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Cardinal Raymond Burke
Cardinal Raymond Burke, Rome April 7, 2018 Edward Pentin
Diane Montagna Diane Montagna Follow Diane

News,

FULL TEXT: Cardinal Burke’s talk on the limits of papal power

Diane Montagna Diane Montagna Follow Diane

ROME, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — What is the extent of papal power? Are there any limits, and if so how is the violation of those limits judged and corrected?

These and other questions were addressed by Cardinal Raymond Burke last Saturday, April 7, at a conference in Rome titled ‘Catholic Church: Where are you heading?’ 

The afternoon symposium, sponsored by the ‘Friends of Cardinal Caffarra Community’, was convened in honor of the recently deceased dubia cardinal, amid growing concern that Pope Francis is leading the Church in a direction not always in keeping with the Church’s nature and teaching.

Drawing on the Church’s Tradition, Magisterium and canonical legislation, Cardinal Burke explained the fullness of power (plenitudo potestatis) of the Roman Pontiff does not mean that a pope’s authority is “magical, but derives from his obedience to the Lord.”

The prefect emeritus of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura also explained that popes must safeguard and promote Church unity, and that if a Roman Pontiff fails to act in conformity with Divine Revelation, Sacred Scripture and Tradition, such actions “must be rejected by the faithful.”

“Let no mortal being have the audacity to reprimand a Pope on account of his faults … unless he should be called to task for having deviated from the faith,” Cardinal Burke said, quoting the 12th century canon lawyer and Camaldolese monk Gratian.

In his speech, Cardinal Burke also outlined how abuses of the Pope’s fullness of power could be corrected (see text below), though time did not allow him to go into detail about how a formal correction might be offered, he said.

Following last Saturday’s conference, LifeSiteNews published an English translation of Cardinal Walter Brandmüller’s address on Blessed John Henry Newman’s 1859 essay On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Faith, and the definitive English text of Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s talk on ‘The Apostolic See as the cathedra of truth.’  

A number of readers have expressed a desire to read Cardinal Burke’s text in full. The cardinal kindly supplied the Italian original and has approved this English translation.

***

The plenitudo potestatis of the Roman Pontiff

in service of the unity of the Church

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

April 7, 2018

In memory of Card. Joachim Meisner

            Before entering into the heart of my topic, in this context of grateful and affectionate remembrance of the late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, and of ardent desire to continue his work of selfless and total love for Christ and His Mystical Body, the Church, I would like to say a few words to honor the memory of Cardinal Joachim Meisner. From the beginning of the good fight to defend and promote the fundamental truths about marriage and the family, he was completely united with Cardinal Caffarra, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller and myself. As a true pastor of the Lord’s flock, he considered it his first duty to present tirelessly the teaching of Christ in the Church. I remember two moments, in particular, in his final battle to serve Christ and the Church.

            After Cardinal Walter Kasper’s inaugural address during the Extraordinary Consistory of February 2014, as we left the Synod Hall, Cardinal Meisner approached me and expressed his concern about the false direction in which the address would have led the Church, if an adequate and swift correction were not given. He added, “All of this will end in a schism.” From that moment on, he did everything possible to defend Christ's word on marriage.

            The last time I had the pleasure of seeing Cardinal Meisner was on March 3 of last year, when I visited the Archdiocese of Cologne for an academic presentation in which he also participated. Cardinal Meisner was truly happy to be able to express to me in person all of his support for the work done to obtain a just response from the Holy Father to the dubia raised by the Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. While he was clearly and deeply concerned about the present state of the Church, he did not fail to express all of his trust in the Lord who will not fail to sustain His Mystical Body in the truth of the faith.

            Today, in honoring the memory of the great Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, let us also honor, as I am sure Cardinal Caffarra would have liked us to do, the memory of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who, together with Cardinal Caffarra, in the words of Saint Paul, fought the good fight of faith, finished the race of his episcopal mission for the good of countless faithful, and, with fidelity and generosity, kept the faith.[1] Requiescat in pace!

Introduction

            In one of the open discussions during the session of the Synod of Bishops held in October of 2014, the Synod Fathers were debating about the possibility of the Church permitting those living in irregular matrimonial unions to receive the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist. At a certain point, one of the Cardinals, thought to be an expert in canon law, intervened with what he judged to be a definitive solution to the difficulty. Making reference to the dissolution of marriages in favor of the faith, he strongly asserted that we have not at all begun to comprehend the extent of the plenitudo potestatis of the Roman Pontiff. The implication was that the fullness of power which is, by divine law, inherent to the Petrine Office could permit the Holy Father to act in contradiction to the words of Our Lord Himself in chapter 19 of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew and the Church’s constant teaching in fidelity to the same words:

And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.[2]

The Cardinal’s quite shocking affirmation made me think again about something which the Holy Father himself had said, at the beginning of the 2014 session of the Synod, to all of the Synod Fathers.

            He told the Synod Fathers: “It is necessary to say with parrhesia all that one feels.”[3] He then concluded: “And do so with great tranquility and peace, so that the Synod may always unfold cum Petro et sub Petro, and the presence of the Pope is a guarantee for all and a safeguard of the faith.”[4] The juxtaposition of the classic words which describe the power of the Pope, such that all things in the Church must be with Peter and under Peter, and the presence of the body of the Pope in a meeting risks a misunderstanding of the authority of the Pope which is not magical but derives from his obedience to Our Lord.

            Such magical thinking is also reflected in the docile response of some of the faithful to whatever the Roman Pontiff may say, claiming that, if the Holy Father says something, then we must accept it as papal teaching. In any case, it seems good to reflect a bit on the notion of the power inherent to the Petrine Office and, in particular, on the notion of the fullness of power (plenitudo potestatis) of the Roman Pontiff.

The fullness of power in the Tradition

            The history of the terminology, plenitudo potestatis, to express the nature of the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff is succinctly described in a contribution of Professor John A. Watt of the University of Hull to the Second International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, held at Boston College from August 12th to 16th of 1963.[5] The term is first used by Pope Saint Leo the Great in 446. In his Letter 14, he writes about the authority of the Bishop with these words: “Thus we have confided to your charity our duties, such that you are called unto a share of solicitude, not unto the fullness of power.”[6] In his customary crystalline Latin, Pope Saint Leo the Great expresses the relationship of the Roman Pontiff with the Bishops. While both the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops share the solicitude for the good of the universal Church, the Roman Pontiff alone exercises the fullness of power, in order that the unity of the universal Church be effectively safeguarded and promoted.

            The term, fullness of power, is found extensively in treatises on papal authority, especially in the canonical literature. Gratian includes the dictum of Pope Saint Leo the Great along with two others canons among his decrees. These decrees emphasized “papal primacy as expressed in the supreme appellate jurisdiction and the reservation of all major issues.”[7] Saint Bernard of Clairvaux contributed greatly to the reception of the term, so that “by the time of Huguccio it had reached a high level of development.”[8]

            Pope Innocent III, grounding the term theologically in the reality of the Papal office as the Vicar of Christ on earth (Vicarius Christi), emphasized the position of the Roman Pontiff “supra ius” and “as iudex ordinarius omnium.”[9] Regarding the term, supra ius, “over the law,” it was clear that the Roman Pontiff could dispense from the law or interpret the law only for the purpose of serving the proper end of the law, not to subvert the law. The description of  the exercise of the fullness of power as the action of Christ Himself, through His Vicar on earth, was made with “the qualification that the pope must avoid decreeing anything that was sinful or might lead to sin or subversion of the Faith.”[10]

            Cardinal Henry of Susa, called Hostiensis, an illustrious canonist of the 13th century, treated amply the notion of the fullness of power of the Roman Pontiff, using the term in 71 individual contexts in his writings: the Summa, the Apparatus or Lectura on the Gregoriana, and the Apparatus on the Extravagantes of Innocent IV. In Appendix A of his article, Professor Watt provides a representative list of legislative texts of Pope Innocent III in which he uses the term, fullness of power, while in Appendix B of his article, he provides a list of all 71 usages of the term, fullness of power, by Hostiensis.[11]

            Hostiensis introduced a distinction of two uses of the fullness of power: the Pope’s “ordinary power,” ‘potestas ordinaria’ or ‘ordinata’ when by virtue of his plenitudo officii [“fullness of office”], he acted according to the law already established,” and “his absolute power, ‘potestas absoluta’ when by virtue of his plenitudo potestatis [“fullness of power”], he passed over or transcended existing law.”[12] The adjective, absolute, must be understood in the context of Roman Law and its service to the development of canonical discipline, not according to the secular understanding of Machiavelli or of a totalitarian dictators.

            In Roman Law, it signified a dispensation from a law and supply of a defect in a law. In the words of Professor Watt,

Dispensation was a use of the absolute power to set aside existing law; suppletio was an act of absolute power to remedy defects that had arisen either through the non-observance of existing law or because existing law was inadequate to meet the particular circumstances. In both cases the absolute power, the plenitudo potestatis, stands revealed as a discretionary power over the established legal order, a prerogative power to act for the common welfare outside that order, if, in the pope’s judgment, circumstances made this necessary.[13]

In other words, the fullness of power was not understood as an authority over the very constitution of the Church or her Magisterium but as a necessity for the governance of the Church in accord with her constitution and Magisterium. Hostiensis describes it as a necessary tool so that “curia business could be expedited, delays shortened, litigation curtailed,”[14] while, at the same time, “he considered that it was a power to be used with great caution, as a power in the Pauline phrase ‘unto edification and not for destruction,’ a discretionary power to maintain the constitution of the Church, not to undermine it.”[15]

            It is clear that the fullness of power is given by Christ Himself and not by some human authority or popular constitution, and that, therefore, it can only be rightly exercised in obedience to Christ. Professor Watt observes:

It was axiomatic that any power which had been given by Christ to His Church was for the purpose of fulfilling the end of the society which He had founded, not to thwart it. Therefore the prerogative power could only be exercised within these terms. Therefore “absolutism” (solutus a legibus) was not licence for arbitrary government. If it was true that the will of the prince made the law, in the sense that there was no other authority which could make it; it was also true as a corollary that, where this will threatened the foundations of the society whose good the will existed to promote, it was no law. The Church was a society to save souls. Heresy and sin impeded salvation. Any act of the pope in quantum homo which was heretical or sinful in itself or might foster heresy or sin threatened the foundations of society and was therefore void.[16]

In other words, the notion of fullness of power was carefully qualified.

            It was understood that it did not permit the Roman Pontiff to do certain things. For example, he could not act against the Apostolic Faith. Also, for the sake of the good order of the Church, it was a power to be used sparingly and with the greatest prudence. Watt observes:

It was unfitting to depart from the ius commune too frequently or to do so sine causa. The pope could do so, but he should not, for the exercise of the plenitudo potestatis was to further the utilitas ecclesie et salus animarum and not the self-interest of individuals. The setting aside of the ius commune must therefore always be an exceptional act impelled by grave reasons. If the pope did so act sine causa or arbitrarily, he put his salvation in danger.[17]

Since the notion of fullness of powers contains the just-described limitations, how is the violation of the limitations judged and corrected?

            What is to be done if the Roman Pontiff so acts? Hostiensis is clear that the Pope is not subject to human judgement. “He should be warned of the error of his ways and even publicly admonished, but he could not be put on trial if he persisted in his line of conduct.”[18] For Hostiensis, the College of Cardinals, even though they do not share in the fullness of power, “should act as a de facto check against papal error.”[19]

            Hostiensis recognized the need of the exercise of the fullness of power at certain times, in order to “rectify the imperfections of the established order or thwart those who were manipulating it for private ends,”[20] but he also “thought as a general rule the pope should be slow to depart from the common law and he also thought that he should take the fraternal advice of his appointed advisers before doing so.”[21] Apart from public admonition and prayer for divine intervention, he does not offer a remedy for the abuse of the fullness of power. If, a member of the faithful believes in conscience that a particular exercise of the fullness of power is sinful and cannot bring his conscience to peace in the matter, “the pope must, as a duty, be disobeyed, and the consequences of disobedience be suffered in Christian patience.”[22]

            Time has not permitted me to examine the question of the correction of the Pope who abuses the fullness of power inherent to the primacy of the See of Peter. As many will know, there is an abundant literature on the question. Certainly the treatise, De Romano Pontifice of Saint Robert Bellarmine, and other classical canonical studies must be examined. Suffice it to say that, as history shows, it is possible that the Roman Pontiff, exercising the fullness of power, can fall either into heresy or into the dereliction of his primary duty to safeguard and promote the unity of faith, worship and practice. Since he is not subject to a judicial process, according to the first canon on the competent forum in the Code of Canon Law (“Prima Sedes a nemine iudicatur”),[23] how is the matter to be addressed?

            A brief preliminary response, based upon the natural law, the Gospels and canonical tradition, would indicate a two-fold process: first, the correction of a supposed error or dereliction made directly to the Roman Pontiff himself; and, then, if he fails to respond, a public declaration. According to natural law, right reason demands that subjects be governed according to the rule of law and, in the contrary case, provides that they have recourse against actions in violation of the rule of law. Christ Himself teaches the way of fraternal correction which applies to all members of His Mystical Body.[24] We see His teaching embodied in the fraternal correction of Saint Peter by Saint Paul, when Saint Peter dissembled regarding the freedom of Christians from certain ritual laws of the Jewish faith.[25] Finally, the canonical tradition is summarized in the norm of can. 212 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. While the first section of the canon in question makes clear that “the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.,[26] the third section declares the right and duty of the faithful “to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”[27]

            To conclude this too brief examination of the development of the notion of the fullness of power from the time of Pope Saint Leo the Great, it must be observed that the contribution of the medieval canonists constitutes a deepening of the understanding of the Church’s faith regarding Petrine Primacy. It, in no way, pretended to offer doctrinal novelty. Professor Watt summarizes the matter thus:

That the concept of ecclesiastical sovereignty expressed by this particular term had been formulated before Hostiensis wrote, is clear from Innocent III’s decretals and the early commentary thereon. Examination of the decretist background to early decretalist work makes it clear that no novelty of doctrinal essence was here involved. The decretals register a crystallization of terminology; sure mark of the maturity of the canonist understanding of the notion in question. The Professio fidei known to the Second Council of Lyons was but a more solemn acceptance of a position held generally much earlier, not least among canonists, expressed now with the help of a term which the canonists had made a technical one. In the form adopted at Lyons, plenitudo potestatis represented two things, both of which corresponded exactly to its canonistic history: the principle of jurisdictional primacy as such, in all its judicial, legislative, administrative and magisterial aspects, and more narrowly, the principal that prelates derived their jurisdiction from the pope.

There was, however, a third level of interpretation of the term: the plenitude of power in its purest juristic form. This was the level at which the canonists were most deeply engaged, in that it concerned the practical applications of supreme authority and considered its relationship to law already in being and an ordo iuris already established. In short, a problem of developed legal theory, the concept of the power of the sovereign over law and the juridical order.

Progress was made with some simple distinctions about the nature of this power. The pope’s jurisdiction was said to be exercised in a two-fold way. There was an exercise which had a recognized and regular place, established by existing law and translated into practice by existing procedures: his ordinary power. There was further his extraordinary power, inhering him personally and alone, by which – manifestation par excellence of sovereign authority – existing law and established procedures might be suspended, abrogated, clarified, supplemented. This was the prerogative power of the pope supra ius; the plenitude of power seen in its most characteristic juristic form as the right to regulate established legal machinery. Solutus a legibus, the absolute ruler might redispose any of the mechanisms of law. In the doing thereof, the plenitude of power was deployed in its most practical form.

