] with normal weekends. People were there for gastronomy only.”

The partial restoration of Sunday as a day of rest was proposed by Solidarność (“Solidarity”), the trade union founded in the Gdańsk shipyard under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa. 

Solidarność is famous worldwide for its role in freeing Poland from communist dictatorship. 

The new law was put into effect by Poland’s ruling Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (“Law and Justice”) party government and welcomed by the Catholic Church. 

Some Poles object to the measure as bad for business, while others complain that it does not go far enough in freeing Poles from pressures to work on Sunday. 

Related:

Poland to reclaim ‘day of rest’ by phasing out Sunday shopping​

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The All Ireland Rally for Life / Facebook
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100,000 rally in Ireland to keep right to life for unborn

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean
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DUBLIN, March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As many as 100,000 people attended a rally in Dublin to show their support to the continued right to life of the unborn in Ireland, organizers say. 

According to the “Save the 8th” campaign, the March 10 All Ireland Rally for Life attracted the biggest crowd ever to express their wishes on the Irish abortion question. The Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution guarantees the right-to-life of the unborn child. The pro-abortion Irish government will be holding a referendum in late May in the hope of abolishing the amendment. 

Spokeswoman Niamh Uí Bhriain said, via a press release, that the government’s abortion proposal had woken a “sleeping giant” and the campaign to save Ireland from abortion now expected “a surge of volunteers” to work for a “No” vote in the referendum.

"These huge numbers are a rising of the people against the media and political elites and against the powerful international abortion industry who have poured millions into a campaign attacking our pro-life laws. Ireland is at a defining point in our history, and we are challenging the people to reject the abortion industry and to demand a better answer for mothers and babies," she stated. "Abortion has no place in a compassionate and progressive society."

The Rally for Life began in Dublin’s Parnell Square, where marchers from throughout the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland gathered before walking two kilometers along O’Connell Street to Merrion Square. 

The crowds in Merrion Square welcomed a number of speakers including doctors, politicians, mothers and people with disabilities. Unborn babies diagnosed with disabilities will be particularly at risk if their constitutional rights are abolished.

Dr. Judy Ceannt, a medical doctor, told the Rally that the government wants to repeal the 8th so that they can make general practitioners provide abortion on demand for the first three months of an unborn baby's life.

"They have not even consulted us doctors,” she said. “The basic law that governs our actions as doctors is first ‘do no harm.’ We are not meant to intentionally kill or harm any patient, least of all the most helpless, the unborn baby.  The government has no right to impose this on us."

Another doctor, Maire Neasta Nic Gearailt, showed the crowd a €100 voucher for eyeglasses which she said would be sent to Senator Catherine Noone. Noone, the Irish government’s abortion committee chairwoman, had said she “could not find” any doctors who favored keeping the 8th amendment.

Charlie Fien, a Down syndrome activist also spoke to the Rally. Fien won worldwide fame in March 2017 when she testified to the UN on behalf of babies with Down syndrome, asserting that she was not a monster and begging that people like her not be eradicated from the world. 

One mother testified to her feelings of anguish after having her baby aborted abroad. According to the UK’s Catholic Herald, Bernadette Goulding told the crowds gathering  in Parnell Square, “When I walked into that abortion facility that day, though I didn’t know it, my baby’s heart was beating under my own—my child was alive, and when I left, my baby’s heart was stopped, my baby was dead.”

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Dr. Jordan Peterson in a January 2018 interview with Britain’s Channel Four. Screen-grab
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Jordan Peterson: Disney’s Frozen is ‘deeply propagandistic,’ an ‘appalling piece of rubbish’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

TORONTO, March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Jordan Peterson, an authority on the psychology of religion and myth, may love stories, but he’s not so keen on propaganda. And as far as he’s concerned, Disney’s Frozen is propaganda.

“I could barely sit through Frozen,” Peterson told Time magazine. “There was an attempt to craft a moral message and to build the story around that, instead of building the story and letting the moral message emerge.”

“It was the subjugation of art to propaganda, in my estimation.”

Peterson explained that classic fairy tales have an underlying dynamic of archetypes (symbols expressing human psychology), and this aspect was completely missing from Disney’s “modern fable.”

In his bestselling 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Peterson praises Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid, for their attention to the “masculine” symbol of consciousness.  

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

Observing what happens to Sleeping Beauty because her parents shelter her too much from “the dangerous and dark side of reality”, Peterson writes that by puberty the girl is still “unconscious.”

“The masculine spirit, her prince, is both a man who could save her, by tearing her from her parents, and her own consciousness, trapped in a dungeon by the machinations of the dark side of femininity.”

The dark side of femininity is represented by the Evil Queen, who turns into the “Dragon of Chaos” itself.

“The symbolic masculine defeats her with truth and faith, and finds the princess, whose eyes he opens with a kiss.”

Peterson concedes that some would object that a woman does not need a man to rescue her, an objection he found in “Disney’s more recent and deeply propagandistic Frozen.” The professor suspects a woman really does need it, however, at very least if she wants or has a child and thus needs masculine aid and support.

That said, Peterson believes the real point of the ancient story of “Sleeping Beauty “is that a woman needs consciousness to be rescued and “consciousness is symbolically masculine and has been since the beginning of time.”

“The Prince could be a lover, but he could also be a woman’s own attentiveness, clarity of vision, and tough-minded independence,” the psychologist writes. “These are masculine traits--in actuality, as well as symbolically, as men are actually less tender-minded and agreeable than women, on average, and less susceptible to anxiety and emotional pain” (page 324).

Peterson goes on in the chapter to describe Disney’s The Little Mermaid approvingly, for there too both the goodness and darkness of femininity are acknowledged and masculine consciousness wins the day.

In his interview with Time, Peterson explained that the the genre of folk tales to which Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid belong goes back 13,000 years. Far from being propaganda, such “properly balanced” stories provide an equal representation of the negative and positive attributes of a being.

“In the propagandistic story, you don’t see that,” Peterson explained. “You see the darkness all being in one place and the light all being in one place.”

Peterson, whose advice is helping a generation of young men find their way in increasingly anti-male western society, particularly objected to the sudden transformation of “a perfectly good guy” in Frozen into “a villain without any character development.”

In a lecture about the psychological dynamics of Sleeping Beauty, Peterson called Frozen an “appalling piece of rubbish.”  He believes that Frozen was written merely to counter the age-old story of the rescuing prince.

“Well, you think, how sexist can you get? Well, seriously, that’s the way that [“Sleeping Beauty”] would be read in the modern world: ‘She doesn’t need a prince to rescue her!’,” he mimicked, throwing his arms about in mockery of this view. “That’s why Disney made Frozen, that absolutely appalling piece of rubbish.”

Watch Dr. Peterson discuss Sleeping Beauty and Frozen:

Peterson argued that it was wrong to read “Sleeping Beauty”--or anything else--as “patriarchal.”

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

“Really,” he said, “we can do better than that, man.”

Frozen, a hit with little girls throughout the English-speaking world, is believed by some LGBT activists to be “metaphor” for secret homosexuality, and speculation is rife that its heroine will be “outed” as a lesbian in a forthcoming sequel.

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Gay activists lobby Disney to make Elsa a lesbian in Frozen 2

In Disney’s much anticipated Frozen 2, Elsa just might be a lesbian

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

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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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Pro-LGBT event drops ‘Catholic’ label after archbishop’s warning

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By Doug Mainwaring

CINCINNATI, Ohio, March 13, 2018  (LifeSiteNews) – An upcoming pro-LGBT event at the University of Cincinnati has dropped the word “Catholicism” from its title after the local Archbishop issued a stern warning about the event to clergy.

