All articles from May 11, 2018


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Larry Jacobs
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Larry Jacobs, ‘great friend’ of international pro-life movement, dies suddenly at 50

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ROCKFORD, Illinois, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Thursday, friends and family remembered the life of a “tireless soldier for the family” who was known across the world for his “terrific” and important work.

Larry Jacobs, managing director of the World Congress of Families (WCF), died unexpectedly April 30 at his Rockford, Illinois, home. He was 50. He leaves behind his wife Jennifer and two children, Amanda and Aaron.

Jacobs’ memorial service was Thursday evening at the Northridge Community Church, located at YWCA Women's Center in Rockford.

Pro-life and family advocates have mourned his death in Illinois and internationally.

Brian Brown, president for the WCF’s parent organization the International Organization for the Family (IOF), expressed grief and gratitude for him via a statement in the days following Jacobs’ passing.

“Larry was an invaluable member of our team,” Brown said, “someone who has been a leader for the pro-family movement worldwide.”

“I have already received messages from around the world on how much Larry touched so many people's lives," he said. “Beyond being a pro-family leader of inestimable importance, Larry was a loving husband to his wife, Jennifer, and devoted father to his two children.”

“Larry was a devout and faithful Christian who loved the Lord and lived his faith proudly,” Brown said.

The President of Human Life International (HLI), Father Shenan Boquet, said the international pro-life movement lost “a great friend.”

“We and all of HLI wish to express our heartfelt condolences to wife Jennifer, Larry’s two children, and the WCF and International Organization of the Family (IOF) communities,” said Boquet.

“The global pro-life and family movement has lost a great friend and fellow warrior,” he continued, “whose passion and unwavering dedication to the defense of Life and Family will be greatly missed.”

HLI founder Father Paul Marx had worked closely with the WCF, Boquet continued, “a relationship that HLI continues to value and strengthen. Larry’s personal support and friendship was always appreciated.”

Jacobs’ experience was always wide-ranging, Boquet said, and he spoke frequently on issues affecting family, religion, and public and social policy.

The priest also noted Jacobs’ past work organizing international pro-life conferences in the U.S., Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Russia, the United Nations, the OAS, and European Union Parliament.

“Larry, a devout Christian, was stellar in the cause for Life and Family,” concluded Boquet.

LifeSiteNews co-founder and Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen had praise for Jacobs and his work on behalf of the family as well, stating, “Larry was a tireless soldier for the family – a man whose faith and understanding of the dignity of the family impelled him to exhaust his life in the protection of the basic cell of society.”

John Smeaton, president of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and spokesman for Voice of the family, remarked on the significance of Jacobs’ work for families.

“Larry Jacobs played a leading role in the important work of the World Congress of Families and we are very saddened to hear of his passing,” Smeaton said. “May he rest in peace!”

Americans For Truth About Homosexuality President Peter LaBarbera expressed admiration for Jacobs’ work, telling LifeSiteNews he was moved to hear of Jacobs’ passing. LaBarbara stated his wish to have known Jacobs better, and said his heart goes out to Jacobs’ wife and family.

“Our paths rarely crossed and I knew him more by his terrific work on behalf of life and the family,” said LaBarbera. “Larry was passionately dedicated to upholding God's design for the natural family and a strong pro-life ethic. He worked to help nations across the world build family-friendly societies.”

Jacobs, originally from Ohio, earned a B.S. degree in environmental engineering from Allegheny College. He received two Masters’ degrees from Yale University, one in economics and the other in natural resource policy.

He was a manager of New Products and New Business Development for Proctor & Gamble in Cincinnati, and had a hand in bringing the Dryel and Febreze products to the market.

Jacobs later became president and CEO of Healthy Beginnings, a pro-life organization operating pregnancy care centers in Cincinnati and Dayton. Jacobs expanded its number of facilities and doubled revenues from grants and gifts. He was honored by the Cincinnati Business Courier as one of “the Top forty Leaders under 40.”

He then joined the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society (now the International Organization for the Family) in Rockford as vice president. Soon after, he became the managing director for the World Congress of Families, a project representing pro-family leaders and groups from more than 80 countries.