Once the plenitudo officii had been distinguished from the plenitudo potestatis and the potestas ordinaria from the potestas absoluta (and with these distinctions Hostiensis seems to have made his most individual contribution to the common stock of canonist ideas on papal power), it followed logically that the circumstances in which this power was used extra ordinarium cursum should be examined.[28]

In fact, the ever-deepening understanding of the fullness of power of the Roman Pontiff during the medieval period has led to the ongoing study of the primacy of Peter and of the power connected with it. Any discussion of the matter would be incomplete without taking into account the essential work accomplished by canonists during the Middle Ages.

Plenitudo Potestatis in the Magisterium

            The term, fullness of power, was used in the definition of papal primacy at the First Vatican Council. Chapter Four of the Dogmatic Constitution Pastor aeternus, on the Church of Christ, promulgated on July 18, 1870, reads:

Furthermore, with the approval of the Second Council of Lyon, the Greeks professed that “the holy Roman Church possesses the supreme and full primacy and authority over the universal Catholic Church, which she recognizes in truth and humility to have received with fullness of power from the Lord himself in blessed Peter, the prince or head of the apostles, of whom the Roman pontiff is the successor. And, as she is bound above all to defend the truth of the faith, so too, if any questions should arise regarding the faith, they must be decided by her judgment.[29]

The dogmatic definition makes it clear that the fullness of power of the Roman Pontiff is necessary if the Apostolic Faith is to be safeguarded and promoted in the universal Church.

            Later on in the same chapter of Pastor aeternus, the Council Fathers declare:

For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that they might disclose a new doctrine by his revelation, but rather that, with his assistance, they might reverently guard and faithfully explain the revelation or deposit of faith that was handed down through the apostles. Indeed, it was this apostolic doctrine that all the Fathers held and the holy orthodox Doctors reverenced and followed, fully realizing that this See of St. Peter always remains untainted by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord and Savior made to the prince of his disciples: “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren”[Lk 22:32].

Now this charism of truth and of never-failing faith was conferred upon Peter and his successors in this chair in order that they might perform their supreme office for the salvation of all; that by them the whole flock of Christ might be kept away from the poisonous bait of error and be nourished by the food of heavenly doctrine; that, the occasion of schism being removed, the whole Church might be preserved as one and, resting on her foundation, might stand firm against the gates of hell.[30]

Following the constant understanding of the Church down the centuries, the Council Fathers taught that Petrine Primacy and the corollary fullness of power of the Roman Pontiff, instituted by Christ in His constitution of the Church as His Mystical Body, are directed exclusively to the salvation of souls by the safeguarding and promoting of the solid doctrine and sound discipline, handed down in an unbroken line by means of Apostolic Tradition.

            Chapter 22 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council likewise used the term, fullness of power. Describing the relationship of the College of Bishops to the Roman Pontiff, the Council Fathers declare:

But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is, as vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman pontiff has full, supreme, and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head, the Roman pontiff, and never without this head. This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman pontiff. For our Lord placed Simon alone as the rock and the bearer of the keys of the Church [cf. Mt 16:18-19] and made him shepherd of the whole flock; it is evident, however, that the power of binding and loosing, which was given to Peter [Mt 16:19], was granted also to the college of apostles, joined with its head [cf. Mt 18:18; 28:16-20].[31]

The distinct office of the Roman Pontiff with respect to the College of Bishops and indeed to the universal Church is described in the following number of Lumen Gentium with these words: “The Roman pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation for the unity of the multiplicity of both the bishops and the faithful.”[32]

            In an earlier part of the same Dogmatic Constitution, the Council Fathers explain:

This sacred synod, following in the steps of the First Vatican Council, teaches and declares with it that Jesus Christ, the eternal pastor, set up the holy Church by entrusting the apostles with their mission as he himself had been sent by the Father (cf. Jn. 20:21). He willed that their successors, the bishops namely, should be the shepherds in his Church until the end of the world. In order that the episcopate itself, however, might be one and undivided he put Peter at the head of the other apostles, and in him he set up a lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion.[33]

After the symposium entitled “The Primacy of the Successor of Peter,” organized by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from December 2nd to 4th of 1996, the Congregation published certain considerations regarding the subject of the Petrine Office and the power conferred upon it.

            Regarding the relationship of the Petrine Office to the office of Bishop, the document declared:

All Bishops are subjects of the care of all the Churches (sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum) inasmuch as they are members of the Episcopal College which succeeds to the college of the Apostles, of which the extraordinary figure of Saint Paul was a member. This universal dimension of their episkopè (oversight) is inseparable from the particular dimension relative to the offices entrusted to them. In the case of the Bishop of Rome – Vicar of Christ in the proper manner of Peter as Head of the College of Bishops – , the care of all the Churches acquires a particular force because it is accompanied by full and supreme power in the Church: a truly episcopal power, not only supreme, full and universal, but also immediate, over all, both pastors and other faithful. The ministry of the Successor of Peter, therefore, is not a service which reaches each particular Church from outside, but is inscribed in the heart of every particular Church, in which “the Church of Christ is truly present and acts”, and by this carries in itself the opening to the ministry of unity. This interiority of the ministry of the Bishop of Rome to each particular Church is also an expression of the mutual interiority between the universal Church and the particular Church.[34]

The Petrine Office is therefore in its proper essence and in its exercise different from offices of civil government.

            The document of the Congregation goes on to explain how the Roman Pontiff carries out his office as a service, that is, in obedience to Christ:

The Roman Pontiff is – as are all the faithful – submitted to the Word of God, to the Catholic faith and is the guarantee of the obedience of the Church and, in this sense, is the servant of the servants (servus servorum). He does not decide according to his own will, but gives voice to the will of the Lord who speaks to man in the Scriptures lived and interpreted by the Tradition; in other terms, the episkopè of the Primate has the limits which flow from divine law and the inviolable divine constitution of the Church contained in Revelation. The Successor of Peter is the rock who, contrary to arbitrariness and conformism, guarantees a rigorous fidelity to the Word of God: the martyrological character of his Primacy follows from this.[35]

The fullness of power of the Roman Pontiff cannot be properly understood and exercised except as obedience to the grace of Christ the Head and Shepherd of the flock in every time and place.

Canonical Legislation

            The fullness of the power of the Roman Pontiff is expressed in can. 218 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which reads:

The Roman Pontiff, who is the successor of St. Peter in the primacy, possesses not only a primacy of honor, but supreme and full power of jurisdiction in the entire Church in matters which belong to faith and morals as well as in those which pertain to discipline and the government of the Church throughout the world.

This power is truly episcopal, ordinary and immediate over all and each of the churches and over all and each of the pastors and the faithful, and is independent of every human authority.[36]

What is important to note initially is that the fullness of power is required by the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, which is not merely honorary but substantial, that is, it is required for the fulfillment of the supreme, ordinary, full and universal responsibility of safeguarding the rule of faith (regula fidei) and the rule of law (regula iuris).

            Can. 331 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law contains substantially the same legislation. It reads:

The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.[37]

The power of the Roman Pontiff is understood from the adjectives which modify it.

            It is ordinary because it is stably connected to the office of primacy by Christ Himself. It is part of the ius divinum. It is a divine disposition.[38] It is supreme, that is the highest authority within the hierarchy and not subordinated to any other human power, while it remains always subordinate to Christ alive in the Church through the Tradition guarded and transmitted by the rule of faith and the rule of law. It is full in that it is equipped with all the faculties contained in the sacred power to teach, to sanctify and to govern. It is thus connected with the exercise of the infallible magisterium and with the authentic non-infallible magisterium (cann. 749 § 1, and 752), with legislative and judicial power, and with the moderation of the liturgical life and divine worship of the universal Church. It is immediate, that is, it may be exercised over the faithful and their pastors wherever and without condition, and it is universal, that is, it extends to the entire ecclesial community, to all the faithful, to the particular Churches and their congregations, and to all of the matters which are subject to the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Church.

            What is evident in the canonical legislation is that “the Pope does not exercise the power connected to his office when he acts as a private person or simple member of the faithful.”[39] Evidently, too, given the supreme character of the fullness of power entrusted to the Roman Pontiff, he does not have an absolute power in the contemporary political sense and, therefore, is held to listen to Christ and to His Mystical Body the Church. In the words of the considerations offered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1998:

To listen to the voice of the Churches is, in fact, a proper characteristic of the ministry of unity, also a consequence of the unity of the episcopal Body and of the sensus fidei of the entire People of God; and this bond appears substantially endowed with greater force and certainty than juridical instances – a moreover inadmissible hypothesis because of lack of foundation – to which the Roman Pontiff would have to respond. The final and binding responsibility of the Roman Pontiff finds its best guarantee, on the one hand, in its insertion in the Tradition and in fraternal communion and, on the other hand in the assistance of the Holy Spirit Who governs the Church.[40]

As one canonist comments on the fullness of the power of the Pope:

Without doubt, the end and the mission of the Church indicate well articulated limits which are not of easy juridical formulation. But, if we would wish juridical formulations, we could say that these limits are those that the divine law, natural and positive, establishes.

Above all, the Pope has to exercise his power in communion with the whole Church (c. 333, § 2). Wherefore, these limits stand in relationship with the communion in the faith, in the Sacraments and in ecclesiastical governance (can. 205). The Pope has to respect the deposit of the faith – he holds the authority to express the Credo in a more adequate manner but he cannot act contrary to the faith – , he has to respect all and each of the Sacraments – he cannot suppress nor add anything that goes against the substance of the Sacraments –  , and, finally, he has to respect the ecclesial rule of divine institution (he cannot prescind from the episcopate and has to share with the College of Bishops the exercise of the full and supreme power).[41]

Conclusion

            It is my hope that these reflections which are initial in character and require much further elaboration will help you to understand the necessity and the subtlety of the fullness of the power of the Roman Pontiff for the safeguarding and promoting of the good of the universal Church. According to Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the Successor to Saint Peter has power which is universal, ordinary and immediate over all the faithful. He is the supreme judge of the faithful, over whom there is no higher human authority, not even an ecumenical council. To the Pope belongs the power and authority to define doctrines and to condemn errors, to make and repeal laws, to act as judge in all matters of faith and morals, to decree and inflict punishment, to appoint and, if need be, to remove pastors. Because this power is from God Himself, it is limited as such by natural and divine law, which are expressions of the eternal and unchangeable truth and goodness that come from God, are fully revealed in Christ, and have been handed on in the Church throughout time. Therefore, any expression of doctrine or law or practice that is not in conformity with Divine Revelation, as contained in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s Tradition cannot be an authentic exercise of the Apostolic or Petrine ministry and must be rejected by the faithful. As Saint Paul declared: “There are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be anathema.”[42]

            As devout Catholics and servants of the Church’s discipline, we must in all things teach and defend the fullness of the power with which Christ has endowed His Vicar on earth. At the same time, we must teach and defend that power within the teaching and defense of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ, as an organic body of divine origin and divine life. I conclude with the words of Gratian in his Decretals:

Let no mortal being have the audacity to reprimand a Pope on account of his faults, for he whose duty it is to judge all other men cannot be judged by anybody, unless he should be called to task for having deviated from the faith.[43]

Raymond Leo Cardinal BURKE


[1] Cf. 2 Tm 4, 7.

[2] Mt 19, 9.

[3] “Saluto del Santo Padre Francesco ai Padri Sinodali, 6 ottobre 2014”, La famiglia è il futuro. Tutti i documenti del Sinodo straordinario 2014, ed. Antonio Spadaro (Milano: Àncora Editrice, 2014), p. 118. English translation: Francis PP. II, “Pope Francis’ invitation to the Synod Fathers at the opening of the General Congregation: With honesty and humility,” L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 10 October 2014, p. 6.

[4] Ibid., p. 118. English translation: Ibid., p. 6.

[5] Cf. J. A. Watt, “The Use of the Term ‘Plenitudo Potestatis’ by Hostiensis,” in Stephen Ryan Joseph Kuttner, ed., Proceedings of the Second International Congress of Medieval Canon Law, Boston College,12-16 August 1963 (Città del Vaticano: S. Congregatio de Seminariis et Studiorum Universitatibus, 1965), pp. 161-187. [Watt].

[6] “Vices nostras ita tuae credidimus charitati, ut in partem sis vocatus sollicitudinis, non in plenitudinem potestatis.” [Ep. 14, PL 54.671], quoted in Watt, p. 161.

[7] Watt, p. 164.

[8] Watt, p. 164.

[9] Watt, p. 165.

[10] Watt, p. 166.

[11] Watt, pp. 175-187.

[12] Watt, p. 167.

[13] Watt, pp. 167-168.

[14] Watt, p. 168.

[15] Watt, p. 168. Cf. 2 Cor 13, 10.

[16] Watt, p. 173.

[17] Watt, p. 168.

[18] Watt, p. 169.

[19] Watt, p. 169.

[20] Watt, p. 174.

[21] Watt, p. 174.

[22] Watt, p. 173.

[23] Cf. can. 1404.

[24] Cf. Mt 18, 15-17.

[25] Cf. Gal 2, 11-21.

[26] “Quae sacri Pastores, utpote Christum repraesentantes, tamquam fidei magistri declarant aut tamquam Ecclesiae rectores statuunt, christifideles, … christiana oboedientia prosequi tenentur.” Can. 212, § 1. English translation: Canon Law Society of America.

[27] “… sententiam suam de his quae ad bonum Ecclesiae pertinent sacris Pastoribus manifestent eamque, salva fidei morumque integritate ac reverentia erga Pastores, attentisque communi utilitate et personarum dignitate, ceteris christifidelibus notam faciant.” Can. 212, § 3. English translation: Canon Law Society of America.

[28] Watt, pp. 172-173.

[29] “Approbante vero Lugdunensi Concilio secondo Graeci professi sunt: ‘Sanctam Romanam Ecclesiam summum et plenum primatum et principatum super universam Ecclesiam catholicam obtinere, quem se ab ipso Domino in beato Petro Apostolorum principe sive vertice, cuius Romanus Pontifex est successor, cum potestatis plenitudine recepisse veraciter et humiliter recognoscit; et sicut prae ceteris tenetur fidei veritatem defendere, sic et, si quae de fide subortae fuerint quaestiones, suo debent iudicio definiri’.” Heinrich Denzinger, Compendium of Creeds, Definitions, and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals, ed. Peter Hünermann with Helmut Hoping, English edition ed. Robert Fastiggi and Anne Englund Nash, 43rd ed. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012), p. 614, n. 3067. [Denzinger].

[30] Denzinger, p. 615, nos. 3070-3071.

[31] “Collegium autem seu corpus Episcoporum auctoritatem non habet, nisi simul cum Pontifice Romano, successore Petri, ut capite eius intellegatur, huiusque integer manente potestate Primatus in omnes sive Pastores sive fideles. Romanus enim Pontifex habet in Ecclesiam, vi muneris sui, Vicarii scilicet Christi et totius Ecclesiae Pastoris, plenam, supremam et universalem potestatem, quam semper libere exercere valet. Ordo autem Episcoporm, qui collegio Apostolorum in magisterio et regimine pastorali succedit, immo in quo corpus apostolicum continuo perseverat, una cum Capite suo Romano Pontifice, et numquam sine hoc Capite subiecutm quoque supremae ac plenae potestatis in universam Ecclesiam exsistit, quae quidem potestas nonnisi consentiente Roman Pontifice exerceri potest. Dominus unum Simonem ut petram et cavigerum Ecclesiae posuit [cf. Mt 16:18-19], eumque Pastorem totius sui gregis constituit [cf. Io 21: 15-19]; illud autem ligandi ac solvendi munus, quod Petro datum est [Mt 16:19], collegio quoque Apostolorum, suo Capiti coniuncto, tributum esse constat [Mt 18:18; 28:16-20].” Denzinger, pp. 880-881, no. 4146.