Promoters of the one day symposium, formerly titled Building Bridges: A Dialogue on Faith, Catholicism, and the LGBTQ Community, are now no longer representing the event as Catholic.  Pro-gay Vatican consultant Fr. James Martin and dissident nun Sr. Jeannine Gramick are among the featured speakers.

In a March 9 letter addressed to “Fathers and Deacons” within his diocese, Cincinnati’s Archbishop Dennis Schnurr said, “To be very clear, despite its billing, the event 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.

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

The symposium’s title is drawn from the June 2016 book Building a Bridge by Fr. James Martin, who is calling 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.”

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 Jeannine 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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Cardinal Blase Cupich Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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Cardinal Cupich: ‘Evangelization’ doesn’t mean converting Jews to Catholicism

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By Claire Chretien

ANALYSIS

GLENCOE, Illinois, March 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Quoting Pope Francis, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich said “proselytism” is a “sin” that the Catholic Church has “not always avoided.”

Cupich said this during a speech on Catholic-Jewish relations at the North Shore Congregation Israel synagogue on January 29, 2018. The synagogue advertises on its website, “We are interfaith. We are LGBTQ.”  

Cupich discussed the Jewish and Catholic importance of maintaining “tradition” while simultaneously criticizing the Church’s previous “ridiculous” tradition of limiting mixed-religion marriages, invoked the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s “consistent ethic of life” that equates intrinsic evils with societal ills, and warned against his definition of religious “identity politics.”

He expressed support for Jewish parents passing on the Jewish faith to their children and Catholic parents passing on the Catholic faith to their children.

The cardinal discussed his initiative to “renew the Church” and the “new evangelization,” which he said cannot be taken to mean the dismissal of the Second Vatican Council’s ambiguities on ecumenism. He also apologized to those present for any “distressful and hostile attitudes” or “deception” they may have experienced from Catholics.

READ: Pope: It’s a ‘very grave sin’ for Catholics to try to convert Orthodox

He said the “renewal” of the Church can be done by “returning to roots of traditions” but also condemned the traditional Catholic approach of converting people of other religions to Catholicism.

Discussing the “sin” of “proselytism,” Cupich said:

Sadly, mission efforts by Catholics and some other Christian communities have not always avoided these sins. There have been times when human and financial support have been tied to conversion. Other times, conversion was required through the force of state power or ecclesial power. Still others, and even in our day, deception is found in the presentation of Christianity to others. Often this means presenting only the positive elements of one’s religion in contrast to the weaknesses of the other. Again, we have to admit, frankly, that Catholics have not been free from such attitudes and actions.

In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II acknowledged the errors born of missionary zeal and a false sense of service to the truth. This is what he said: ‘Let us ask pardon for the violence some have used in the service of the truth and for the distressful and hostile attitude sometimes taken towards the followers of other religions. We humbly ask forgiveness for the part which each of us has had in these evils by our own actions, thus helping to disfigure the face of the Church.’ Tonight, if any of you have experienced anything of this nature from Catholics in your own life, I too ask your forgiveness.

“Some people today worry that the new stress on evangelization by the Catholic Church means that we are abandoning our commitments made in Vatican II about ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue and religious freedom,” he continued. “I want to be clear as possible tonight: we will not abandon these commitments, either here in Chicago or throughout the universal church. For abandoning them would mean abandoning who we are, who we claim to be.”

Is Jesus ‘the way, the truth, and the life’?

The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one true religion and Catholicism is the ordinary means of salvation (John 14:6; The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism, Chapter 1, part 23; CCC 846). However, it acknowledges that there can be elements of truth in other religions and such elements are true insofar as they are in line with Catholic teaching. “All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to ‘Catholic unity,’” the Catechism explains (CCC 819).

This teaching has become largely obfuscated over the past 50 years.

During his lengthy speech, Cupich repeatedly brought up the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate (“In Our Time”), which addressed the Church’s relationship with other religions.

Some interpret Nostra Aetate as inconsistent with or at the very least muddying the Catholic Church’s teaching that it alone is the one true religion.

“I’m pleased that over my 20 years as a bishop, whenever Jewish and other leaders have expressed concern about particular contemporary Church statements or actions, their first question is, ‘is this consistent with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council?’” he said. “You know the Council even better than some Catholics, I think.”

Cupich also quoted documents from the U.S. bishops and high-ranking Vatican prelates that essentially tell Catholics not to try to convert Jews to Catholicism, despite Christ’s command to “go and baptize all nations” and that he is “the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Cupich: ‘No Catholic is free to reject the teaching of Nostra Aetate’

Cupich’s commitment to not “abandoning” the “dialogue” between Jews and Catholics is rooted in Vatican II, he said.

“I make such a commitment knowing that it lies in the heart of the new direction taken by the Second Vatican Council expressed in Nostra Aetate and Dignitatis Humanae,” he said. “Yet the need for continual vigilance is always there. The Church is still receiving this teaching and further expressing it for its depth.”

“It’s important for leaders like me to remind my own community that no Catholic is free to reject the teaching of Nostra Aetate,” continued Cupich. “It is grounded in the Second Vatican Council’s document on the Constitution of the Church, Lumen Gentium. It is not optional. Likewise, it is important for me to remind those I serve that our own understandings of these teachings has further developed over these past 50 years and that, too, has to be observed. Nostra Aetate was not a solitary moment in the Church’s history. It began a process rather than completing one.”

Cupich’s assertion that Nostra Aetate is “not optional” raises the question: does that mean that every previous, clear Church and/or papal statement on Catholicism being the fullness of the truth is optional?

Cupich’s contention that “no Catholic is free to reject the teaching of Nostra Aetate” conflicts with what Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei Archbishop Guido Pozzo says about the document.

Pozzo, who is overseeing the full reunion of the canonically irregular group the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) with Rome, said:

Nostra Aetate does not have any dogmatic authority, and thus one cannot demand from anyone to recognize this declaration as being dogmatic. This declaration can only be understood in the light of tradition and of the continuous Magisterium. For example, there exists today, unfortunately, the view — contrary to the Catholic Faith — that there is a salvific path independent of Christ and His Church. That has also been officially confirmed last of all by the Congregation for the Faith itself in its declaration, Dominus Iesus. Therefore, any interpretation of Nostra Aetate which goes into this [erroneous] direction is fully unfounded and has to be rejected.

Because of this, according to Pozzo, the SSPX may not have to accept all of Vatican II as a condition of being fully reunited with Rome.

Cupich’s assertion that Nostra Aetate is “not optional” raises the question: does that mean that every previous, clear Church and/or papal statement on Catholicism being the fullness of the truth is optional?

Does God want everyone to be Catholic?

Cupich’s view on inter-religious “dialogue” is not limited to his left-wing episcopate. Even Pope Benedict XVI and Pope St. John Paul II – both of whom he quoted – made ambiguous statements about whether Catholics should try to convert Jews to Catholicism. And Pope Francis has made a number of statements that suggest no one need convert to Catholicism.

Many today suggest trying to convert Jews to Catholicism is “anti-semitic” or trying to convert Muslims to Catholicism is “anti-Muslim.”

If Catholicism isn’t the one true faith, then why bother being Catholic at all, let alone convert others?

However, the Catholics who do try to convert those of other religions, particularly non-Christian ones, maintain that they are following Jesus’ command to “baptize all nations” and spread the Gospel around the world – and that in doing so they are helping others get to heaven. It would be anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim not to try to convert them, they say, because it would not be conducive to their salvation.

Some of the pro-conversion-of-all philosophy also ask, if Catholicism isn’t the one true faith, then why bother being Catholic at all, let alone convert others?

Church documents from before Vatican II, however, clearly express the belief that Catholicism is the one true religion to which everyone should convert. And Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae says that what it expressed about religious freedom “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”

In Pope Pius XI’s Mortalium Animos, the pontiff asked, “Who would dare to say that he loved Christ, unless he worked with all his might to carry out the desires of Him, Who asked His Father that His disciples might be ‘one’”?   

Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae says that what it expressed about religious freedom “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.”

The Church’s pre-Vatican II language on other religions is far from “hateful” or “mean,” contrary to contemporary claims. My Catholic Faith, a version of the 1949 Catechism, answers the question, “What should be the attitude of Catholics towards those who do not belong to the True Church?”

“Catholics should observe an attitude of understanding towards them, because the majority of those who do not belong to the True Church are in good faith,” it says. “Catholic teachings are not easy to understand at first sight; many Catholic practices require sacrifice. Towards such a religion there is bound to be prejudice.”

“In our friendly discussions with non-Catholics we should not always be on the defensive, but should try to see whether they can trace the origin of the authority of their ministers to the Apostles,” it instructs.

Cupich’s stunningly true pro-life answer: Baby in the womb is ‘human,’ not ‘aardvark’

Cupich, who has said unemployment is just as bad as abortion, repeated that line of thinking during a question after his talk.

“How do we pursue our common cause with peace and justice” when we disagree on abortion being the killing of a human, a man asked the cardinal.

“I would…go back to something that Cardinal Bernardin talked about and that I’ve tried to build on: this consistent ethic of life and my call for a consistent ethic of solidarity,” answered Cupich. “I think that you cannot be pro-life from the first moment of conception [to] the first moment of birth only. That we’re concerned about the unborn – it’s a concern for us – but our concern doesn’t end there.”

After elaborating more on his beliefs in a “consistent life” life ethic that addresses many societal issues in addition to abortion, Cupich then gave a surprisingly biting defense of the humanity of the preborn child.

“The other thing I would say about the embryo is that it is alive,” he said. “There’s something alive there, isn’t there? And it’s not aardvark. You know, those cells are human DNA. So I think that one really can’t make a case that it’s not alive or that it’s [not] human. So that’s where we come from. That’s why [life] should be respected.”

‘Glad that’s in the rear-view mirror’

Cupich ended his appearance at North Shore Congregation Israel by answering a question about marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics. The Church used to be much stricter about letting Catholics and non-Catholics marry, but has significantly loosened that since Vatican II. However, for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic in the Church, the couple must promise to raise their kids Catholic. Catholics are not permitted to marry non-Catholics outside of the Catholic Church.

The cardinal said he urges non-Catholic parties in mixed marriages to be “good” Jews, Presbyterians, Muslims, or whatever other religion they might be.

There used to be a “terrible practice of telling people they had to convert to Catholicism” to marry a Catholic, said Cupich, and this was “ridiculous.”

“We’re glad that’s in the rear-view mirror,” he said, but future generations must be made to see it this way as well. “If we don’t remember and tell our kids about the past, they’re going to repeat it.”

The full video of Cupich’s talk is available here.

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New Ontario Conservative leader Doug Ford vows to repeal radical sex-ed

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Newly elected Ontario PC Party leader Doug Ford has vowed to scrap the Kathleen Wynne Liberal government’s radical sex-ed curriculum.

Ford spoke to reporters Monday following his cliffhanger victory over the weekend, which was confirmed when his closest rival, Christine Elliott, conceded defeat Sunday.

The Liberals implemented the sex-ed curriculum in all Ontario’s publicly funded schools in 2015, despite massive parental backlash.

Critics say the curriculum prematurely sexualizes children and destroys their innocence by introducing homosexuality and “gender identity” in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6, and oral and anal sex in Grade 7. It teaches students there are six genders rather than two biological sexes.

“We will repeal it and then we’ll make sure we consult with parents and teachers,” Ford told reporters. “We have to make sure we tweak a few things in there and then we’ll move forward.”

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

From the outset of the turbulent, six-week campaign, Ford said he’d review the sex-ed program.

But he then significantly upped the ante during a candidate interview with Campaign Life Coalition by promising to repeal it, the CLC voter guide attests.

In this Ford followed the lead of Tanya Granic Allen, the social conservative candidate Campaign Life Coalition fully endorsed.

“Mission accomplished!” Granic Allen emailed to her supporters Tuesday.  “Even though I did not win the leadership, we now have a Leader – in Doug Ford – who is committed to the repeal of the Wynne sex-ed curriculum.”

Indeed, commentators across the political spectrum credit Granic Allen, who put her support behind Ford at the March 10 leadership convention, as the crucial “king maker” in the race.

That’s echoed by Jack Fonseca, Campaign Life Coalition’s senior political strategist.

“It has been almost universally acknowledged by the mainstream media that the social conservative vote is the key factor which crowned him king. That’s indisputable based on analysis of the numbers,” Fonseca noted in an analysis of the race.

Campaign Life Coalition urged its supporters to put Ford’s name second on the ranked ballot after Granic Allen, who as president of Parents As First Educators has been at the forefront of the battle against the sex-ed curriculum.

It also lauded Ford for asserting on the campaign trail that parents should be told when their minor daughters seek an abortion.

Under Ontario consent and privacy laws, it’s the doctor who assesses a child’s capacity to consent to an abortion, no matter how young. And because the discussion is protected by patient-doctor confidentiality, parents are completely excluded.

“Kids can’t even get their tonsils out without the approval of their parents,” Ford told the CBC while campaigning in London. “I think we’ve got to consult parents, and that’s what we have to do.”

The Campaign Life voter guide notes that Ford also supports conscience rights, and is opposed to the Liberal government’s law banning pro-life witness within 50 meters of the province’s eight abortion centers.

However, some skeptics may point out this is deja vu all over again.

Campaign Life Coalition endorsed former PC Party leader Patrick Brown in his 2015 leadership bid, based on his impeccable pro-life voting record as a federal MP and his promise to “scrap” the sex-ed.

Once elected leader, Brown infamously flip-flopped on sex-ed, did a complete about-face on abortion, marched in homosexual Pride Parades and told social conservatives their convictions weren’t welcome in his party.

Brown’s resignation January 25 amid allegations of sexual misconduct he denies triggered the hasty Tory leadership race.

But Fonseca says the obvious answer to this is that Ford is not Brown.

“From what I’ve seen of Doug Ford, he seems to be sincere,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Of course, there’s no guarantees, and a politician can always betray you. But Ford has consistently repeated his promise he’ll repeal the sex ed, and I expect he’ll honour that promise.”

Moreover, there are “thousands” of social conservatives in the party, as well as some MPPs, to support and exhort Ford in making good on his promise, Fonseca said.

Ford will need that support and gentle pressure in the face of a liberal media, which is already “hammering” the new Tory leader on the issue, he added.

Fonseca isn’t put off by Ford saying the economy would be his top priority if he’s elected premier.

“He told Campaign Life that the sex-ed curriculum would be an ‘early priority’ in his administration,” Fonseca said.