[32] “Romanus Pontifex, ac successor Petri, est unitatis, tum Episcoporum tum fidelium multitudinis, perpetuum ac visibile principium et fundamentum.” Denzinger, p. 881, no. 23.

[33] LG, no. 18.

[34] “89. Il Primato del Successore di Pietro nel Mistero della Chiesa”, Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, Documenti (1966-2013) (Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2017), pp. 480-481, n. 6. [CDF];

Communicationes 30 (1998), 210-211, n. 6.

[35] CDF, p. 481, n. 7. Communicationes 30 (1998), 212, n. 7.

[36] “Can. 218. - § 1. Romanus Pontifex, Beati Petri in primate Successor, habet non solum primatum honoris, sed supremam et plenam potestatem iurisdictionis in universam Ecclesiam tum in rebus quae ad fidem et mores, tum in iis quae ad disciplinam et regimen Ecclesiae per totum orbem diffusae pertinent.

§ 2. Haec potestas est vere episcopalis, ordinaria et immediate tum in omnes et singulas ecclesias, tum in omnes et singulos pastores et fidelis a quavis humana auctoritate independens.” English translation: John A. Abbo and Jerome D. Hannan, The Sacred Canons: A Concise Presentation of the Current Disciplinary Norms of the Church (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1952), Volume 1, p. 281.

[37] “Can. 331  Ecclesiae Romanae Episcopus, in quo permanet munus a Domino singulariter Petro, primo Apostolorum, concessum et successoribus eius transmittendum, Collegii Episcoporum est caput, Vicarius Christi atque universae Ecclesiae his in terris Pastor; qui ideo vi muneris sui suprema, plena, immediata et universali in Ecclesia gaudet ordinaria potestate, quam semper libere exercere valet.” English translation: Canon Law Society of America, Code of Canon Law: Latin-English Translation, New English Translation, Washington, D.C.: Canon Law Society of America, 1998. [Hereafter, CLSA].

[38] Cf. cann. 131 § 1, and 145 § ; and Nota Explicativa Praevia of Lumen Gentium.

[39]“… el Papa no ejercita esta potestad aneja a su oficio cuando actúa come persona privada o como simple fiel.” Eduardo Molano, “Potestad del Romano Pontifice,” Diccionario General de Derecho Canónico, Vol. VI (Cizur Menor [Navarra]: Editorial Aranzadi, SA, 2012), p. 304. English translation by author.

[40] CDF, p. 483, no. 10. Communicationes, 213.

[41] Molano, p. 306.

[42] Gal 1, 8.

[43] “Huius culpas istic redarguere presumit mortalium nullus, quia cunctos ipse iudicaturis a nemine est iudicandus, nisi deprehendatur devius; pro cuius perpetuo statu uniuersitas fidelium tanto instantius orat, quanto suam salutem post Deum ex illius incolumitate animaduertunt propensius pendere”. Decretum Magistri Gratiani. Concordia Discordantium Canonum, 1a, dist. 40, c. 6, Si papa; Item ex gestis Bonifacii Martyris. Gratian, Decretals, 1a, dist. 40, c. 6, Si papa; ex Gestis Bonifacii martyris.

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During his NYU-Shanghai remarks, Congressman Chris Smith boldly and frankly condemned a number of ongoing human rights abuses committed by China’s brutal dictatorship.
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Congressmen urge U.S. gov’t to cut abortion groups out of family planning funds

Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Lawmakers from a conservative caucus in the House of Representatives are calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to deny family planning subsidies to abortion providers.

Republican Study Committee members Reps. Ron Estes, R-KS, and Vicky Hartzler, R-MO, as well as Congressional Pro-Life Caucus co-chair Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, are currently collecting signatures for a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, The Hill reports. It calls on the department to make any entity that offers referrals for abortions ineligible for taxpayer dollars under Title X.

Current HHS regulations only prohibit funds from being spent on “programs where abortion is a method of family planning,” though President Donald Trump signed a law last year enabling states to disqualify abortion providers within their borders.

Planned Parenthood says its locations represent 13 percent of Title X facilities and serve 40 percent of Title X patients. Federal law forbids taxpayer dollars from being directly spent on abortions, though pro-lifers argue that when abortionists receive money for other purposes, it indirectly supports abortion by enabling them to spend more revenue from other sources on abortions.

The letter argues that the existing rules are inadequate to prevent Americans’ tax dollars from supporting the abortion industry.

"Co-located centers may be vulnerable to misuse of funds in support of abortion activities and send a message that abortion is considered a method of family planning in federally funded family planning programs," it reads. "To ensure that the federally funded family planning services offered by Title X recipients are unquestionably separate and distinct from abortion, Title X service sites should be physically, as well as financially, separate from facilities that provide abortion."

Trump has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood and taken several steps to do so, though Congress has failed to follow suit. His administration has hired a number of committed pro-lifers to key positions at HHS, including Valerie Huber, chief of staff at Office of the assistant Secretary for Health; Roger Severino, head of Office of Civil Rights; and Teresa Manning, deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Population Affairs.

It has also taken several steps to take the department in a more pro-life direction, such as creating a new office dedicated to protecting religious freedom and conscience rights. On the other hand, Huber announced in February that Planned Parenthood would still be eligible for Title X funding, though she also said the administration was considering future eligibility changes.

The Republican Study Committee has yet to publicly release the letter or announce how many signatures it has collected from fellow lawmakers.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Rep. Smith is part of the Republican Study Committee. He is not. We apologize for the error.

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Doctor decides to starve to death brain-damaged patient in France

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

France, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The French “Terri Schiavo” will have his feeding tube pulled within a week if the decision made by a French hospital doctor is put into effect despite opposition from the patient’s parents and two of his siblings. 

This is the fourth such decision in five years in the dramatic case of Vincent Lambert, a brain-damaged paraplegic in a minimally conscious state. 

Up till now, several court victories, as well as a decision on the part of the University Hospital of Reims North, have allowed him to stay alive. With this latest attack, hope is dwindling. But Pierre and Viviane’s team of lawyers have made it clear that they will use every available means to challenge the decision of the new doctor in charge, Vincent Sanchez.

Vincent Lambert, 41, has been trapped in the same hospital room in Reims, in the north of France, for over six years now. He has been at the center of a bitter fight in which his wife Rachel and other members of his family have worked to obtain an end to all treatments, including administration of food and fluids through a gastric tube, in order to let him “die naturally”, as they say. But Lambert’s condition is not terminal: apart from his severe disability, he is not physically unwell even though his condition is slowly deteriorating. For the last years, he has never been moved from his bed to a chair nor has he received physiotherapy, so that is hardly surprising.

From the start, the “Vincent Lambert case” as it is named by the French media received a good deal of public attention. On the one hand, doctors supported by his wife and also a half nephew, François Lambert, who makes no mystery of favoring euthanasia, have been insisting that Vincent would not have wanted to live in the state he is presently in, although no definite proof of that has been forthcoming. On the other hand, his Catholic parents, as well as one of his sisters and a half-brother, have consistently affirmed his right not to be deliberately killed, even if this takes the form of “allowing” him to die of thirst and starvation. Mainstream liberal media have been nailing the parents’ religious views, accusing them of “fundamentalism.”

At the same time, the affair has been used politically in order to promote more liberal end-of-life laws.

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

This latest decision to pull Lambert’s food and fluids was triggered, strangely enough, by a request made by the half-nephew, François Lambert, the son of Vincent’s eldest half-sister. At his instigation, Dr Sanchez set “collegial proceedings” in motion that under the latest end-of-life law – the Leonetti-Claeys law of 2016 – provides the setting for active end-of-life decisions. Under this law, the doctor in charge must decide when treatment given to a patient should be deemed “obstinate”, having consulted with his or her medical team, family members and other doctors – but these consultations are not binding and in the end, the doctor decides alone. Should he determine that the care being given to a patient falls under the heading of “therapeutic obstinacy”, then he is by law required to put an end to that care.

That would be acceptable if extraordinary means were involved, so as not to make a patient suffer uselessly from invasive treatments. But under the explicit provisions of the law, ordinary nursing care such as “artificial” hydration and feeding through a feeding tube have been defined as medical treatments that can and should be withdrawn even when they fulfill their own objectives without unnecessary pain or discomfort, as is the case with Lambert.

Sanchez arrived at the conclusion that keeping Lambert alive by continuing to give him nourishment constitutes “therapeutic obstinacy” for two reasons.

The first is that it has not been possible to establish a consistent means of communicating with the patient – even though a video was smuggled out of the hospital in 2015 by friends showing Vincent looking intently at his brother and following him with his eyes. At that point, the whole of France saw that Vincent is alive, for the document was widely shown by the media. It was from that point that Lambert was kept locked in his hospital room and that a shortlist was made of people who could visit him. His own father and mother had strictly limited visiting hours and up till now are forced to leave their identity cards with the nursing staff in order to go in to see him.

Sanchez was cynical enough to say that Lambert would not have liked that situation and gives it as a further reason to “let him die”.

Brushing aside the witness of Lambert’s parents and closest friends that he reacts and obviously has some consciousness and even a relationship to the world, albeit minimal, Sanchez consistently refused to watch a video demonstrating that he has recovered the ability to swallow food. Lambert had lost this ability after the head injuries he suffered in a car accident some 10 years ago.

Jérôme Triomphe, one of the Lambert parent’s lawyers, told LifeSite that 24 experts who had seen that video unanimously agreed that Vincent should receive rehabilitation in a specialized center and that he would probably be able to eat through his mouth. More and more carers working with persistent vegetative state patients are coming to the conclusion that this state simply does not exist, Triomphe said, because given proper care and rehabilitation they all find a means, however tenuous, of making themselves understood.

In an ironic development, in an application of the latest end-of-life law, Sanchez ordered that deep sedation combined with strong painkillers be administered to Lambert when his feeding tube is withdrawn, which means the decision to “let” an unconscious man die takes into account the fact that he could suffer during the process…

Moving Lambert to a specialized unit, several of which are prepared to enroll him, is the major request being made by Lambert’s legal team – a request made many months ago and that is at present awaiting a decision from France’s Court of cassation, in the face of Rachel Lambert’s refusal as the patient’s legal guardian.

The second major reason quoted by Sanchez is the discomfort which he says Lambert plainly shows, particularly when he is receiving certain forms of personal care, due to a history of abuse which he underwent as a young adolescent at a religious boarding school. Several legal decisions in this lengthy affair took pains to say that it is difficult to interpret manifestations of discomfort and that they can certainly not be indicative of a will to die.

While one of the doctors who has worked with Vincent for many years, Ana Oportus, has recently made clear during official consultations that she is now personally opposed to submitting him to an end-of-life process, Sanchez is going forward while at the same time making clear that Lambert’s will is anything but clear-cut.

Speaking with LifeSite, Jérôme Triomphe underscored the fact that the official 17-page decision Dr Sanchez handed over to Lambert’s family last Monday speaks of Vincent’s “possible” will to die. Ultimately, though, the doctor’s “doubts” and “uncertainties” matter not at all as the decision to pull his patient’s feeding tube is ultimately a personal one.

Sanchez even went so far as to say that any appeal made against that decision would not suspend its execution. While this is nonsense from a legal point of view, Viviane and Pierre Lambert were particularly hurt by that statement.

Sanchez repeatedly said that his decision is founded on the fact that Vincent has a “suffering body.” This is the stuff that mandatory euthanasia is made off: France is now clearly in a state where the medical authorities can decide that a human being has lived enough.

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Trump: Pro-lifers can avoid Obamacare penalty for 2018

Jennifer Popik

April 13, 2018 (National Right to Life) – Earlier this week, the Trump Administration provided relief to Americans currently faced with penalties for failing to buy plans on Obamacare exchanges where the only plans available covered abortion.

While Congress has eliminated the individual mandate to buy insurance, that does not apply until 2019. This move gives many pro-life Americans an option to drop their abortion covering plan right away.

In an April 9, 2018 article in the Washington Examiner titled "Americans get more ways to avoid Obamacare penalty," Robert King writes,

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Monday expanded the list of hardship exemptions for the individual mandate, which requires everyone to have health insurance. CMS said people who live in a county that has only one Obamacare insurer can receive an exemption from the penalty. It also lets people avoid the fine if the only affordable plans available on the law's exchanges cover abortion.

While there are currently 26 states which, in some manner, passed laws opting their state out of abortion coverage in their exchange marketplaces, many other states remain unprotected. What is worse, a growing number of states actually require abortion coverage in every plan.

In 2014, the California Department of Managed Care issued a decree mandating that nearly all health plans in the state must cover all abortions. This directive was in blatant violation of the Weldon Amendment, a provision of the HHS appropriations bill that has been in continuous effect since 2004.

Unfortunately, the 2014 California directive is part of a broader trend. An agency of the state of New York has already adopted an abortion mandate, similar to the California policy, requiring small group employers to cover all kinds of abortion. In 2017, Oregon became the first state to mandate abortion coverage at no cost in a state statute.

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

Prior to the enactment of Obamacare, there was a nearly uniform policy that federal programs did not subsidize health plans that included coverage of elective abortion. Over the strong objections of National Right to Life, Congress in 2010 enacted Obamacare with provisions that sharply deviated from the longstanding Hyde policy, authorizing massive federal subsidies to purchase private health plans that cover abortion on demand in all states that failed to pass laws to limit abortion coverage.

In 2016, according to government figures, 83 percent of the 12.7 million people who bought a plan on HealthCare.gov in the last enrollment period did so with at least some subsidy.

Until the day that major changes can be made to the Obamacare program, or that legislation such as Rep. Chris Smith's (R-NJ) House-passed "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" can be voted out of the Senate, the Federal government will continue to subsidize plans that cover abortion.

Published with permission from National Right to Life.

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New stat: South Carolina abortions declined ten percent in 2017

Holly Gatling

April 13, 2018 (National Right to Life) – Abortions occurring in South Carolina in 2017 declined by more than 10% from 2016, according to provisional data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control [DHEC]. The number of abortions for 2017 is the lowest figure since 1976.

"This is great news," said South Carolina Citizens for Life President Lisa Van Riper. "Abortions in South Carolina continue to decrease and lives are saved through the efforts of moral education, compassionate care, and protective legislation."

Since 1990, when the South Carolina General Assembly passed its first pro-life law, the Parental Consent Act, the number of abortions has steadily declined.

Overall, since the peak number of abortions in 1988, abortions have tumbled by more than 63 percent. That translates into 166,507 lives saved.

Van Riper thanked the elected officials who continue to support and pass protective prolife laws, the network of pregnancy care centers that provide free care for pregnant women in difficult circumstances, and moral educators, especially pastors, for the continued drop in the number of aborted babies.

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

In raw numbers, there were 5,735 abortions in 2016 and 5,112 abortions in 2017, or a decline of 10.88%, according to the DHEC preliminary report.

All three freestanding abortion facilities lost business in 2017. The Charleston Women's Medical Center lost nearly 25 percent of business, Greenville Women's Clinic lost nearly 5 percent and Planned Parenthood in Columbia lost about 4 percent.

Since 1990, when the South Carolina General Assembly passed its first pro-life law, the Parental Consent Act, abortions occurring in the state have steadily declined.

South Carolina Citizens for Life has been instrumental in successfully lobbying for the passage of 15 pro-life state laws. For more information, please see the graph that is being updated to reflect the 2017 data.