“We understand his top priority is bringing relief to the downtrodden taxpayer, so we don’t expect Ford to leapfrog the repeal of Wynne’s sex program over that. Making the repeal an ‘early priority” is good enough.”

A former Toronto councillor and brother of the late Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Ford predicted the PC Party will sweep the Wynne Liberals out of power in the June 7 election.

Fonseca urged social conservatives to mobilize to defeat Wynne and the Liberals.

“Ford is not fully pro-life and not onside with all our issues, but with him at the helm, the PC Party is nonetheless a genuine, viable alternative to the left-wing, anti-life, Wynne Liberals,” he said.

“All Ontario pro-life and pro-family advocates need to get involved in this critical election campaign. We only have twelve weeks. Let’s make them count.”

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Ontario Conservative leadership hopeful: Parents should be told when 11-year-olds get abortion

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U.S. Catholics think Pope Francis making Church more accepting of homosexuality: survey

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By Claire Chretien

March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A newly-released Pew Research survey indicates that American Catholics’ Mass attendance has dropped during the Francis pontificate, and that roughly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics think Pope Francis has made the Church more accepting of homosexuality.

Seven in ten American Catholics said they thought Pope Francis has made the Church more accepting of divorce and remarriage.

The year before the pontificate of Pope Francis began – during Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy – 41 percent of Catholics in the U.S. attended Mass weekly. Now, only 38 percent of respondents said they attend Mass every week.

Michael Hichborn, President of the Lepanto Institute, told LifeSiteNews he finds it interesting that “all of those numbers” indicating support for the Pope’s bishop appointments, environmental advocacy, and help for homosexuality “are concomitant with those who do not attend Mass on a weekly basis.”

Some of the ways in which the data were presented were “really misleading,” said Hichborn.

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The survey “talks about 62 percent not attending Mass, which means 38 percent are attending Mass,” he explained. “And then it says Catholics who attend Mass are more positive about Pope Francis’ performance than those who attend church less frequently. That’s incredibly misleading. Because the percentage of those who are attending Mass” is just 38 percent of all the Catholics polled.

So that statistic really means “78 percent of 38 percent of all those polled,” said Hichborn, which is “really misleading.”

“The survey also finds signs of growing polarization along partisan lines in Catholics’ views of Francis,” Pew reported, with the number of Republican or Republican-leaning Catholics who think the pope is too liberal more than doubling since 2015 – up from 23 percent to 55 percent.

During the first year of this pontificate, “there was no discernible difference between the share of Catholic Republicans (90%) and Democrats (87%) who expressed a favorable view of Francis,” Pew noted. But now, “the pope’s favorability rating is 10 points higher among Catholic Democrats (89%) than among Catholic Republicans (79%)” and “the share of Catholic Republicans who say Francis represents a major, positive change for the Catholic Church has declined from 60% to 37%.”

Below are some other key findings on this pontificate and life and family issues, as reported by Pew:

  • Roughly half of Catholics (55%) say the priests at their parish are “very supportive” of Pope Francis, and an additional 23% say their priests are “somewhat supportive” of the pontiff. Roughly one-in-five self-identified Catholics decline to answer the question or else volunteer that they do not attend church often enough to assess the level of support for Francis among their parish priests. Just 2% say their priests are “not too” or “not at all” supportive of the pontiff.
  • Roughly six-in-ten Catholics (58%) say Francis is doing an “excellent” or “good” job appointing new bishops and cardinals, and 55% say he is doing an “excellent” or “good” job addressing environmental issues.
  • Among U.S. Catholics as a whole, roughly three-quarters say the pontiff has done “a lot” (33%) or “a little” (41%) to make the Catholic Church more accepting of homosexuality. And seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics say Pope Francis has done “a lot” (26%) or “a little” (43%) to make the church more accepting of divorce and remarriage.
  • The survey shows, furthermore, that most Catholics seem to approve of Francis’ actions in these areas. Six-in-ten Catholics (63%) say Francis has done at least a little to promote acceptance of homosexuality, and also say he has done “about the right amount” or that they would like to see him “do more” on this issue. Similarly, 64% of Catholics say the pope has done at least a little to increase acceptance of divorce and remarriage, and that he has done “the right amount” or that they would like him to “do more.”

Despite the overwhelming perception of Pope Francis as loosening the Church’s attitude toward behaviors it has always labeled immoral, “seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics say Pope Francis is doing a good or an excellent job spreading the Catholic faith and standing up for traditional moral values.” (But 62 percent of U.S. Catholics don’t go to Sunday Mass.)

The poll “shows an extremely poor catechesis within the Catholic Church,” said Hichborn. “The bishops who are very supportive of Pope Francis have played into the propaganda machine that is pushing a hard-left agenda. And they’re pushing it within the parishes...The only useful thing that this poll gives is the sad state of affairs within the Church.”

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Bypassing sex to create babies does more harm than good to everyone involved: OB-GYN doctor

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By Lisa Bourne
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Dr. Lester Ruppersberger speaks at the Bringing America Back to Life convention Mar. 9, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews.com

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The for-profit Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) industry that creates babies for infertile couples is nothing but a scourge on humanity, an obstetrician-gynecologist of 36 years indicated to attendees at a pro-life convention on the weekend. 

The ART industry takes advantage of women desperate for children, it commodifies human life by putting a price tag on it, and, most concerning, it destroys countless numbers of tiny humans it has created in the laboratory, said Dr. Lester Ruppersberger, immediate past president of the Catholic Medical Association, at the Bringing America Back to Life convention last Friday in Cleveland, Ohio. The comprehensive pro-life conference was presented by Cleveland Right to Life.

The ART industry has money and popularity, Ruppersberger said. This fuels the exploitation of women and their bodies and brings more and more disturbing reproductive technologies to the forefront. 

The doctors outlined how much of the industry is unregulated. Its level of success is nominal. Certain aspects of the so-called “treatment” carry serious risks physically as well as psychologically to both mother and conceived child. There is also the various legal issues that crop up when people begin fighting over who owns and has the right to decide what to do with frozen fertilized eggs (which are, in fact, tiny humans). 

He outlined how the industry destroys so much human life. There’s the loss of countless “created” pre-born children every year through “selective reduction” when multiple implantations occur, “defective” embryos “discarded” for varying reasons, and frozen embryos not surviving the thawing process. 

“We’ve commodified it,” Ruppersberger told LifeSiteNews. “We’ve made life a commodity.”

The flip side of women desperate to have children is those who treat fertility as a disease, as something to manage with pills, inserts, and injections. Ruppersberger emphasized that fertility is a gift and not a disease.

The disease falsehood fuels the contraception and abortion industries, he said. This is because when a woman becomes pregnant while taking a pill to avoid it, she suddenly has a ‘problem’ that needs to be eliminated. 

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The mindset created by contraception that disregards fertility and life as a gift has direct implications in the area of ART, where life is now commodified and exploited. 

“Having babies is not an intimate, relationship-oriented blessing (with ART),” Ruppersberger said. “It’s a commodity.” 

“I’m going to go to the store, and I’m going to buy one,” he said. “And the store is the ART office, and the buying is the $12,000 that you write the check for it … or they put you on a payment plan and you pay it off like a mortgage, and maybe your insurance company will cover some of it.”

“It’s not women’s healthcare,” Ruppersberger stated. “It’s not authentic, it’s not healthy for women, but you get somebody that’s desperate.”

The desperation factor is so powerful, he said, and some women want a baby so badly they will do anything, let anyone manipulate them, abuse them, operate on them, stick needles in them, give them drugs, pump them with hormones and spend any amount of money, just so they could have a baby.

This is objectifying the child as with when a child is unwanted in an unplanned pregnancy, but likewise in those cases, the mother, or potential mother, needs compassion, understanding, and correct information.

“People are willing to write a check for $10,000-$12,000, and the ART industry only has a 30% success rate,” Ruppersberger points out.

“If you bought an airline ticket and you were taking your family to Disney, and you went to the airport terminal, and you were getting on the plane and the agent said to you, “Well we only land successfully 30% of the time  … uh, but you’re in Row-4.” 

“Are you gonna get on the plane?” he asked.

In contending with desperate would-be parents, Ruppersberger has the unique sum of experience combining his medical training, the clinical practice aspect and also personal experience with infertility challenges when trying to have children. 

When someone is so desperate for children that they disregard the huge cost, low success rate, and medical risks – how do you reach them when there are souls potentially at risk, theirs and those of pre-born children they may create or procure?

“You love them,” Ruppersberger told LifeSiteNews.

“Follow Jesus’ method,” he said. “Most of the time, if you look in the bible and people confront him, he doesn’t get defensive – He asked a question.” 

“And they don’t have the fullness of the truth,” said Ruppersberger, “and you do.”

“Sometimes when they’re giving you their answer, they’re going to say they’re non-fullness of the truth, and that’s your door of entry into their heart,” he said.

“If you can engage in that discussion, there will be an opening,” added Ruppersberger. “And it’s only through the Holy Spirit that that opening will be revealed to you.”

People facing these struggles are frequently wounded and suffering.

“They’re going to open that door a crack in their woundedness,” Ruppersberger said, “and that’s where you can step in. And that’s where you can provide them with some answer, some direction, some focus.”

He recommends that people desiring to become involved in this issue contact their Respect Life committee at the parish level, bring it up with their bible group, have their parent-teacher organization bring in speakers at age-appropriate levels in high school, engage youth groups and youth ministries in the issue and get involved in crisis pregnancy centers. 

While the doctor is in a position to present on the topic large-scale at conferences such as Bringing America Back to Life, that scenario doesn’t apply to everyone. But even he makes use of any one-on-one chance he encounters as well.

The more people who are educated in the specifics who can engage in discussion on the issue the better. 

“Because the education has to be out there, and a lot of times its one-on-one,” Ruppersberger said. “A lot of times it’s just one person at a time.” 

“How did Jesus call all of the disciples and apostles?” he asked. “Hey Matthew, you want to come follow me? Hey James, how about you? Peter, does your brother want to come too? So he called one at a time.” 

“You’d like to do 800 or a thousand at once,” he said, referencing the Cleveland Right to Life conference, “but it may be one at a time.”

Ruppersberger’s presentations from Bringing America Back to Life, “The New Reproductive Science,” and ”Evidence-Based Ethics Contraception/NFP,” will be available on the convention website along with the rest of the roster of speakers.

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One of Canada’s top pro-life MPs loses bid to run in federal election

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By Lianne Laurence

SASKATOON, March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — One of Canada’s most outspoken pro-life and pro-family politicians has lost his bid to run in his long-held riding for the Conservative Party in the next federal election.

MP Brad Trost narrowly lost the Conservative nomination race in his Saskatoon-University riding in a shocking upset Saturday.

The five-time Conservative MP reportedly lost by 29 votes to Corey Tochor, a two-term provincial MLA who resigned in January as speaker of the Saskatchewan legislature to enter the race.

Trost told the CBC Monday he was defeated “because I was too complacent. I took it for granted and I really didn’t start working until early January.”

He also told CBC that members of the party had endorsed him.

Tochor told the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix when he declared his candidacy that Trost “is rightfully or wrongfully a polarizing figure. I believe after talking to members and the public that we need still a principled voice but a fresh start in how we represent Saskatoon in Ottawa. I believe that’s what I represent.”

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Saskatoon businessman Brad Redekopp also challenged Trost’s nomination.

According to Joseph Ben-Ami, Trost’s campaign manager, Trost’s supporters bear some responsibility for Saturday’s outcome.

“I think Brad did a lot of work, he did all of the right things,” but “a number of his supporters, I guess, didn’t really understand the gravity of the situation and simply didn’t show up to exercise their democratic right to vote,” Ben-Ami told LifeSiteNews.

“This is not an unusual thing,” he added. “People become complacent and there are consequences to complacency.”

Trost said on Facebook Saturday he won’t represent the Conservative Party in the 2019 federal election.

But Ben-Ami says it’s “too early to say” what the future holds for Trost, who has been MP for Saskatoon since 2004, and finished fourth of 13 in the leadership race last May.

“I think everybody, including Brad himself, was surprised by the outcome of the voting on Saturday,” Ben-Ami said.

While Trost currently doesn’t intend to seek the nomination in another riding, Ben-Ami said, “I think it’s fair to say that he’s going to take a period of time to collect his thoughts and when he’s ready to make an announcement with respect to his immediate future plans, then he’ll do that.”

He contended that the “overwhelming majority of members of the [riding] association supported Brad,” and that Trost will continue to be vocal on life issues.

“These are views he holds very strongly, they’re sensible, they’re not radical by any stretch of the imagination and he’s going to continue to speak out on these issues,” Ben-Ami told LifeSiteNews.

Jeff Gunnarson, vice president of Campaign Life Coalition, says his organization is “devastated” at Trost’s loss, but at the same time, the nomination challenge was not unexpected.

“We had heard there is bad blood amongst the weak conservatives within the party ranks and caucus, and not surprised when we heard he was being challenged,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“We are in favour of open nominations — it is democracy at work. But what we don't like is the perceived targeting of staunch and vocal pro-lifers such as Brad and Cheryl [Gallant].”

Gallant, a pro-life MP in the Ottawa area, won her nomination race late last month.

“Brad is a traditional conservative, a true blue conservative. He has a strong moral character and he doesn’t mince words,” Gunnarson observed. “He is not politically correct and that makes him an anathema in most parties.”

Ben-Ami concurred that Trost’s unapologetic defence of life and family values through his 14 years as an MP didn’t sit well with some Conservatives.

“I do think that there were some people who felt that Brad’s views were out of step — social conservative views — with many people in his riding … and so a couple of challengers came forward,” he said.

It’s reasonable to conclude that Tuchor “probably received some encouragement at a minimum from the party,” in Ben-Ami’s view.

“I think it’s fair to say that a person of that stature would not have stepped down from his position with the legislature and in the caucus in Saskatchewan, without having done a certain amount of due diligence,” he said.

“So I would expect that there have at least been some conversations between him and party officials. Who those party officials were, I couldn’t say.”

Meanwhile, Trost is locked in an ongoing and hotly contested legal dispute with the Conservative Party brass and leadership election committee.

The party alleged that Trost’s campaign leaked his membership list to the National Firearms Association just after the leadership race, and fined him $50,000 in June.

Trost took the matter to court in October, asserting that the allegations were false and injurious to his reputation.

He further argued in his application for a judicial review that the Conservative leadership violated party rules in its investigation, that the Chief Returning Officer did not conduct an inquiry as he should have, and that his list was available to Conservative officials and individuals outside Trost’s campaign.

A hearing on the matter is imminent, but the Conservative Party “is trying to block us from continuing with our case in court,” according to Ben-Ami.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to make an assumption that some of these people have been using their power within the party to push forward an agenda that has been not helpful to Brad, and not helpful frankly, to social conservatives.”