Published with permission from National Right to Life.

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Vatican arrests high-ranking priest accused of uploading child porn in Canada

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ROME, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Vatican has arrested a priest and high-ranking diplomat on suspicion of possessing, viewing, and distributing child pornography.

Monsignor Carlo Capella served in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps since 2004. Ontario police accuse him of uploading child porn while visiting a “place of worship” during the 2016 Christmas holiday, USA Today reports

He was most recently stationed at the U.S. embassy in Washington, D.C., but was recalled by the Vatican after the State Department notified it of the porn charges on August 21, 2017.

American officials had requested that the Vatican waive Capella’s diplomatic immunity so he could face prosecution in the U.S. But the Vatican instead conducted its own investigation, after which it arrested him on Saturday. 

He is currently being held inside the Vatican’s gendarmerie barracks, according to Crux, where he awaits indictment and trial. Under Vatican laws adopted in 2013, child porn possession and distribution are punishable by up to five years in prison and 50,000 Euros in fines. Even higher penalties are possible for possessing a more “considerable quantity” of material; USA Today reports that Capella’s sentence could be as long as 12 years.

The 2013 laws extended the Holy See’s jurisdiction to direct Vatican employees anywhere in the world, rendering them vulnerable to prosecution both by the Vatican and by the jurisdiction in which a crime occurs.

According to the Vox Cantoris blog, several questions remain about the case.

“Why did it take eight months to take a formal action and what was Capella doing in the meantime; was he still accessing pornography?” Vox Cantoris asks. “Was he making contact with young teenage boys?”

Pope Francis has said he has a “zero tolerance” policy for child sexual abuse, but critics say the Vatican remains too tolerant of homosexuals in the priesthood, guaranteeing abuse will continue.

“Statistics provided by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops as recently as 2016 and 2017 have consistently shown that the clerical sex abuse crisis is owing to a homosexual clergy,” Bradley Eli writes at Church Militant. “In spite of this well-established fact, the Vatican does little to remove such men from the priesthood or even speak out on the issue.”

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ACLU sues to block Kentucky’s ban on dismembering babies in abortion

Calvin Freiburger

FRANKFORT, Kentucky, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit attempting to block Kentucky’s newly-enacted ban on dismemberment abortions.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed HB 454 into law on Tuesday, at which point it took effect immediately. It passed the legislature last month by a 75-13 House vote and a 31-5 Senate vote.

The bill prohibits the use of the so-called “dilation and evacuation” (D&E) abortion procedure, common during the second trimester, which functions by tearing a preborn baby apart limb by limb.

“I’m talking about children and I’m talking about feelings and I’m talking about children can feel this,” Republican state Sen. Katrina Shealy said during the bill’s Senate debate. “If this was a bill about puppies, we would have people lined so far down that hall to save a dog that we couldn’t get them in the building.”

Despite supporters’ contention that the bill should be a bipartisan cause, opponents are going to court.

"We're suing Kentucky yet again — this time to stop state politicians from banning a safe abortion method," Talcott Camp, a deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said according to local CBS affiliate WFMY. "This law disregards a woman's health and decisions in favor of a narrow ideological agenda."

The left-wing legal organization filed the lawsuit with U.S. District Court of Western Kentucky, on behalf of two physicians at EMW Women's Surgical Center, the state’s sole abortion performer.

"Kentucky's elected representatives voted overwhelmingly this session to safeguard unborn children against the gruesome practice of live dismemberment abortion,” Bevin spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn said in response to what she called a “disturbing” lawsuit. "Few issues should be as commonsense as protecting the most vulnerable among us from the horrific act of being torn from limb to limb while still alive."

The ACLU claims the law would force abortion seekers to attempt more dangerous methods, but Kansans for Life executive director Kay Culp told LifeSiteNews last month that she suspects a less altruistic motivation for the abortion industry’s opposition.

“Dismemberment abortion facilitates fetal harvesting,” Culp said. “Clinicians experimenting on aborted baby parts don’t want their research tainted by drugs, and, they want fresh organs – packed for shipping within minutes of death.”

Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia currently have dismemberment abortion bans on the books as well, though every ban but Mississippi’s and West Virginia’s are currently facing legal battles.

Opponents also argue that the law has little hope of success in court. But the bill’s authors maintain that banning dismemberment abortions is perfectly consistent with current Supreme Court precedent. They note that in 2000’s Stenberg v. Carhart, the pro-abortion Justice John Paul Stevens admitted that partial-birth abortion and dismemberment abortion were “equally gruesome,” and that it was “simply irrational” to conclude that one was “more akin to infanticide than the other.”

Stenberg struck down the federal partial-birth abortion ban, but Gonzales v. Carhart ultimately upheld it in 2007.

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Hospital restricts visiting access to Alfie Evans in response to ‘Alfie’s Army’ protests

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Alfie Evans' dad Tom gives a press conference outside Alder Hey hospital April 13, 2018.
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Alfie Evans and his parents Tom and Kate. Action4Alfie.com

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

LIVERPOOL, England, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The father of Alfie Evans just revealed a letter notifying him that Alder Hey Children’s Hospital is restricting the number of people who can visit his son.

Tom Evans displayed and discussed the letter in a video posted to Facebook. It is signed by Chief Nurse Hilda Gwilliams.

It claims that on Thursday night, protests on Alfie’s behalf “caused significant disruption, stress and anxiety to other families and the staff.” This “disruption” allegedly included a large number of visitors entering the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) without permission, shouting, filming patients and visitors without their consent, and generally “behaving in a manner” other patients and staff considered “threatening, intimidating and unsafe.”

READ: Alfie Evans’ ‘army’ shows up outside hospital demanding baby’s release

As a result, it said, Alder Hey was restricting visitation rights to Alfie’s parents and two named friends or relatives. Previously, a total of six other visitors was permitted. The letter also forbade filming others without their consent.

“If you fail to act in accordance with these conditions and continue to demonstrate what we consider to be unacceptable behaviour,” the letter threatened, “I will have no choice but to consider a further review of visiting arrangements.”

In the video, Evans denied the letter’s accusation. “There was no seriousness,” he said, pointing out that no police charges had been filed against Alfie’s supporters. “This is a tactic” in retaliation for his press conference, he maintained.

As for the reduction of visitors, he noted that he alone had nine siblings, as well as his parents and numerous cousins, aunts, and uncles. Alfie’s mother Kate James has multiple relatives, as well.

He also pointed out that the letter forbids Alfie’s parents from sleeping in Alfie’s room, despite the fact that they have done so for several weeks.

“Do you understand what we’re dealing with, what these people are doing to us?” Evans asked. Later in the video, he showed Alfie sleeping peacefully, as well as a glimpse of a police officer watching his room from across the hall.


Alfie timeline


***

LETTER TRANSCRIPT:

Dear Ms. James and Mr. Evans

I would like to acknowledge what a very difficult time this is for you and your family. The staff at Alder Hey are committed to caring for all of our patients and families, and their priority is to protect and ensure the welfare and safety of all our patients, visitors and staff at all times.

On the evening of Thursday 12 April 2018 Alder Hey experienced significant disruption, Particularly on the Paediatric Intensive care Unit (PICU), due to a large protest in support of your son Alfie. A significant number of family and friends entered the PICU at once and caused significant disruption, stress and anxiety to other families and the staff. As you are aware, it is the PICU policy that parents can visit at any time (apart from protected handover time 1900-1930), and six named family members or friends can also visit. The PICU visiting policy states that only two visitors can be present at any time, and parents only after 2000 at night. It is expected that all visitors will behave in a respectful manner.

It is alleged that on the evening of 12 April 2018 a large number in excess of ten of your family and friends entered the PICU all at once and that the behaviour of those visitors was unacceptable. It is alleged that they were shouting in general, shouting over your son Alfie in his cubicle, abusive, filming other patients and visitors, filming staff, and behaving in a manner which was felt to be threatening, intimidating and unsafe by other parents and by our staff.

Behaviour such as this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This Trust is firmly of the view that all those who work in provider services to the NHS have the right to do so without fear of violence or abuse. Acceptable behaviour has been discussed with you previously by the doctors and nurses working on PICU.

I would urge you to consider and reflect on the impact that the behaviour of your visitors had on other families and staff caring for both your son Alfie and the other critically ill children on PICU.

Due to the seriousness of the events on 12 April 2018, visiting will henceforth be restricted to yourselves as parents and two other named and identified family members or friends. No other family member or friend will be permitted onto the PICU. The two named and identified visitors of your choice cannot be interchanged in that you cannot have two members one day and another two family members on another day. The Trust regrets having to take this course of action however we feel we have been left with no other option in the interest of the welfare and safety of all our patients, families and staff.

In respect to the allegation that other children, families and staff were filmed, neither yourselves nor the two identified visitors are permitted to film the staff without their consent, or permitted to film on the PICU as there is the risk that other children and families may be filmed inadvertently. You can of course continue to film your son Alfie.

As previously discussed, you cannot sleep in the PICU at night as there is no overnight facility. You can of course visit your son Alfie overnight.

If you fail to act in accordance with these conditions and continue to demonstrate what we consider to be unacceptable behaviour, I will have no choice but to consider a further review of visiting arrangements.

I trust that you will comply with the actions that we have deemed necessary and appropriate in the best interests of all our children, families, and staff.

Yours sincerely
Hilda Gwilliams
Chief Nurse

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Alfie Evans in a recent photo with his eyes open, sucking his soother. Thomas Evans / Facebook

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UK politician to raise Alfie Evans’ case before EU Parliament Monday

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Wajid Khan Wajid Khan / Twitter

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

MANCHESTER, England, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A UK politician will raise the case of Alfie Evans in the EU parliament in Strasbourg on Monday. 

Wajid Khan, an MEP for Manchester, wrote to Alfie's parents today to offer his support and ask permission to show the child's photograph during his speech. 

"My heart goes out to you and your family," he wrote. "I am devastated to read and watch the circumstances at the hospital."

The MEP's support comes as Alfie's parents Thomas and Kate battle to remove their son from a children's hospital in Liverpool that has been empowered by the courts to remove the boy's life support. Parents say their 23-month-old son remains undiagnosed and is not as sickly as the hospital makes him out to be. The parents have arranged a medical team to transfer their son to care in Italy, but the hospital has refused to let the boy go. Police were brought in yesterday to ensure that parents did not remove their son from the hospital. 

Khan noted that he had previously promised to make a speech about Alfie at EU Parliament, and that now his speech has been accepted. It will take place on Monday, April 16, 2018 and streamed live over the EU parliamentary website some time between 9 and 10 AM. 

"I want to dedicate this speech to Alfie for the courage and strength he has shown as well as raising awareness [of] his case internationally," Khan continued. 

The MEP said that as a father of a boy about Alfie's age, he wouldn't want to imagine being in a similar situation, one he said was "deeply upsetting to witness." 

I hope you accept my request of dedicating this speech of Alfie and having his picture displayed in the European parliament,” he wrote. 

Earlier this week the MEP sent a letter to Alder Hey Hospital where Alfie is being held to express his “deep concerns” about the situation. 

“As a parent I would not want my rights to be taken away from me and to be told my child should pass away especially when you are being offered alternative treatment in another country. I would personally explore every option available to find any routes that would be a possibility in keeping my son alive,” he wrote in the April 10 letter.

“I can only plead with your selves at Alder Hay [sic] to give Alfie a chance in life to be able to have that chance of living.”

“Please I sincerely plead with you to revisit this decision and allow Alfie the opportunity to be treated with hope that his illness is diagnosed and treated and is given the right to live,” he wrote. 


Alfie timeline

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Ontario gov’t pressures Catholic school board to ‘pause’ pro-life motion

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BURLINGTON, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Ontario’s Liberal education minister is pressuring a Catholic school board to freeze implementation of its pro-life policy that bans its schools from donating to pro-abortion charities in violation of the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life.

“I encourage the board to pause implementation of its new policy and continue with its consultation to ensure the various voices in the school community are heard and considered,” Minister Indira Naidoo-Harris wrote in a letter to Halton Catholic District School trustees Wednesday.

“I will continue to monitor this situation closely to inform potential next steps to ensure the board is acting in the best interests of its students and community,” states the letter, a copy of which LifeSiteNews obtained from the ministry.

Naidoo-Harris said the ministry continues “to receive numerous complaints and concerns from parents, students and stakeholders about the new policy.” 

“I am concerned to see that this issue may be interfering with the board’s ability to effectively carry out its responsibilities and duties.”

Lawyer and Catholic elector Geoff Cauchi said that the minister has “no lawful jurisdiction in this matter.”

Catholic trustees “have authority over denominational aspects of their management of the schools, and it seems to me that ensuring that donations are in accordance with Catholic teaching is an obvious denominational aspect of their general administrative activities,” he told LifeSiteNews.

While her use of the word “encourage” signals Naidoo-Harris knows she has no authority over these denominational aspects, said Cauchi, “still, the letter is pressure. It’s an unconstitutional form of coercion.”

Chair Diane Rabenda told LifeSiteNews in an emailed statement that the trustees “have not yet had an opportunity to discuss the letter, and so there is no official response at this time.”

But they are seeking “feedback from our parents, students, staff and ratepayers on this matter, she added. “The amended policy will be released for stakeholder consultation this week, and will remain open for consultation until June 1, 2018.”

The feedback “will be presented and reviewed by the Board of Trustees at a future Board meeting.”

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

The Sanctity of Life policy prohibits Halton Catholic schools from donating to any charities or non-profit groups that “either directly or indirectly, abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia, or embryonic stem cell research.”

The motion has been dogged by controversy since trustee Helena Kerabela tabled it in November. It was passed in January, but Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association representatives claimed it was “unnecessarily divisive” and several parents complained. 

The board revisited the policy February 20, passing it by a vote of 5 to 3. However, after a highly publicized backlash by students, and complaints from parents that they should have been consulted, the board agreed to hear delegations on the motion March 20.

Trustees voted then to send the policy to stakeholders for consultation.

Meanwhile, board vetted the 100 charities Halton Catholic schools donated to in the past by asking them to sign a compliance form. That pared the list down to 30 approved charities, which was posted briefly on the HCDSB website, but which has since been removed.

According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, several organizations on the list “were uncomfortable with the calls they were receiving from the public and the media.”

SickKids Hospital, the Canadian Cancer Society, and Doctors Without Borders are not approved. The United Way of Halton & Hamilton, the Terry Fox Foundation and WE Charity originally signed the form, but have since asked to be removed. 

The minister’s letter also hinted at the charge put forward by some critics that the Catholic board violated regulation 612/00 [19-23] of the Education Act by not consulting school councils before passing the motion.

Board director Paula Dawson suggested at the March board meeting this could be the case.

But Cauchi dismissed the idea as “ridiculous.”

There is “nothing in the regulation that obligates the trustees to actually consult with school councils about board policy on fundraising. Actually, it is the other way around. School councils must obey board policies on fundraising,” he told LifeSiteNews in an earlier email.

Trustee Anthony Danko, who voted in support of the motion, reiterated to the Globe that “the motion is in effect at this time.” 

He could understand some people would be disappointed, he said, but, “we have a duty to uphold our Catholic mission.”

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Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed two pro-life bills in recent weeks (Photo: NACoC / Flickr) Flickr
Calvin Freiburger

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Tennessee governor signs bill defunding Planned Parenthood

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- Gov. Bill Haslam signed legislation on Wednesday to exclude Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from receiving health care subsidies.