Gunnarson said he hopes Trost isn’t done with politics.

“I would encourage him to stay involved in the party locally and opportunities will invariably fall in his lap that may be worth his consideration,” he said.

“And of course if he did run in another riding we would support that completely and would help in all the ways of which we are capable.”

The Star-Phoenix reported in February that an estimated 1,500 members were eligible to vote in the nomination race.

However, Rod Meier, president of the Saskatoon-University Conservative riding association declined to comment.

Sean Osmar, regional political officer for the Conservative Party had not returned a request from LifeSiteNews to confirm numbers of voters in the contest by deadline.

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Trump nominates new pro-life secretary of state

Austin Ruse
By Austin Ruse

March 13, 2018 (C-Fam) – President Trump announced this morning that Rex Tillerson is out as U.S. Secretary of State and will be replaced by former Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo who serves currently as Director of Central Intelligence.

This will be considered good news by pro-life and pro-family advocates since Pompeo has a lengthy record in support of a right to life and in opposition to the homosexual agenda.

It has never been clear what positions Rex Tillerson has on abortion and same-sex marriage, though he served on the board of directors of the Boy Scouts when the group began to allow out homosexual scout leaders.

As a Congressman, Pompeo said he believed life begins at conception and ends at natural death. He co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act which said, "each human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which time every human has all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood..."

Pompeo co-sponsored the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act that called for the prohibition of federal funding to any group that performs abortions.

Pompeo co-sponsored a bill that would have included the unborn child in 14th amendment protections.

He voted to prohibit abortion information at school health centers. He voted to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood and voted to defund the UN Population Fund.

On the issue of LGBT, Pompeo has consistently supported the traditional understanding of marriage and has stood in opposition to the homosexual agenda. He opposed repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy that prevented open homosexuals from serving in the military. Pompeo supported the Defense of Marriage Act and decried it being struck down.

On the Obergefell decision that imposed same-sex marriage on the country, Pompeo said, "Creating, out of nowhere, a federal right to marry, flies in the face of centuries of shared understanding of our Constitution. It is a shocking abuse of power. It is wrong. I will continue to fight to protect our most sacred institutions; Kansans and our nation deserve no less."

Pompeo has come under attack from the LGBT establishment for his strong views on human sexuality.

Pompeo said, "As a Kansan, I hold a deep reverence for the sanctity of life, the solidarity of family, and the solemnity of marriage. I will continue the fight to uphold these fundamental ideals each and every day. I am, and always will be pro-life and will defend life from conception to natural death. I will continue to oppose any taxpayer funding for abortion. I also fully support the traditional institution of marriage. Strong families are the most important building block of our Republic, and we must preserve them for the sake of our community and our culture."

The reason this is important to pro-lifers is that the under the Democrats the U.S. became a font of radical social policy around the world and at the UN. The expectation is that Pompeo understands this and will put a stop to it.

Pompeo graduated first in his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and he took a degree from the Harvard Law School where he edited the Law Review. He came out of the very conservative Tea Party political movement and becomes the second prominent and socially conservative Kansan to take a top spot at the State Department. Former Kansas Governor Sam Brownback now serves as U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom.

Published with permission from C-Fam.

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The View’s Joy Behar apologizes for calling Christian faith ‘mental illness’

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By Fr. Mark Hodges

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Behar's apology. 

NEW YORK CITY, New York, March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – ABC’s The View panelist Joy Behar apologized publicly today for characterizing Vice President Mike Pence’s Christianity as a “mental illness” on nationwide television. She did so after first apologizing to the Vice President privately and being encouraged by him to apologize to all Christians.

"I think Vice-President Mike Pence is right," Behar said on the show. "I was raised to respect everyone's religious faith and I fell short of that. I sincerely apologize for what I said."

Pence told Sean Hannity Monday how he had asked Behar for a public apology.

"I felt it was important that I defend the faith of tens-of-millions of Americans against that kind of slander," he said, referring to him asking Behar to apologize publicly. 

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On February 13, Behar mockingly called the Vice President’s faith “mental illness” because he listens to God speaking in his heart during personal prayer.  The next day a somber Pence responded that such an attack on Christian prayer “was just wrong.”

“I’d like to laugh about it, but I really can’t,” the Vice President told Mike Allen of Axios in subdued tones.  He emphasized that The View’s deriding his Christianity is “an insult not to me, but to the vast majority of the American people who like me cherish their faith.”

The View participants were discussing former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman’s comment that the Vice President “thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”

“It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you,” Joy Behar ridiculed.  “That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct, hearing voices.”

“It’s just simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance,” Pence responded a day later.  “I’d like to be light about it, but I really can’t – not for my sake, but for the tens of millions of Americans who cherish their faith, I just, I can’t be silent.”

ABC-TV’s phone lines were inundated with over 30,000 calls from offended viewers.

Prior to Pence speaking publicly about the private apology, Disney CEO Bob Iger, which runs ABC-TV, confirmed that it had happened when a shareholder complained at last week’s meeting.

“What do you say to the tens of millions of Christians, and President Trump supporters, that your networks have so blatantly offended and ascribed hateful labels?” shareholder Justin Danhof asked Iger. 

“First of all, Joy Behar apologized to Vice President Pence directly,” Iger answered.  “She made a call to him and apologized, which I thought was absolutely appropriate.”

Fox News reported that Pence accepted Behar’s phone-in apology. However, the Vice President made it clear that he wasn’t offended out of self-concern but on behalf of the millions of Christians who watch The View.  He said Behar owes an apology to them on her show.

Behar’s manager Bill Stankey told the Washington Post that Behar “apologized to the Vice President, he accepted and said he wasn’t offended by her comment for his own sake but on behalf of the millions of evangelicals who watch ABC and her show,” the White House source confirmed.  “He encouraged her to make the same apology publicly on the show that she did privately to him.”

Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, which urged Christians to write and call ABC, said Behar’s private phone apology was inadequate. It hoped for a public one.   

“The bigoted statements made about the Vice President’s Christian faith offended hundreds of millions of Christians across the country, the largest faith group in the United States,” Bozell told Fox News. “Their apology should therefore be as public as their insult.”

The View’s Meghan McCain, an Evangelical Christian, had previously also apologized to Pence on air.  “I’m a great admirer of Mike Pence and his family,” she said.  “I would like to apologize to him and his family in particular.  This is a show where we respect one another.”

McCain added that she has sometimes felt that “liberals say, ‘We need to be tolerant of everyone’ except prolifers, except Trump supporters, except gun owners, except for everyone in the red in the middle of the country.”

McCain was immediately interrupted and told her impression was “not actually true” by The View host Whoopi Goldberg.

The American Thinker’s Monica Showalter notes that in an age when Christians are becoming increasingly fearful of speaking out publicly, Pence has proven a laudable exception.

“It’s the big problem in the Christian community these days,” Showalter wrote.  “Not even the Pope wants to admit he’s Christian, it sometimes seems.” 

In contrast, “Pence didn’t back down and that sets a good standard,” Showalter opined.  “And in doing this, he made it just a little easier to be Christian.”

“Hollywood culture and people like Joy Behar have gotten away with putting Christian beliefs down for decades,” Showalter concluded.  “Now with Pence’s leadership and viewer anger working in tandem, the cost of that just went up for the intolerant.”

Behar and The View’s February 13 derogatory comments may be viewed here. Vice President Pence’s somber response may be seen here.  The View’s self-defense a day later may be found here.

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The connection between Star Wars and the Culture Wars

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By John-Henry Westen

If you’ve watched the original Star Wars trilogy, you may remember the pivotal moment when Luke realizes he can no longer run from his father, Darth Vader, but that he must fight for the truth against the dark side of the force by turning himself over.

In this climactic scene, Luke reminds his father, “[Anakin Skywalker] is the name of your true self. You’ve only forgotten. I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn’t driven it from you fully.”

You are concerned over the growing darkness in our culture. But despite the daily attacks on life and family, we cannot simply throw in the towel and give victory to the dark side. After all, there is much hope! More importantly, there are many people just like you who want to do something to enact change.

You see what is happening in our world and wish, like Luke Skywalker, that you could draw your lightsaber and engage the evils of our culture.

Sometimes you must feel you are merely a spectator, feeling helpless as you watch the battle wage on in front of you. Yet that feeling couldn’t be further from the truth. You are more than a spectator, you are the hero to those who benefit from our news reporting.

You are both the battery for the lightsaber and the Luke Skywalker of this story!

LifeSiteNews is like a lightsaber. We investigate stories, uncover facts, and do the interviews. But we are only a weapon which is powered by your generosity and used by you and the faithful around the world to engage in the spiritual and societal battle surrounding us.

So, will you be the hero of the story today?

We must raise a minimum of $250,000 by March 29th to continue our pro-life and pro-family news reporting at its current high level in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. (Click here to donate!) You can help provide TRUTH across the world by donating to our Spring Campaign.

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HiMY SYeD
Jack Fonseca

Opinion,

Doug Ford won because of pro-life voters. And he’ll need them to beat Kathleen Wynne

Jack Fonseca
By Jack Fonseca
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March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Doug Ford won the PC leadership on Saturday by a razor-thin margin, beating the pro-abortion and pro-transgender ideology Christine Elliott by a mere 1.2% on the final ballot. Ford ended up with 50.6 per cent of electoral votes to Elliott's 49.4 per cent.

It has been almost universally acknowledged by the mainstream media that the social conservative vote was the key factor which crowned him king. That's indisputable based on analysis of the numbers.

Tanya Granic Allen won 15.3% of the electoral votes on the first ballot, barely behind Mulroney's 17.2%, wildly exceeding expectations of those who labelled her a "one-issue" or "fringe" candidate.

On the first ballot, Doug Ford was in second place, a little behind Elliott. But once Tanya dropped off, she catapulted him into first. An incredible 83% of her second ballot support went to Ford. And there Ford Nation stayed until the final ballot, moving him one step closer to the Premier's office.

Tanya's bold campaigning on parental rights and unapologetic stance as a pro-life candidate motivated social conservatives to get involved and put their ten bucks where their mouths were. 

When Ford then promised to repeal the child-abusive, Liberal sex ed curriculum, and made positive overtures to pro-lifers, it became an easy sell for social conservatives to rank Ford #2.

CLC had a record impact on the leadership race

Campaign Life Coalition recruited more than 9,000 PC members to support Tanya as the #1 ballot choice and Doug Ford as #2.  That's at least 50% more members than the 6,000 we recruited in 2015 in support of Monte McNaughton and the formerly pro-life Patrick Brown.

Virtually all of that second ballot support went to Ford. That, combined with Tanya's incredible performance is undeniably what put Ford in the Leader's chair.

We estimate that approximately 1,200 of those CLC supporter-members were cheated of their right to vote because the party did not send out their verification codes and/or ballots.  Therefore our supporters alone accounted for roughly 12% of the 64,053 votes cast.  

There are many who believe that some of the remaining Brown loyalists in the party establishment withheld verification letters from members suspected of not supporting Elliott.  

And if that's true, it means Ford would have won by an even greater margin if every member had been allowed to vote, because the pro-life/pro-family effect would have been even more pronounced.  

The numbers show that without social conservatives, Ford would almost certainly be runner-up and Christine Elliot would be Leader.  I'd bet a lot of money that even today, newspapers would be filled with stories about how Elliott had already started walking back the overtures she made to pro-life and pro-family voters. 

Fiscal conservatives too, should be grateful for the socon effect. I truly believe it would not have taken much longer for Elliott to start walking back her opposition to carbon taxes.

Mind-molding media elites trying to separate Ford from his base

For decades, the biased, left-wing media has successfully used its bully pulpit and fake news stories to steer conservative politicians into believing they can only win if they agree to play in a leftist sandbox with respect to public policy, and especially moral issues.

Liberal reporters, citing "expert opinions" from leftist consultants, pollsters and academics, strategically spit out torrents of op-eds which present as doctrinal fact, the unsubstantiated narrative that any politician or party whose platform includes pro-life and pro-family values will lose the general election.

That propaganda machine has already been revved up by many in the media, with the goal of scaring Doug Ford into abandoning the socially conservative campaign promises he made with respect to sex-ed and parental notification for parents of minor children seeking abortion.

Here's an example from the Toronto Star's Samantha Beattie on March 12th:

Bozinoff warned that Ford's socially conservative leadership campaign rhetoric (on the subject of abortion, for example) could cause trouble for the party later on.

"We know in the past, you need to be centre (on the political spectrum) to win Ontario," he said.

Really? How do "we know" for a fact that you have to embrace liberal social policy in order to win a general election?

How can you claim such a thing when no major provincial party has tried running an election campaign with a socially conservative platform? It would seem to be an untested thing. All we've had for years is conservative party leaders heading into elections embracing liberalism, and coincidentally, having their hats handed to them.

How can you claim such a thing in the face of the voter turnout ratio dropping with each election? Might it not be the case that the pathetic voter turnout ratio of around 50% in Ontario's recent years is the result of religious voters staying home because they no longer see a difference between PCs,  Liberals and the NDPers?

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

Federal election numbers fly in the face of accepted liberal wisdom

In fact, federal election results provide some evidence to counter the left's version of accepted wisdom. For a brief period leading up to the 2006 election when the federal Conservatives ran on a platform that featured the defense of traditional marriage, it helped them win a minority government from the Paul Martin Liberals who imposed homosexual "marriage" on a then unwilling public. 

Over the next couple of elections, this identification of the Conservatives as "the party of family values" culminated in a 2011 majority for Harper.  

Polling numbers showed at the time that Harper's majority Conservatives were victorious because they won the key voting blocs of Catholics and visible minorities away from the Liberals.

Even Liberal MP John McKay, who was tasked with trying to regain the Catholic vote in 2011, conceded at the time that the party alienated Catholics when the Paul Martin Liberals legalized homosexual "marriage" in 2005 and demonized traditional marriage supporters as "unenlightened".

The Catholic vote – previously owned by Liberals – dropped by 38 points from 54% supporting Liberals in 2000 (1), to just 16% in 2011 (2). Over the subsequent years, Conservatives were the main beneficiaries of the Catholic defection.  

A similar story played out with visible minorities where the Liberals lost a 26-point advantage, and voter intention surveys found that by 2008, visible minorities were "almost as likely" to vote Conservative (3).

Throwing away the key to success?

Is it a coincidence that these key voting blocs went back to the Liberals after Harper himself came out as strongly pro-abortion, even whipping his caucus to vote against MP Stephen Woodworth's pro-life motion 312, and shutting down MP Mark Warawa's motion against sex-selective abortions?