HB 2251 calls on the state to obtain a federal waiver excluding any provider of elective abortions from TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program. President Donald Trump signed legislation last April allowing states to do so.

The ban will take effect within ten business days of securing the waiver. The legislature passed it last month with a 24-2 Senate vote and a 71-17 vote in the House.

"The governor ... deferred to the will of the legislature on this bill as amended, and after reviewing the bill in its final form decided to sign the bill into law," Haslam’s press secretary Jennifer Donnals said, according to the Times Free Press.

"Tennessee Right to Life is grateful to Governor Haslam for his legacy of restoring common sense protections for Tennessee's women, girls, and unborn children," Tennessee Right to Life president Brian Harris said. "The Governor ran for office as a sincere pro-life candidate and has consistently demonstrated that commitment throughout his two terms.”

Republican state Sen. Mike Bell said that the legislation was necessitated by his discovery of almost $1 million in TennCare reimbursements going to state abortion facilities over a six-year period. "This money is a form of supporting abortions," he said.

In response to the move, Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis medical director Sarah Wallet claimed that defunding her business would “especially hurt women of color.” However, The Daily Wire’s Hank Berrien notes that as of 2013, 35% of abortions are performed on black babies, almost double the percentage of the American population that’s black.

Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee’s Treva Parham claimed that defunding their locations would harm patients who need to travel for medical care. "Patients should be able to go to the provider of their choice,” she said.

In fact, Planned Parenthood only lists four locations in the state, and the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute notes that Tennessee’s 267 federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics (as of 2015) outnumber them by a factor of 66. The institute’s map shows alternative healthcare providers at or near the location of every Planned Parenthood facility.

Republican state Rep. Jeremy Faison drew a parallel between Planned Parenthood and the National Rifle Association, a group many of Planned Parenthood’s supporters have vocally denounced for its lobbying efforts. He suggested that his colleagues who opposed HB 2251 were acting more out of political self-interest than principled consideration.

"You hear how mad the liberals are right now, that the NRA gives money to candidates and politicians, see how much Planned Parenthood gives to members of Congress and the Tennessee General Assembly," Faison said. "Planned Parenthood donates heavily to the campaigns of liberal legislatures. They give a greater number than the NRA gives, financially."

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Law & Order: SVU suggests Christians rape gays through ‘curative intercourse’

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April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A recent episode of the popular police procedural Law & Order: SVU portrayed prohibiting transgendered individuals from serving in the military as an impediment to bringing a rapist to justice.

A soldier won’t testify because “he” is actually a woman, and therefore has female DNA, but doesn’t want the military to know her true sex.

“If I testify, my country will attack me,” the character says. “From a stroke of tweet from Air Force One, I could lose my job, my career, everything I've ever worked for.”

The obvious reference to President Trump’s announcement of his ban on transgender military service is only the latest in SVU’s promotion of liberal causes.

In Genes (season 18, episode 13), the detectives become frustrated when a man who “counsels” men who think they have a genetic predisposition to rape says his religious freedom is being violated. The episode essentially portrays claiming “religious freedom” under the First Amendment as a convenient way to pervert justice.

The Netflix description of episode six of that season is: “While investigating the brutal attack of a transgender woman in a mall restroom, the SVU team uncovers ties to an up-and-coming rap artist.”

Episode eight, Chasing Theo, involves two estranged lesbians and “their” son. It ends with one of the women promising to testify that her ex-partner is a good mother, but says, “Theo needs both of us in his life.”

“I thought Theo didn’t need two mommies,” his custodial mother says.

“He does,” the partner replies, and the two reconcile.

Episode 19’s description on Netflix simply reads: “A devoutly religious young man accused of rape claims what he did was ‘curative intercourse’ to save the soul of his friend, who has lesbian urges.”

And Episode 20: “The outcome of a multiple rape-murder case hinges on the testimony of a sole witness: an undocumented gay Muslim terrified of being deported to Syria.”

Here’s what season 17’s third episode is about: “A transgender teen gets bullied by boys during her walk home, and when the taunts escalate to physical contact, the DA’s office and SVU get involved.”

Season 17, episode 18: “SVU struggles to reveal a sex trafficking operation that involves the police, government officials and the Catholic Church.”

There are five Law & Order episodes about abortionists being murdered, usually by pro-life activists.

SVU’s Catholic character, Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), left the show at the end of season 12.

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Alfie Evans' dad Tom gives a press conference outside Alder Hey hospital April 13, 2018.
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Alfie Evans’ dad defends son’s ‘right to live’

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Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

LIVERPOOL, England, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Tom Evans forcefully defended his 23-month-old son Alfie’s right to life Friday, during a press conference outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in the UK.

“At the end of the day, no one has the right to take anyone’s life away from him,” Evans said in a video uploaded to Facebook. “With the medical evidence aside, my son’s got the right to live, so have I, and everyone who’s standing here now has got the right to live, standing where we are now.”

The dad's comments come as a reaction to negative commentary from some social media users who say parents should simply let doctors remove Alfie from life support. Some say that the baby would never have a "reasonable quality of life."

Alfie's dad reiterated that they would do everything in their power to keep their son alive. 

“We’ve got the freedom to move about the country. We’ve got the right to leave the country,” he continued, referencing the fact that he has a plane standing by to take his son to Rome’s Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, which has offered to take him in and “do more than what Alder Hey wanted to do for my son.” He added that he also has a physician standing by fully qualified to administer care to Alfie during the trip.

We are children of God, and that’s simple,” Evans declared. “No doctor is God, no doctor can play God.” He vowed to “fight until Alfie dies on his own.”

Evans also accused the judge presiding over the case of misrepresenting his son’s condition when he claimed Wednesday that “Alfie’s brain had been so corrupted by mitochondrial disease that his life was futile.”

“Justice Hayden made a false claim that he’s got mitochondrial,” Evans said. “If he read the evidence, and if he read it properly, he would see that was no mitochondrial fault, he’s got no diagnosis.”

“What’s harmful more,” Evans asked, “having a tube pulled out of him...when he’s sedated to the maximum where he can’t breathe even if he had the potential to breathe, or trying your best to take him to another hospital to be treated, to be diagnosed, to then see if we can try other treatments?”

“Where is the harm in taking him to another hospital that wants him to live?” he went on.

Later in the press conference, Evans alleged that Alder Hey was guilty of other forms of “abuse and neglect” against his son. He said a doctor adjusted Alfie’s drugs without consent, and that last night he received video of a nurse falling asleep next to the boy.

“How is a 22-month-old boy’s lung collapsing in intensive care one of the 'best hospitals in the world'" How is my son’s lung collapsing if he’s got 'quality care'?” Evans asked.

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Alfie Evans and his parents Tom and Kate. Action4Alfie.com

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UPDATED: Parents still maintain custody of Alfie Evans

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Alfie Evans in a recent photo with his eyes open, sucking his soother. Thomas Evans / Facebook
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'Alfie's Army' supporters show up in front of Alder Hey hospital, April 12, 2018.

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

Correction: April 13, 2018 1:35 EST: Administration on Alfie Evans' official Facebook page "Alfies Army" are now correcting a press release from earlier this morning which stated that Alfie had been made a "ward of the court." This report has been amended to reflect this update.  

LONDON, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The parents of baby Alfie Evans still retain custody of their son after a press release by the family’s media coordinator this morning suggested that the child had become a “ward of the court.”

"The rumour that Alfie was made a ward of the court is false. Tom and Kate retain their parental rights," Ferguson Shelly, an administrator on Alfie Evans' official Facebook page "Alfies Army" states. 

Yesterday afternoon, Alfie’s parents Tom and Kate attempted to remove their child from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool after being assured that Alfie was neither a “prisoner” nor a ward of the court. They had a medical team prepared to transport Alfie to a plane standing by. Alfie’s family want him to receive treatment at the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome. However, the hospital called police, who threatened to arrest Alfie’s father for assault if he took his son. 

"Alder Hey hospital called in police to stop Alfie's transfer, locking all doors, setting off a fire alarm and removing all children from the PICU. This merely proves first that Alder Hey is acting in violation of parental rights, second that Alfie is indeed a prisoner if the police are being used and exit prevented, and third their tactics are simply hysterical," states the press release.

Hundreds of “Alfie’s Army” supporters surrounded the hospital yesterday evening, demanding the release of the sick child. They blocked the roads for hours while allowing free passage of pedestrians and ambulances. 

Later in the evening, Alfie’s dad told supporters that he had been threatened by police with arrest for so much as touching his son.

“If I take Alfie, I’m gonna get arrested for assault,” Tom Evans said he was told by police. “If I pick Alfie up, with legal responsibilities and parental responsibilities, I’m getting told that I’m gonna get arrested for assault.” He made the comments in a Facebook Live video recorded outside the hospital.

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

A court order was handed down Thursday, mandating Alfie be kept on life support until Monday, when the boy’s parents and legal team will again return to court in yet another attempt to keep their son alive. They will ask a Court of Appeal to allow their 23-month-old son to remain on life support and receive further treatment for his undiagnosed condition. They claim that Alfie has been illegally imprisoned (Habeas Corpus) by the hospital.

The parents hope to move their son to a different location so he can receive better treatment. The position of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital is that dying is in the child’s best interests. 

“The family wishes to immediately move Alfie by air ambulance to the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, which has offered free care for the rest of Alfie’s life, including the comfort and health-enhancing standard tracheostomy and PEG feeding tube which Alder Hey refuses to give,” the press release states. 

“The parents are delighted to accept the generous offer by the prestigious Carlo Besta Neurological Institute in Milan, putting a staff of 300 at Alfie’s service for directing comprehensive diagnostics. This will determine the course of Alfie’s future care and allow the family to put the long-denied questions and concerns to rest. After the diagnostics and resulting care plan are followed, Alfie will be able to be transferred to live at home with his parents.”

The family says Alfie does not need palliative care, “because he is not dying.”

“He has suffered injury to his brain of an undiagnosed origin, but he is improving as he grows and overdoses of sedating drugs are reduced.”

“We can only imagine what could happen when Alfie receives proper diagnostics and standard humane care, and the parents are prepared to love and care for their son in any case,” states the press release. 

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Hundreds of Alfie Evans' supporters gathered outside Alder Hey Children's Hospital on Thursday night.
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New massive rally planned outside hospital to save Alfie Evans

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Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

LIVERPOOL, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Alfie’s Army is on the move again.

Alfie Evans, a 23 month old infant, is currently on life support at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, a facility that wants him to die.

But Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, and the rest of his family want him to continue to receive treatment. So do their supporters, dubbed “Alfie’s Army.”

The day after a judge told the hospital it could remove Alfie from a ventilator, Alfie’s family came to the hospital with a medical team to move him to a hospital that is willing to continue his care. Despite having legal custody of the child, Alfie’s parents were prevented by police from taking him away.

On Thursday evening, “Alfie’s Army”, which includes over 130,000 Facebook friends, answered livestreamed calls from Tom Evans and his family. Hundreds rallied across the street from the Liverpool hospital. At its height, the protest included over a thousand people.

At noon today British time the army was mustered again. Volunteer Stef Ryan sent a Facebook message to online members inviting them to a “peaceful protest” behind the hospital.

“If you would like to show your love and support to Alife, Kate and Tom today, please make your way to the park behind the hospital,” she wrote.

“This has to be a peaceful protest. We ask you not to chant but to sing and do not obstruct the roads as this may put other children’s lives as risk.”

“Alfie is fighting and so are we!” she added. “We will not give up and we will show the world who Alfie’s army is and how strong our amazing Alfie is.”  

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

Last night Tom Evans gave a statement to the BBC, emphasizing that he and Alfie’s mother, not the hospital, are legally responsible for the child.

“There’s no court order to say Alfie has to stay in this hospital right now,” he said. “The truth behind the matter is that me and Kate hold full responsibility and we can take him to our transportation van with full equipment with the doctors who have got full duty of care, and they are not allowing us, so we are hoping that my solicitor is going to spin the spoon and get us out.”

At press time Alfie had still not left Alder Hey.

Developing...

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Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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10% of cancer patients killed by euthanasia, some without consent: Belgian study

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

April 13, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – A survey of end of life decisions among Flemish cancer patients has found that more than one in 10 deaths (10.4%) were from euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.

The study, published in The British Journal of Cancer, was based on a questionnaire sent to Flemish physicians who had certified a representative sample of all deaths in Flanders. The doctors were asked whether, in the case of a death that wasn't sudden or unexpected, they had either 1) withheld or withdrawn life-prolonging medical treatment, 2) intensified the alleviation of pain and/or other symptoms with drugs with the possibility of hastening death; or (3) administered, supplied or prescribed drugs with the explicit intention of hastening death.

High rate of euthanasia

The report says that "more than one in 10 deaths (10.4%) were from euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, which is a considerable increase on the 5.6% of all cancer deaths recorded in 2007 and substantially higher than the general rate of 4.6% recorded in 2013." It also notes that "this high rate of assisted dying is consistently noticeable in all cancer groups" (ranging from 8.7 % for genitourinary cancer to 12.6% for respiratory), and that it does not differ significantly between cancer types.

Killing without consent

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the report is the finding that "the administration of drugs with the explicit intention to hasten death (life-shortening acts) without the explicit request from the patient occurred in 1.8% (1.0-3.4%) of the cancer deaths during the studied period." The authors dismiss the idea of the "slippery slope" in regard to this evidence of patients being killed without consent, saying: "no clear evidence has been found to support this fear. In Belgium and the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legal for many years, the proportion of deaths in which life-ending drugs were used without explicit patient request has not risen since the legalisation."

What's going on?

They also suggest that many cases of life-shortening acts performed without patient consent may in fact be the giving of opioids for pain and symptom management, rather than deliberate euthanasia - despite the reference to the explicit intention to hasten death. "The practice of using life-ending drugs without explicit patient request may thus in reality be more similar to intensified pain alleviation with a 'double effect' than to non-voluntary termination of life." However, this is at best confusing, when the study had a separate category for pain medication hastening death. Moreover, the authors go on to say that "decision-making [across all life-shortening decisions] took place without the patient's input in almost 20% of cases." They do admit that this is unethical, saying "according to the ethical principle of patient autonomy, all possibly life-shortening decisions should be discussed with the patient, unless he or she has explicitly said otherwise."

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

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Media ignores pro-life student walkout while fully covering gun control walkout

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April 13, 2018 (Newsbusters) – It was a tale of two protests. After a school walkout against gun violence in March, students across the country organized a pro-life walkout in support of the unborn and pregnant and parenting students. But the networks only covered one of them.

On Wednesday, the three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) never once mentioned the pro-life walkout during their news shows on the night of the event, April 11. In contrast, the same evening shows devoted more than 10 minutes to the gun walkout the day it happened. This comes after the networks covered the March for Our Lives 13 times more than the pro-life March for Life.

The walkout site listed 191 high schools and 81 colleges as participating. But according to a Tuesday statement from Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America (SFLA), which helped organize the event, "more than 350 students and student group leaders from across the country have contacted Students for Life about their plans to stand with pregnant and parenting students."

The site called for an end to abortion and the defunding of Planned Parenthood:

On Wednesday, April 11th, we will walk out of our classes for 17 minutes of silence and prayer. We will stand silently outside outside honoring the 10 children who will violently die during that time at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility ... We will kneel and pray for the end of legal abortion in our nation.

In a statement to MRC Culture, Hawkins reacted to the discrepancy in coverage.

"No one is surprised that media bias is so obvious when it comes to abortion," she began. "People who are passionate about the life issue, about mothers and their preborn infants, know that the media doesn't like to cover this human rights atrocity," she added, pointing to coverage of the March for Life as an example. But that doesn't mean it was right, she added.

"It's still worth noting that the media went all in for the anti-gun walkout, talking about lives lost and free speech, while ignoring the #ProLifeWalkout, in which we mourn the fact that one-fourth of this generation has been lost to abortion, and students have a right to speak about that as well," she continued.

While the gun walkout was larger, Hawkins stressed that it boasted more help from powerful outsiders, including the media.

"The Astroturf nature of the anti-gun walkout, with lots of money coming in from politically well-connected, national organizations and celebrities along with the media and school support definitely helped with their turnout," she said. "Or at least it looked good on TV."

For the walkout, her one request of the media was that they "cover it. Period."

"Most major media will pretend it didn't happen," she added. "They will hope, by their actions, to hide the reality that people care about lives lost to abortion just as they care about lives lost to gun violence."

The networks didn't listen – for that walkout. But during their evening news shows on March 14, the same networks spent a combined spent 10 minutes, 14 seconds on the gun walkout the day it happened.

On March 14, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt recognized the national school walkout's "unprecedented and powerful display." From there, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez noted the "loudest lesson was outside the classroom" with the "17 minutes to honor the 17 victims" of the Parkland, Florida shooting. The network spent 4 minutes, 3 seconds on the walkout.

For CBS, anchor Jeff Glor introduced the segment on "walkouts across the country." CBS Evening News spent 2 minutes, 46 seconds on the walkout – not including another segment on Nikolas Cruz appearing in court and other gun-related stories.

ABC anchor David Muir began World News Tonight with the "powerful images playing out across this country" with students "staging a massive coordinated protest against gun violence." The network spent 3 minutes, 25 seconds on the story.

While the networks didn't cover the pro-life walkouts, supporters and participants posted their own stories on social media. During the #ProLifeWalkout, SFLA shared footage from high schools in CaliforniaMaryland, and New Mexico. Students also shared pictures and messages of the event on Twitter.

Like the gun walkout, high school students, such as Brandon Gillespie of Rocklin High School in California, led organizing for the #ProLifeWalkout after expressing concern over a double-standard on walkouts. Gillespie was inspired by Juliene Benzel, his history teacher, who was put on paid administrative leave after asking if the school would allow a pro-life walkout in the wake of the gun-control student walkout. In a Tuesday SFLA press release, Gillespie confirmed that his school refused to give the pro-life walkout the same support as the gun-control walkout.

"They are not giving me any accommodation at all, except for the district policy of not punishing students for protesting," he said. "That is not the accommodation that I asked for; I asked for the same accommodation as the anti-gun protest, that teachers would be flexible in their lesson planning, and also for the availability of equipment that the anti-gun protesters were allowed to use."

"It just confirms for me that there is a political double standard, at least in my school district," he added, "but I'm still going to be out there."

In her statement to MRC Culture, Hawkins called on schools to listen to their students, after asked about potential critics who accuse pro-lifers of piggybacking onto a separate event.

"These walkouts were student initiated and student run," she said. "The school opened the door to one group of protestors, and now can't close them to another. Equal respect must be given to students who are participating in an event that they chose."

In the end, she said, the students still made a difference.

"No matter how many came out today, many students got to see their friends and peers stand for pregnant and parenting students and preborn infants," she said. "That is going to make a difference in lives across the country."

Editor's Note: MRC research analyst Nicholas Fondacaro contributed to this report.

Methodology: MRC Culture watched the evening news shows from the three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) on March 14, 2018, following the national school walkout, and on April 11, 2018, following the pro-life walkout. For the March 14 shows, MRC Culture counted gun-control news only if the networks placed it in and connected it to same segment as the walkout. Gun-control news reported in separate segments was not counted.

Published with permission from Newsbusters.

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Alex Schadenberg Alex Schadenberg Follow Alex

Opinion

Advocates claim assisted suicide laws will prevent medical killings. Why that’s false

Alex Schadenberg Alex Schadenberg Follow Alex

April 13, 2018 (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) – The assisted suicide lobby argues that legalizing assisted suicide will prevent "underground" killing. They suggest that legalizing and regulating assisted suicide will protect people from illegal acts. 

Today we are hearing the shocking news of a former Texas nurse, George Davis, who has been charged in the murders of two people and causing significant injury to at least three others. According to KSLA news:

The affidavit describes seven incidents involving patients at the Peaches and Louis Owen Heart Hospital at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances, five of whom suffered significant injuries and two who are deceased. 

The document names one person who died, Christopher Greenaway, 47, and family members confirm that the second person who died is Perry Frank, age 61, of Grapeland. Frank died on June 22, 2017. He was the band director at Grapeland High School

Two others who were left with severe injuries, Joseph Kalina, 58, and Pamela Henderson, 63. It also lists several unnamed patients - a 58-year-old man, a 54-year-old man and a 56-year-old man.

Will assisted suicide laws protect people from medical killers?

In February 2018, Ivo Poppe, a former nurse and Catholic deacon, was sentenced to 27 years after being convicted of killing at least five people, including his mother, but he indicated that he may have killed at least 20 people.

Poppe was arrested in early 2014 after he confided to a psychiatrist that he had "euthanised dozens of people." According to news reports, Poppe allegedly killed his first victim in 1978, and his last alleged victim may have been his own mother, who died in 2011. Most of the deaths connected to Poppe were done while euthanasia was legal in Belgium.

The Poppe case is similar to the Wetlaufer case in Canada because the latter's crimes remained unknown until she told her psychiatrist that she had killed patients.

There is also Niels Högel, the German nurse who was convicted of killing two patients between 2000 and 2005, and suspected in the deaths of at least 102 people. In December 2016, an Italian emergency room anaesthetist, Leonardo Cazzaniga, and nurse Laura Taroni were arrested in the deaths of at least five patients, but prosecutors were examining the medical files of more than 50.

Poppe is not the only medical professional who kills patients in Belgium. 

A study published in the NEJM on March 19, 2015 on the experience with assisted death in Flanders, Belgium found that 1.7% of all deaths in Flanders in 2013 were intentionally hastened without explicit request. Based on the data, more than 1,000 people were killed in Flanders in 2013 without request.

The Associated Press interviewed Belgian ethicist Freddy Mortier:

Mortier was not happy, however, that the 'hastening of death without explicit request from patients,' which can happen when a patient slumbers into unconsciousness or has lost the capacity for rational judgment, stood at 1.7 percent of cases in 2013. In the Netherlands, that figure was 0.2 percent.

The number of assisted deaths without request is lower in the Netherlands than Belgium, but for Magreet, who is featured in the Fatal Flaws film explaining how her mother died by euthanasia without request in the Netherlands, a few deaths are too many.

Why does this occur?

Euthanasia and assisted suicide laws are designed to cover up abuse of the law. Laws permitting assisted death require the doctor, who completes the act, to also report the act. These laws are based on a self-reporting system. None of these laws requires a third-party pre-death assessment or independent oversight of the law. Based on the data from Belgium and the Netherlands, we can conclude that doctors do not self-report abuse of the law.

Further, studies indicate that as many as 23% of the assisted deaths are not reported in the Netherlands and 40% of the assisted deaths not reported in Belgium.

Legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide does not prevent medical murders or even "underground" killing. Rather, they give physicians the right in law to kill – a right that most physicians do not want to have.

Published with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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John Edwards

Opinion

How 40 Days for Life fought and won against a UK city council wanting to ban pro-life witness

John Edwards

NOTTINGHAM, U.K., April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – 40 Days For Life is a Christian pro-life campaign group which aims to end the scourge of abortion by praying outside abortion clinics and offering women an alternative to aborting their unborn child. Holding placards which read ‘Pray to end abortion’, ‘Pro woman, pro baby, prolife’ and ‘Pregnant? Need help? Ask’, volunteers pray quietly for an hour or more, and the vigil is maintained for 12 hours per day for 40 consecutive days until Palm Sunday. 

In Nottingham we have recently completed our third 40 Days for Life vigil on public land, near to one of the entrances to the main hospital (QMC) where many abortions are carried out. Our vigil began on Wednesday 14th February (Ash Wednesday). This year’s choice of location was in response to a police request and so we were confident that our vigil site would be legal, and this was confirmed by early visits from the police, to check on our safety. 

On the first day, we were visited by community police enforcement officers from Nottingham City Council. Their first visit (in the middle of the day) was to offer support, should we be threatened or abused. It was their job, they told us, to protect our freedom to protest. 

The second visit, later the same afternoon, was to say that we were no longer allowed to be where we were, and must cease our vigil. Since we knew that our location and our activities were within the law, we continued. 

Then, on 20th February I was given a formal letter which told us that our behaviour was ‘causing, or likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress’ to others, and that we must no longer carry out our vigil in the vicinity of the hospital. Having taken legal advice, I wrote a detailed letter to the City Council, in which I explained the peaceful nature of what we were doing. 

We heard no more from the City Council until 16th March. At 4pm in the afternoon, I was about to leave the vigil when two enforcement officers from the City Council approached, gave me a brown envelope heavy with documents, and told me that I must leave immediately, as there was an injunction requiring me to do so.  

If I did not comply with this order, they explained, I could be imprisoned, fined, or have my assets seized. 

‘Anti-social' crimes

Naturally, I had a few questions to ask.

What was the reason for this injunction? The reason given was that my behaviour was deemed to be ‘anti-social’, as in the ‘Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act’ of 2014. 

This was the first I knew about an injunction. Why had I not been told about it? Why had I not been able to defend myself? The injunction, they explained, was a ‘no-notice’ injunction. The order had been made that morning by a judge, in secret, and there would be a further hearing on 23rd March which I was advised to attend. 

There were many more questions that I wanted to ask. However, the city officers were clearly becoming impatient. They warned me that I needed to leave immediately. Or else. 

A fellow volunteer, who had just arrived, took my poster, put it around her neck, and began to pray, quietly. Just because there was an injunction against me, didn’t mean that she was going to stop praying!

When we looked at the documents which had been given to me, it became apparent that the case was weak. It included witness statements from a City Council official (the head of City Centre Management and Regulation), a hospital official (Head of Operations at the clinic where most abortions are carried out), two female employees of the hospital, and one other woman known to be a prominent pro-abortion campaigner. 

The statement from the hospital official conceded that our behaviours in previous years were always peaceful, even ‘passive’, and said that the problems for the hospital (complaints from patients and users) only arose when there were pro-abortion counter demonstrations. The statements of other witnesses were full of inaccuracies and inconsistencies, and essentially argued that they were offended by our stance on the issue of abortion. Bizarrely, one of the witnesses said that as she had passed by, members of our group ‘were chanting something, possibly in Latin, and I found this to be intimidating and sinister.’ 

The statement from the Council official conceded that the police had advised that ‘there are currently no concerns from a criminal perspective, as there is no disorder, damage to property or disruption to the local community.’ Nevertheless, he argued that the criteria required for an injunction as set out in the Anti-social Crime and Policing Act (2014) had been met, as our behaviour (a reminder: praying quietly and holding posters) constituted anti-social behaviour. He challenged our assertion that our behaviour is peaceful: ‘Peaceful means conflict free, amicable, calm or friendly. The protest is none of these things.’ Yet in the following sentence, he admitted that ‘the Respondent (me) is not aggressive or causing disorder’.  

In summary, the argument of the City Council against me, which had been sufficient in my absence to justify in a court of law the unusually strong measure of an emergency injunction, was that there were individuals who disagreed with us and found our behaviour – in praying for an end to abortion, and in offering help to women who might wish to keep their baby – so offensive as to require stopping it immediately.

'Right to freedom of expression '

On Friday 23rd March, a court hearing in Nottingham County Court gave me the opportunity to defend myself from this accusation of ‘anti-social behaviour’. I had excellent support and advice from Neil Addison (TMLC), and Laurence Wilkinson (ADF). Having prepared the legal arguments, Neil was unable to represent me in court due to illness; and I was grateful for the support of John Smeaton of SPUC, who sat alongside me in court as I presented my own defence. 

As has been reported quite widely, the judge overturned the injunction. Richard Owen, QC, ruled that the original injunction should never have been granted; that there was no evidence that our vigil was anything but measured and peaceful. Nottingham City Council had asked for the injunction to be extended to our whole group; he refused this. 

The Council had also requested that the matter be brought to a full, two-day trial. Again, he refused. Judge Owen pointed out that ‘the right to freedom of expression is not a right if it can only be exercised at the discretion of another person [ie the Council].’ My behaviours, he said, did not ‘come near’ to meeting the type of behaviour referred to in the statute. 

He directed the Council to pay any costs which I had incurred. 

The judge had taken account of the legal arguments provided to the court by Neil Addison. They included the judgement of Lord Justice Sedley, in Redmond v. DPP, who said:

‘Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, provided it does not provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.’ 

'Heavy-handed​' tactics

Given the current political debate concerning the idea of ‘buffer zones’ around abortion clinics, being pushed hard by abortion provider BPAS, this judgement was significant. My behaviour, and by implication that of other members of our 40 Days For Life group, has always been peaceful and positive. All volunteers are required to sign a ‘statement of peace’, promising to behave peacefully and legally at all times. In three years, we have never departed from this undertaking. As with other such vigils across this country, our aim is to pray, and to support women (and indeed men) who ask for support. The subject, of abortion, is admittedly contentious. But does that justify removing it from the public space?

Nottingham City Council used precious resources (the time of its legal and other staff, and the cost of a London barrister), which it could ill afford, on a legal action that was heavy-handed, inappropriate, and unjustified, when the same resources should have been used to tackle some of the many genuine issues of serious anti-social behaviour which arise in our city. 

The Court heard evidence that the Council had withheld a key document from the judge when applying for the no notice injunction – potentially a serious offence. Posts on social media showed that at least one councillor was complicit in encouraging individuals to complain against me and our group, in order to justify legal action for which she had been told there was insufficient evidence. In another post, one of the councillors said ‘you can reassure people that we are not going to allow them to use public land for their protest.’ – as though it was for a councillor, and not the law, to make this decision. Since then, in an interview with BBC Radio Nottingham, a councillor explained that the judge had ‘missed the point’. 

These examples reveal that the Council’s action against a group of people praying had nothing to do with a threat to public order, but was politically motivated. The comments of witnesses against me – one described the idea of people praying for her as a ‘violation’ - were telling; clearly, one of the things they find most objectionable of all is our religious beliefs. 

The same theme is evident in counter-protests where prejudice and intolerance of our religious beliefs, or more specifically our Christian beliefs, is always in evidence.  During a protest against our presence last Sunday, one protester held a sign saying ‘If Mary had an abortion, we wouldn’t be in this mess’.

The question needs to be asked, at a time of increasing concern over terrorism and street violence, why are local authorities spending so much time and money going after Christians praying peacefully in public and offering help to vulnerable women.  This is no longer just a debate about abortion: the fundamental right of citizens to express themselves peacefully in public is at risk.

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Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia Edward Pentin
Matt Gaspers

Opinion,

Vatican archbishop is wrong: saints say the family is a ‘domestic church’

Matt Gaspers

April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the controversial president of the Pontifical Academy for Life (appointed by Pope Francis in August 2016), has recently expressed concerns about referring to the family as a “little church” or the “domestic church”. During a speech delivered in late March at the diocesan major seminary in Querétaro, Mexico, Paglia was quoted as saying, “The Church, which is a familial Church, for me, it isn’t very clear, it’s dangerous, for example, to define the individual family as a little church.” He added, “It’s very dangerous, because it can encourage an egoism of the family”. In view of his rather disgraceful track record (e.g. obscene sex-ed curriculum, homoerotic mural in cathedral), one is forced to wonder what motivated this subtle attack on the family.