You see – Harper's problem was that despite being portrayed as combative with reporters, he allowed himself to be led around by the nose by leftist opinion columnists who warned he couldn't win unless he put to rest fears of his "hidden agenda" on abortion. 

The fact of the matter is that Harper, like so many alleged "Conservatives" played into the media's trap of alienating them from a major segment of their party's natural base, i.e. social conservatives.

And "we know" that without your base, you can't win an election.

Ford must keep the conservative coalition united if he hopes to win

The Ontario Liberals have been counted out by the opposition PCs for several elections in a row, comforted as they were by a big lead in the polls over the scandal-plagued Liberals, just as exists today,  heading into the election. Those leads evaporated at the last minute as McGuinty and Wynne made surprise come-backs

Past PC Party Leaders felt no need to nurture or keep motivated the "values voters" and pro-lifers who, according to CLC's calculations, make up 40% to 70% of the PC Party's natural base. 

Offered nothing in the PC platform by John Tory or Tim Hudak except scorn, a huge segment of the party's pro-life & pro-family base stopped recruiting relatives and friends to vote, and stayed home on election day themselves, contributing in large part to McGuinty and Wynne's comebacks. 

The media tries to paint Tory's faith-based schools funding as a "social conservative" platform which cost PC's the election, but again, that's fake news.

They overlook that Tory himself pledged that any such funding would come with strings attached for the faith communities who wanted the cash, thus making it entirely unappealing. 

As Leader, Tory also marched in the gay pride parade, boasted of his support for abortion and other "progressive" values, which was a total turnoff.

If Ford hopes to win against Wynne, with a coalition of every type of conservative, I would advise him to stand by his moderate campaign promises to:

a) Repeal Wynne's radical sex-ed curriculum as an "early priority" in his administration

b) Support freedom of conscience legislation to protect physicians from being coerced to participate in or refer patients for abortion and euthanasia

c) Continue to stand by the idea of a parental consent law for minor children seeking abortion

Not only are these policies that the majority of Ontarians will view as quite reasonable and common sense, but they'll ensure that Campaign Life Coalition's 9,000+ supporters who became PC members (plus Tanya's many supporters of course) stay engaged in the general election leading up to June 7th. 

In fact, they won't just stay engaged.

They'll become an army of volunteers, recruiting other disaffected voters from amongst that 50% who've sat out elections for years – let's call them "the forgotten man" – to join Ford Nation and the PC Party at the ballot box on June 7th.

They'll install lawn signs. They'll staff campaign offices. They'll donate, make phone calls, and leaflet neighborhoods.  They'll recruit new voters from their places of worship and drag out elderly Aunt Lucy and Uncle Bob to the voting booth.  They'll do all the things that a campaign needs to win.

We're already seeing evidence of this, with Muslim communities in Toronto enthusiastically celebrating Ford's victory, and campaigning for the defeat of Kathleen Wynne.

This Muslim community is an example of the type of new immigrants and visible minority voters that the PCs and Doug Ford can win over with socially conservative policies. In fact, to win, conservatives must win over new Canadians who come from countries that are overwhelmingly social conservative in their world view. Contrary to what the liberal "experts" claim, appealing to social conservatives is a recipe for victory.

But...if Ford were to commit the folly of listening to the pied piper liberal media, and to abandon the campaign promises made to the very people who handed him his leadership, Kathleen Wynne could easily make another surprise comeback on June 7th.

Footnotes

1. Elisabeth Gidengil, Patrick Fournier, Joanna Everitt, Neil Nevitte, Andre Blais (2009) "The Anatomy of a Liberal Defeat", p.13

2. Ipsos-Reid exit poll of 36,000 Canadians on May 2, 2011

3. Elisabeth Gidengil, Patrick Fournier, Joanna Everitt, Neil Nevitte, Andre Blais (2009) "The Anatomy of a Liberal Defeat", p.3

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Les chuchoteuses (The Gossipers) on rue Saint-Paul, Montreal, Canada It is a Bronze Figurative Public Sculpture created in 2002 by Rose Aimee Belanger. Shutterstock.com
Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter

Blogs,

Busybodies who think Catholic Church exists for ‘social work’ have missed the whole point

Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

March 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – To those who are steeped in history and keep their eyes open to the life of the streets, nothing is clearer than that the Catholic Church has never been equalled in her care for the poor and needy, for the sick and the dying, the widow and the orphan, the prisoner and the refugee, the dispossessed and the abandoned.

Her religious orders cover the globe, performing works of mercy not only for those to whom it may be fashionable to give aid, but also for those from whom the rest of society turns away in disgust. 

The Church has never been in the business of “social work”; her devoted religious and laity simply love God’s poor with the love of Christ and want to raise them out of their misery, so that they too can become aware of their dignity as children of God, called to be co-heirs of Christ. The devoted Catholic sees in every man, woman, and child the face of Christ, and this face calls forth one response: the gift of oneself, the offering of one’s life on behalf of the lives of others—self-denying, self-emptying love. 

The most ambitious secular social programs are timid, their achievements infinitesimal, in comparison to the radical “program” proposed by the Gospel, the many saints who, kindled by the words of Christ, expended their lives in service to the poor, and the even more numerous throng inspired in turn by their example and walking in their footsteps. 

In this respect, too, the Church has the advantage, showing herself to be far ahead of the social workers and their programs, and far more successful at alleviating mankind’s misery. For one thing, she is energetic with a perpetual youthfulness that comes from beyond this world; how else can one account for the awe-inspiring fact of so many who voluntarily embrace poverty in solidarity with Christ and the poor, and who spend themselves with a dedication very few unbelievers have ever equaled?

But more than this, she recognizes that misery is not only material but spiritual; she never forgets that the human heart needs God even more desperately than the body needs bread. The whole of mankind, whether “rich” or “poor,” is equally needy when it comes to the life that is worth living. The worst human poverty is a life without God, without hope, without meaning, and it is this poverty that seems to be the special affliction of the mighty and the monied. The poor need something more than philanthropy, with its condescending airs; like all men, they need love, and that is something that only the supreme Lover, Jesus Christ, has given to us, and continues to give through all who obey His commandment of love.

The joy man’s heart wants to feast upon is not something that can be gotten from worldly goods, amusements, or diversions. It comes from above, and from deep within. It is a joy that springs up with the force of a gushing torrent from the love of God for us and our love of Him in return. There is no other source of abiding happiness. 

One might as well admit from the start that either there is a God and in Him alone is bliss, or that human life is bracketed on either end, hemmed in, with inescapable nothingness, a meaningless impersonal void that has thrown us onto the stage to speak our insignificant lines and will blindly consume us in the end. As Josef Pieper often says, you cannot have a “good time” unless there is something really good standing above and beyond you, something that will not give way like a mirage or burst like a balloon. 

What is there, in the whole world, that does not eventually give way? Can anything here fully and perfectly satisfy man’s heart?

Modern man: if you are looking for true joy, for lasting happiness, then you must turn your gaze elsewhere. Turn it to the source of these good but perishing things, and you will find a good that is imperishable, the one good which is abundant life and never-ending joy. The Catholic Church promises you something that you cannot obtain elsewhere, try as you may; she promises the reality of which all the enjoyments of this world are feeble imitations.

Indeed, she invites you to believe her when she says, in all simplicity, that her faithful children already begin to live that immortal life here and now. They begin to savor the joy that never grows old, the peace that surpasses all understanding. This is the first, last, and best service to the poor—to all of us—that the Church renders.

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