Providentially, Archbishop Paglia’s statements were brought to my attention just hours prior to my lecture entitled “Holiness at Home: The Importance of the Family,” which I delivered at the recent Catholic Family News conference in Deerfield, Illinois. Throughout my speech, I provided the Scriptural and Patristic basis for the venerable term “domestic church,” citing such authoritative sources as the Roman Catechism (commissioned by the Council of Trent) and the writings of St. John Chrysostom (d. 407) and St. Augustine of Hippo (d. 430).

Traditional Sources Support “Domestic Church”

The Roman Catechism, for example, teaches the following about the Christian family and its relationship to the Church:

Portions of the Universal Church are usually called churches, as when the Apostle [Paul] mentions the Church at Corinth, at Galatia, of the Laodiceans, of the Thessalonians.

The private families of the faithful he also calls churches. The church in the family of Priscilla and Aquila he commands to be saluted [cf. Rom. 16:4]; and in another place, he says: Aquila and Priscilla with the church that is in their house salute you much in the Lord [1 Cor. 16:19]. Writing to Philemon, he makes use of the same word [cf. Philem. 1:2]. (Emphasis added.)

St. John Chrysostom, providing commentary on St. Paul’s teaching concerning marriage, wrote in his Homily 20 on Ephesians:

Seek the things which are of God, and those which are of man will follow readily enough. Govern your wife, and thus will the whole house be in harmony. Hear what Paul says. ‘And if they [wives] would learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home’ [1 Cor. 14:35]. If we thus regulate our own houses, we shall be also fit for the management of the Church. For indeed a house is a little Church. Thus, it is possible for us, by becoming good husbands and wives, to surpass all others. (Emphasis added.)

Similarly, St. Augustine emphasized the father’s spiritual headship of his family – going so far as to compare the father’s role in the home to that of bishops in the Church – in his Sermon 94 (sometimes numbered as Sermon 44) on Selected Lessons of the New Testament:

Discharge our office in your own houses. A bishop is called from hence, because he superintends, because he takes care and attends to others. To every man, then, if he is the head of his own house, ought the office of the Episcopate to belong, to take care how his household believe, that none of them fall into heresy, neither wife, nor son, nor daughter…Do not neglect, then, the least of those belonging to you; look after the salvation of all your household with all vigilance. (Emphasis added.)

Traditional Meaning of “Domestic Church”

In his remarks at the Mexican seminary, Archbishop Paglia expressed his doubts about calling the family a “little church” (the very term used by St. John Chrysostom) or “domestic church.” Yes, the term “domestic church” has been misunderstood in recent decades and, in some instances, used subversively to attack the Church’s hierarchy in favor of egalitarianism. However, the abuse of something good does not change the inherent goodness of the thing misused. The remedy for such confusion and subversion is not the condemnation of the term “domestic church,” as Archbishop Paglia seems to think, but rather an orthodox explanation of the term and the important reality it expresses.

For starters, both the Church and the family are societies founded by God and intimately related by His design; so much so, in fact, that in Scripture the Church is called “the house of God” (1 Tim. 3:15) and her members “the domestics of God” (Eph. 2:19). Consequently, the health and vitality of one affects the health and vitality of the other. The Church, as a supernatural and perfect society (“perfect” in the sense of “containing within itself all the resources needed for attaining its end”), is by nature superior to the family and is not, strictly speaking, dependent upon it (on the contrary, the family desperately needs Holy Mother Church, her sacraments, and her infallible teachings for support). However, since the universal Church is made up of individual families, it stands to reason that if a majority of those families are spiritually and morally weak, the Church (in her human element) will likewise be weakened and much less effective in fulfilling her divine mission to convert all nations. Hence, the importance of cultivating holiness within the family.

RELATED: Vatican archbishop says it’s ‘very dangerous’ to speak of the family as a ‘little church’

According to Scripture, the Church Fathers, and the Roman Catechism, the Church is the family of God. The vocation of the family, in turn, is to be the domestic church – a microcosm or extension of the universal Church. This does not mean the family can somehow replace or do without the Church founded by Christ on St. Peter (c.f. Matt. 16:13-19) and the other Apostles (c.f. Eph. 2:19-20). It does mean, however, that the family, as a hierarchical society of baptized persons (father, mother, and children), is called to reflect the hierarchical structure and life of the Church in the home – specifically, the roles of teaching, governing, and sanctifying (themes covered in more detail during my lecture).

“Final Battle” for the Family

Catholic psychologist and author G.C. Dilsaver speaks to the vital importance of the family in his book The Three Marks of Manhood: How to be Priest, Prophet, and King of Your Family:

If there is to be a wholesome future for the West, if Christianity is once again to make inroads into a heathen world, then the Christian family must be miraculously restored. For it is the family that will produce the saints of tomorrow: be they bishops, priests, religious, fathers, or mothers. And it is the Christian family that is on the front lines of today’s conflict between good and evil: it bears the brunt of that battle as the very last defense against the total domination of the secular and the profane. (Emphasis added.)

Pope John Paul II once stated, “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.” Similarly, as the family goes, so goes the Church to a large degree. Perhaps this is why, as Sister Lucia of Fatima revealed to the late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.”

In light of these sobering words, I sincerely hope Archbishop Paglia will reconsider his position, lest he find himself on the wrong side when he stands “before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10).

Matt Gaspers is the editor of Catholic Family News. Audio CDs of his lecture, “Holiness at Home: The Importance of the Family,” are available for purchase from CFN.

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LifeSiteNews.com

Opinion,

Here’s how to write your bishop about Development and Peace’s ties to abortion

LifeSiteNews.com

April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews is pleased to publish the following letter as a superb example of how Catholics can approach their bishops with concerns about scandals in the Church.

In this case, the matter is the conduct of the international aid organization Canada’s bishops set up in 1967, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P).

As LifeSiteNews has reported, 10 Canadian bishops, including Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, are withholding the annual diocesan Lenten collection from D&P. This is based on findings by the bishops’ internal review that the Catholic international aid organization partnered with 40 agencies in developing countries that violate Catholic moral teaching. These agencies have been found to be either supporting abortion, contraception, homosexuality, or transgender ideology.

READ: 10 bishops now withholding funds from Catholic charity over pro-abortion partners

The bishops are withholding funds until they receive assurance from D&P that its partner agencies in developing countries comply with Catholic social and moral teaching. 

D&P is cooperating with the internal CCCB review. The annual Lenten collection for D&P reportedly brought in $8.3 million in the fiscal year 2016 to 2017.

The letter below was sent to Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen on April 9, 2018. It is published in full.

***

Your Grace:

RE:   Development and Peace Continues Funding of Organizations Supporting Abortion

Let me begin by wishing you a very Blessed and Happy Easter.

The saga of Development and Peace (D&P) funding organizations that promote and support abortion, contraception, sterilization, homosexual relationships, and gender theory in the Third World continues.  The history of this controversial and unacceptable activity dates back to at least 2009 when LifeSiteNews exposed D&P’s related activities in various countries.

In a letter, dated March 17, 2018, to Development and Peace I wrote, in part (copied to you and CCCB):

“And abortion is not the answer to alleviating poverty and suffering in developing countries.  To illustrate my point, in a May 28, 2009 letter, the Bishops Conference of Peru formally requested that the bishops of Canada cease funding of pro-abortion groups in Peru via the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development & Peace. They said, “It is very disturbing to have groups which work against the Bishops of Peru by attempting to undermine legal protection for the right to life of unborn children, being funded by our brother bishops in Canada,”

D&P denied their abortion-related activities in 2009 and deny it now, again.  In the attached Grandin Media communication, April 5, 2018, Mr. Romain Duguay, Deputy Executive Director of D&P is reported as saying:

‘Funding anything to do with abortion, contraception, or ‘reproductive rights’ is simply not on the table for Development and Peace, Duguay said.’

Obviously, Mr. Duguay is good at distorting the truth.  In my books it’s called lying.  The findings of the CCCB review and Archbishop Richard Smith’s response tells a different story.  So many cases of flagrant donor abuse is no small infraction and says much about the hypocrisy prevalent in the workings of D&P.

In a letter to parishioners, dated April 4, 2018, Archbishop Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, described the initial results of the review (by CCCB vis-a-vis D&P activities) as alarming. “An estimated forty partners appear to show evidence of conflict with Catholic moral and social teaching and, in particular, that they do not demonstrate full respect for the sanctity of human life,” he wrote.  In that same letter he was informing parishioners that he was withholding the funds donated for the work of D&P in the “Together We Serve” 2018 campaign.

Bishop William McGrattan of Calgary and Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul also joined Archbishop Smith in issuing like letters in their respective dioceses.

I humbly request that the Bishops of Saskatchewan lend their support to the Bishops of Alberta by withholding the funds from D&P that were donated to the Share Lenten 2018 campaign here in Saskatchewan.  I am sure we can put these funds to better use elsewhere, right here in our own province.  I am sure the letter to Alberta parishes was appreciated and well received.  Donors never appreciate being deceived in their charity.

In 2009, the CCCB and our own Archbishop Donald Bohan derided LifeSiteNews for alleged false reporting.  It turns out LifeSiteNews was correct all along.

D&P has abrogated the trust of donors by acting in bad faith and illicitly operating in a camouflage of deception and secrecy all these years.  After ten years of abusing their privilege it is time to clean house at D&P by removing all of management starting with Mr. Duguay and start anew.  The agenda of the current management is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church and makes the people of the Third World slaves of ideologies that have already led the West into destruction.  Development and Peace has become an instrument of ideological imperialism.

I trust that the D&P tainted Stations of the Cross have been removed from churches.

Respectfully yours in Christ,

Undersigned

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Alfie's Army / Facebook
Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network

Opinion,

Attack on Alfie Evans shows ‘increasing power of global euthanasia mentality’

Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network

Save Alfie Evans! Tell the hospital to let his parents take him home. Sign here.

April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Alfie Evans, a precious infant with an undiagnosed condition requiring a ventilator. Vincent Lambert, a disabled non-terminal adult who simply needs assisted food and water. European courts have ruled in two separate decisions that both Alfie and Vincent are to die. Alfie, by court order to physicians to deny oxygen to the infant against the parents wishes. Vincent, by court order to deny him food and water, starving him to death at the request of his wife. Vincent faces almost precisely the same fate as Terri Schiavo did.

To some, it might seem strange that some of the only voices for sanity in either case have come from the Catholic community. First, in Alfie's case, the offer to take the child and care for him in a Vatican hospital. And second, in Vincent's case, where Elio Sgreccia, a cardinal and bioethicist who defended Terri many years ago, is again pointing out the potential for recovery, this time for Vincent to recover from his present condition. He has stated clearly that Vincent "is not terminally ill and may still live a long time when treated with care." Denying Vincent food and water would be a violation of the man's basic human rights, Sgreccia plainly says.

"What we are witnessing is the increasing power of a global euthanasia mentality," reflected Bobby Schindler, President of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. "Those who advocated for so-called 'limited' or 'reasonable' allowances for euthanasia in certain instances, or for assisted suicide, know that inevitably the 'limits' fall away once the primary reason for euthanasia captures the minds of a culture. And that primary reason is, in essence, the attitude that we need a way to remove undesirable persons whom those in power decide have a 'quality of life' insufficient to justify their existence."

"In practice," warned Schindler, "the right to euthanasia will always be primarily a right for the state to euthanatize its most vulnerable citizens."

Read more about Alfie Evans' case here, and about Vincent Lambert's case here.

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Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

Opinion,

Teacher slammed for pushing LGBT to 5-year-olds on Day of Pink

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
Image

BRAMPTON, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Brampton teacher tweeted a cartoon on the Day of Pink her Grade 3 students prepared for kindergartners that one critics says verges on “child abuse.”

The tweet was deleted by Thursday, but here’s a screenshot:

The teacher tweeted later Thursday her class won the Day of Pink poster contest.

The Day of Pink is ostensibly an occasion rally against bullying, but in practice, it is used by homosexual and trans activists to push the LGBTQ+ agenda.

Thus, ironically, it puts those who protest or refuse to take part under threat of being bullied, or outed, as homophobic, transphobic, or transmisogynistic. In a way, it’s rather like those scenes in suspense movies where laughing children eating ice cream under bright sunshine unbearably heighten the viewer’s knowledge that evil is lurking nearby.

The Grade 3 cartoon catches the spirit of the day by depicting nebulous creatures celebrating “no age”, “no race”, “no religion” and, of course, “no gender” clustered around a slogan: “Love is love.”

But the cartoon “is a combination of child abuse and cultural Marxism. It’s completely wrong,” says Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition.

“It should be illegal to intentionally try to confuse children about the biological facts of human sexuality, that there are only two sexes, male and female.”

Moreover, gender theory -- which holds that there are many genders and these do not necessarily correspond to one’s biological sex, but can be changed at will -- is not only scientifically wrong, but it “has the potential to produce massive sexual confusion in the minds of the young,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews.

Pope Francis has frequently condemned gender theory in strong terms.

Indeed, Austrian Bishop Andreas Laun wrote in a 2014 essay the pontiff told him, ‘Gender ideology is demonic!’”

Gender theory “is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion,” the Holy Father said in March 2015 in Italy. “So the family is under attack.”

The pontiff criticized gender theory in his controversial apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

“It is a source of concern that some ideologies of this sort, which seek to respond to what are at times understandable aspirations, manage to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised,” he wrote then.

“It needs to be emphasized that ‘biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated’.”

And he blasted gender ideology as “ideological colonization” during a meeting with Polish bishops during the 2016 World Youth Day.

“Today, in schools, they are teaching this to children — to children! — that everyone can choose their gender,” the Holy Father.

“Why are they teaching this? Because the books are provided by the persons and institutions that give you money. These forms of ideological colonization are also supported by influential countries. And this is terrible!”

Our Lord said in Gospel of Matthew, chapter 18, v. 6: “If anyone causes one of these little ones — those who believe in me — to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

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Calvin Freiburger

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Planned Parenthood’s latest ploy to promote youth abortions: VR technology

Calvin Freiburger

April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The “progressive” magazine Fast Company has released a video interview in which Planned Parenthood executive Dawn Laguens explained how the self-styled “young people’s brand” was using new technology to advance “empathy building” in a variety of ways, particularly virtual reality. The propaganda pitch was certainly memorable, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

We produced a virtual reality film called “Across the Line” that gives people the opportunity to step into the shoes of a patient who’s trying to get through a crowd of protestors to get to their appointment. And it’s a really powerful experience, because it turns out, of course, you’ve been threatened with eternal damnation in the lake of fire and called, among the nicest things, a “wicked jezebel feminist” (but many other things), it really does increase your empathy for a person and your willingness to stand up for them to be able to access any care, but especially abortion.

Fostering empathy through visual aids? If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s precisely why pro-lifers work to make abortionists offer ultrasound images to women before abortion. Strangely enough, though, Laguens’ “empathetic” organization almost never agrees to show women those images if they can help it, and bitterly opposes being legally required to do so.

Dawn Laguens doesn’t want mothers seeing the children her organization literally kills, yet she wants more empathy in the abortion debate. Seems legit.

Her compassion only gets less convincing after watching “Across the Line.” Its website says it uses a combination of “real audio gathered at protests, scripted scenes, and documentary footage,” which seem to suggest that the unidentified woman seeking the abortion is an actress, rather than a patient actually experiencing the trauma to which she attests.

It turns out that using real pro-lifers instead of carefully-crafted caricatures was their first strategic blunder. We see the “patient” and a friend driving to the abortion facility, past a crowd of pro-lifers chanting and holding signs. They stop and ask a man who approaches their car for directions to the right building.

The man turns out to be one of the sidewalk counselors, and he’s about as far from “threatening” as you can imagine.

He tells them it’s not a “healthcare clinic,” but rather a place that commits 20-30 abortions per day. He then tries to get her to change her mind, his tone firm yet gentle, his voice sounding like he’s on the verge of tears that can only be described as the epitome of real empathy:

Look, there’s a place, it’s very safe down the street...please let me take you there. Please, please. Look, I know you’re struggling with something, alright? But I don’t wanna see you get hurt. I’ve been doing this for eight years. I’ve been counseling out here for eight years, and I see women go in that are struggling with it just like you are, and they come out two hours later, and many of them are hurt and broken. I don’t know what your situation is, but there’s a more dignifying choice for you as a woman and as a mother.

The driver retorts that the the choice to have one’s baby killed is dignified, and...well, we don’t know how the man responded other than a muffled “we’re gonna pray for you,” because at this point the screen fades out.

“That is the worst thing I have to see right now,” the fake patient says over the black screen. Maybe they realized that a kindly older gentlemen’s impassioned appeal for her welfare wasn’t quite the horror they had hoped to capture, and added a feigned traumatized reaction in post.

Next the film transitions to a compilation of audio supposedly “recorded at protests across the United States.” It contains a variety of genuinely ugly things -- “you’re a whore,” “maybe your parents should have aborted you,” “God’s gonna destroy you,” etc. -- as well as a perfectly reasonable “doesn’t your child have rights?” and a variety of rather blunt religious condemnations that many sidewalk counseling groups advise against.

Funny thing, though...the audio isn’t accompanied by footage of any of these protests, but put into the mouths of virtual people, rendered in video game-esque graphics that would have looked mediocre a decade ago.

What was the context? Were pro-lifers even the ones saying any of it? We don’t know; the raw footage of these protests doesn’t appear anywhere on “Across the Line’s” website or Planned Parenthood’s YouTube page (unlike, say, Live Action’s investigations, many of which are released with unedited extended footage so their findings can be independently verified). So we have only Planned Parenthood’s word to take for it...and they would never lie to us, right?

The truth is that Dawn Laguens knows full well that pro-lifers demonstrate our empathy for women every day, from supporting abortion alternatives to exposing all the ways her business preys upon them. Her entire empathy thesis is nothing more than a cheap marketing ploy, meant to divert attention from her complete lack of empathy for abortion’s preborn victims.

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Cardinal Cupich at The University of Chicago Institute of Politics Nov. 6, 2017. Facebook / University of Chicago IOP
Michael Hichborn Michael Hichborn Follow Michael

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There’s no ‘bridge’ between modernism and faithful Catholicism

Michael Hichborn Michael Hichborn Follow Michael

April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church today is suffering greatly from a split among the faithful.  This split is evident in matters pertaining to the liturgy, doctrine, social teaching, morality, theology, and even in how the Faithful view the very mission and purpose of the Church.

On the one side are aging dissidents that come from the heretical Call to Action and FutureChurch sects, looking to “sing a new church into being.” On the other are young Catholics flocking to the old rites and Traditions of the Church.  On the Call to Action side are those who act as if the Church began in 1965, moving away from “rigid” doctrinal teachings, while on the other are faithful Catholics yearning to know and live doctrinal Truths.

From the aging crowd of dissidents comes the cry for so-called “social justice” for women, immigrants, minorities, and workers, while the faithful remnant call for repentance, conversion, and a life in Christ.

This divide is so stark that what Pope Paul VI once called a fissure has now become a canyon.  In desperation to maintain relevancy, the dissidents in the Church are now seeking “common ground,” or a “bridge” between the two sides.

In June of this year, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles will participate in an event sponsored by Georgetown University’s “Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life.”  The event, taking its name from the motto of the Great American Seal (E Pluribus Unam), is called “Through Many, One: Overcoming Polarization Through Catholic Social Thought.”

According to Crux:

The gathering will focus not on internal Church issues, but on “the neglected challenge of bringing Catholic principles to public life so as to truly be ‘salt, light and leaven’ in a divided society.”

The director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought is John Carr, who used to be the Director of Justice, Peace and Human Development for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  Speaking with Crux, Carr said of this event, “We felt there was an urgent need to bring some Catholic leaders together to build bridges across political, ideological, ethnic and ecclesial lines for civil and substantive dialogue.”

Recalling the two sides of the divide I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is necessary to point out a few things about Carr’s background.

  • Carr was involved in the 1976 Call to Action conference in Detroit, and again participated in a Call to Action event in 1999.
  • John Carr was responsible for helping to arrange the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, which brought in a host of radical dissenters, including the same-sex “marriage” and women’s ordination promoting Deana Hayes, the dissident priest Fr. Thomas Reese, and the pro-abortion community activist Paul Booth.
  • John Carr was responsible for overseeing the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and despite personal delivery of conclusive evidence against a quarter of the CCHD’s grantees being in violation of CCHD grant guidelines and Catholic moral teaching, the grantees continued to receive CCHD funding anyway.
  • Carr was instrumental for the formation of the USCCB’s “Faithful Citizenship” document, which Carr bluntly stated “does not shut the door on any candidate, not even one who supports abortion rights.” In other words, he helped craft the document that ostensibly gave Catholics permission to vote for John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.
  • From 1978-1980, Carr was the Executive Director for the White House Conference on Families.  The final report, which bears Carr’s name as Executive Director, gave formal recommendations to Congress which called for “Increased Efforts to Prevent and Deal with Adolescent Pregnancy,” “Increased Family Life Education,” “Support for Family Planning and choice on Abortion,” and “Support for Choice on Abortion, Equal Rights Amendment, and Non-Discrimination Efforts.”
  • In 2011, John Carr personally stated that he would happily provide a colleague and me with a grant from the Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) with the understanding that I would no longer conduct investigations into CCHD grantees.

In August of last year, Carr gave a presentation at the “Consistent Life Ethic Conference” (formerly the Seamless Garment Network) in which he compared the pro-life movement with “Black Lives Matter.”  The problem is that the bridge he and his Initiative are seeking to build is one that can only lead to the erosion of the resolve of Traditional Catholics.

Crux reported that participants in the three-day conference:

will explore a range of themes, including human life and dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity, human rights and responsibilities, and the priority of the poor and vulnerable, illustrating, as Carr pointed out, that "the most important word in Catholic social teaching is ‘and.'"

What is most dangerous about conferences like these is that it shifts the focus of faithful Catholics away from the work of salvation to the work of social activism.  Pay close attention to the words in the previous paragraph.  Nowhere in any of this is mention of repentance, conversion, sin, the four last things, and the urgent need to bring souls to Christ.

As Fulton Sheen pointed out so frequently, the very first word in Jesus’ public ministry was “come, follow me,” and His last word was, “go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”  In both instances, Our Blessed Lord is directing the action to Himself.  First, He calls on people to follow Him, and in the last He commands His disciples to go into the world to tell everyone about Him.

In other words, there can be no Catholic social teaching that is not integrally connected with evangelization. And yet, conferences like this one, as well as organizations like John Carr’s Institute, have very little to do with evangelization, and even less to do with the Catholic faith at all.  Sadly, these social justice efforts are little more than expansive discussions rooted in humanism, lightly dressed in Catholic garb.

If there is to be any kind of healing in the great divide between modernist social justice Catholics and the traditional faithful, it can’t be predicated on a human bridge of rhetoric and understanding.  Repentance means rejection of sin, without compromise.  Conversion means walking away from the life of sin without looking back.  Following Our Lord means hearing, believing, and loving everything Our Lord taught us and living in accord with His commandments.  And going into the world – the only activism Our Lord commanded – means giving to others the Love, Mercy, and Promise of Redemption that He gave to us. We do that by always striving to bring hearts, minds and souls to Christ through the Sacraments.  If souls are not saved, then nothing is saved, which means that if social action is not directed toward the salvation of souls, it is rooted in a dead faith.

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Michael L. Brown Michael L. Brown Follow Dr. Michael

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Some hard questions for Senator Cory Booker about sexual perversion

Michael L. Brown Michael L. Brown Follow Dr. Michael

April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Booker, pursuant to your questioning of Secretary of State candidate Mike Pompeo, I’d like to ask you some forthright questions. I understand you might never read this article. Or, if you do read it, you might choose not to respond. At the least, though, we can put these questions on public record.

When interviewing Secretary of State candidate Mike Pompeo, you asked him about his views on same-sex “marriage,” which he had previously opposed.

To be candid, I very much appreciate the fact that Mr. Pompeo did not back down on his conviction that marriage is reserved for members of the opposite sex. He said, “When I was a politician, I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry. I stand by that position.”

As you surely know, his position agrees with the historic view of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as with the current view of more than 85 percent of the countries of the world.

Mr. Senator, since the Secretary of State is required to reach out to all the countries of the world, shouldn’t you be glad that Mr. Pompeo’s views are in harmony with the vast majority of these nations? Isn’t that a positive rather than a negative, especially when he stated that, regardless of his personal views, he would treat all couples with respect?

In his own words, “I believe it's the case we have married gay couples at the CIA. You should know I treated them with the exact same set of rights.”

But not only did you ask him about his views on same-sex “marriage.” You also asked, “Do you believe gay sex is a perversion, yes or no? Yes or no, sir? Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion, because that's what you said here in one of your speeches. Yes or no, do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”

May I ask you, Senator Booker, what this has to do with serving as Secretary of State?

You clarified your remarks by adding, “Your views do matter. You're going to be dealing with Muslim states on Muslim issues. And I do not necessarily concur that you are putting forward the values of our nation when you believe there are people in our country who are perverse.”

But again, may I ask you: Did you think through these words clearly? Did you intend to say what you said?

First, are you not aware that Americans remain deeply divided on homosexual practice? There has certainly been a shift towards affirming homosexuality in the last 20 years, but to this moment, we are a nation passionately divided over LGBT issues. That means that if Mr. Pompeo said, “I think gay sex is wonderful,” he would not be speaking for our nation as a whole.

So, in your view, what are “the values of our nation” when it comes to homosexual acts?

Second, in this context, why did you bring up “Muslim states” and “Muslim issues”? Again, as you must surely know, the vast majority of Muslim states vigorously oppose homosexual practice. And they would agree that homosexual acts are perverse. In fact, their views on this subject are even stronger than those of Christian conservatives in America.

What, then, was the point you were making? Were you stating that you want our Secretary of State to push gay activism on Islamic nations? To say to them, “If you want to partner with America, you’ll need to change your historic, deeply held religious convictions?” Was this your point? If not, what point were you making?

Third, what would you say to a traditional Jew or conservative Christian who affirms the teaching of Scripture? The Bible states plainly that homosexual sex is detestable in God’s sight, even while affirming God’s love for gay and straight alike. In your view, would these religious convictions disqualify someone from serving our nation? Are you proposing a religious test for the Secretary of State?

Fourth, in your opinion, are any sexual acts perverse? Are any contrary to our biological design? Are any in violation of the intent of our creator? Can you answer with a yes or no?

Several years ago, a colleague and I had dinner with a local gay couple. We wanted to get to know each other on a personal level in the midst of our deep differences. At one point I asked these two men, “What about two adult brothers having a romantic and sexual relationship? Would that be OK?”

They were repulsed by the very thought, calling it “Icky,” although they could give no specific reasons for their feelings. Do you concur with their position? Would you judge gay sex between consenting adult brothers or sisters to be perverse? If so, based on what criteria?

There’s actually a push in some gay circles to accept adult consensual incest. As a recent headline asks, “Why can’t gay or lesbian twins have sex with or marry each other? Why is incest wrong between same-sex siblings?”

If it’s appropriate for you to press Mike Pompeo on his views as to what constitutes sexual perversion, it is inappropriate for me to press you on your views? What kind of sexual acts would you deem perverse?

With all due respect to your office, sir, I would suggest that someone can serve our nation (and the world) admirably while believing that some sexual acts are contrary to God’s plan. Surely we all draw the line somewhere, do we not? And if Mr. Pompeo draws his lines in accordance with Scripture, while also loving his neighbor as himself, should he be penalized for it? Certainly not.

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Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Witch-hunt: Democratic Senator grills Trump nominee who says marriage is one man, one woman

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Right across the Western world, the elites are creating a new litmus test for holding political office: Support for same-sex “marriage.” 

The latest example of the new McCarthyism of the sexual revolutionaries came in the confirmation hearings for secretary of state, where Democrat Senator Cory Booker repeatedly asked CIA Director Mike Pompeo to articulate his views on homosexuality. Pompeo opposed the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in all fifty states, and Booker asked him if he believed it was “appropriate” for gay couples to get married. 

Pompeo responded by restating his position and then informing Booker: “Senator, I continue to hold that view.”

On Twitter, numerous commentators were quick to point out that this was a rather bizarre line of questioning for the position of Secretary of State—especially because it was crystal clear that Booker saw any opposition to his particular perspective on the definition of marriage disqualified someone to hold higher office. 

Ben Shapiro mockingly imagined future questions that could be leveled at supporters of traditional marriage: “To verify your tolerance, I now ask that you publicly watch ‘Brokeback Mountain’ without making a face and that you cry at the end, sir!”

Unfortunately, this litmus test is becoming increasingly common. 

Here in Canada, multiple journalists asked Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Tanya Granic Allen what her position on gay “marriage” is, with the implication being that insufficient enthusiasm would expose Allen and her supporters as bigots. 

In the UK, the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party Tim Farron had to resign after incessant questions about his position on homosexuality. Farron finally released a televised statement saying that “The consequences of the focus on my [Christian] faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader.” This was after Farron initially assured everyone that he had no problem with same-sex relationships—apparently even his private views were potentially disqualifying.

We will be seeing a lot more of this in the years to come. 

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It is no longer enough to respectfully and lovingly disagree—the progressives demand that you approve of their entire sexual agenda, and that disagreeing renders you a fundamentally hateful person who deserves only the disdain and rejection of society at large. That is why politicians who decline to attend Pride parades are the subject of endless hostile questioning by the media and progressive politicians, who insist that deciding not to show up at an obscene display of public nudity and other such antics is actually evidence of a hateful disposition. 

Progressives no longer want the state to get out of the bedrooms of the nation—they want politicians to show up and applaud wildly or face the consequences.

It will be interesting to see what happens when progressives realize that it is not just orthodox Christians who still cling to the traditional definition of marriage—many faith groups reject the redefinition of marriage and the social engineering that progressives prize so highly. 

Senator Bernie Sanders famously screamed at a Trump nominee last year because the nominee had previously articulated the fundamental Christian doctrine of salvation through Christ alone—this exclusionary view, the red-faced Sanders huffed, was “Islamophobic.” 

Booker also grilled Pompeo on his views on Islam barely minutes after he highlighted Pompeo’s opposition to same-sex “marriage.” Neither Democrat seemed to realize that Muslims also oppose same-sex marriage—although you can be sure a Muslim nominee would not face that same line of questioning.

It is essential that Christians equip themselves to articulately and compassionately defend our worldview as progressives increasingly attempt to make the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith a disqualifier for public office. They are launching this new McCarthyism in order to ensure that Christians will either buckle under pressure and defect to their side of the fence, or get purged from politics altogether, thus leaving them to continue implementing their radical agenda unopposed. 

There are many, many people in our society who have not yet climbed on board with the sexual agenda of the progressives—and now is the time for those people to stand up and be counted.

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