Jacobs’ special gifts were listening to and understanding differing points of view and resolving conflicts in service to a greater good, his obituary said.

And the focus of his life was his family, especially his wife and children.

Jacobs’ Facebook page showed condolences from around the world, and also a post from his mother on his daughter’s college graduation five days after Jacobs passed away.

Celebrating the graduation that May 5 afternoon, Jacobs’ mother said, “Some of us from afar, some accompanied by a whole choir of heavenly angels rejoicing — feeling proud.”

“My great friend Larry D. Jacobs rest in peace,” singer-songwriter Andrea Andrea posted, sharing a video of Jacobs and herself when she sang at the 2014 World Congress of Families in Australia.

“A great human being, a promoter of life and family in the whole world,” she said. “God only knows why you were so young. We'll miss you. You were light on earth. Now like an angel in heaven. This video is a memory with my friend when we sing in Australia for the families.”

A post from a gentleman named Pátkai Mihály, the member of a Hungarian church, paid respects and included a video of a church-wide dance celebrating the family. That dance was inspired by Jacobs and his work on a family summit there last year.

“On behalf of Pastor Sandor Nemeth and Faith Church Hungary, we send our deepest condolences and love to Larry's wife, children, relatives, friends and colleagues,” he said. “Larry worked hard to realize the Family Summit here in Budapest last year, which was a huge success and great blessing for us all.”

Another post from the director of the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage was covered in a report from the Illinois Review.

“Foundation for African Cultural Heritage, Africa and indeed the whole world – Asia, Europe, America, Canada mourn your death,” Tessy Okafor wrote. “Your footprints are everywhere. You built an international coalition that cut across national, racial and religious boundaries. You were a committed husband and father and you always put your family, whom you loved and celebrated, first…”

A fund has been established to help support the Jacobs family. Click HERE for specifics.

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Ontario school board considers flying pro-LGBT ‘pride’ flag against policy

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MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Toronto-area school district is entertaining a request to fly rainbow flags at its Catholic schools to coincide with June’s pro-homosexual “Pride Month.” This comes despite existing policy allowing only the national and provintial flags to be flown at schools. 

The Peel District School Board heard arguments concerning a request from the gay lobbying group Pride Employee Resource Group (PERG) during its Tuesday meeting, the Toronto Star reports. Pro-homosexual activists reportedly filled the chamber with people wearing pink shirts to visualize support for the flag.

The district’s current policy is that only the Canadian or Ontario flags may be flown at any of its 257 schools. But PERG’s Carol Speers, who is also a retired superintendent, argued that Peel should follow in the footsteps of Toronto, Durham, Halton, and York to signal safety and welcomeness to LGBT staff and students.

The board heard a great number of emotional appeals in favor of the flag, including from a transgender student, a teacher who says she contemplated suicide as a teenager because she didn’t feel accepted, and a man who said his two young children had been bullied for having “two dads.”

“This is an equity issue,” Speers argued. “We have a reason to have the flag raised.” She also complained that PERG’s request, which was originally made last year, has taken so long to receive a hearing. "We understood that this process was occurring through the fall, and for some reason it has gotten stalled."

But now that the proposal has received attention, the board is signaling that it’s all-but guaranteed.

School board chair Janet McDougald called the pro-LGBT testimony “very compelling,” and suggested the only remaining “process” obstacle was the question of whether flying the rainbow flag would obligate the board to accept flags from other groups. “It wasn’t about whether we agreed or not, it was about how do we do this,” she stressed.

Board trustee Robert Crocker claimed that out of all the emails and tweets he’s received from constituents and employees, "every single one has been...asking us to raise the Pride flag."

However, community feedback on social media is a different story. On the Facebook post for the Mississauga-based Brampton Guardian’s coverage of the story, most of the reactions were negative.

“No this isn't an equality issue,” one reader wrote. “There isn't a heterosexual flag. So why in the world would they need to fly this?” Others called it “nonsense,” “liberal propaganda,” and a “battle cry for weak liberals.”

“Doesn't the Canadian flag cover everyone from all walks of life?” a community member asked. “Stop trying to appease everyone who complains.” Another reader wondered why “entertain a flag that represents sexual preference” after “we have removed prayer” from schools.

“We don’t want that here,” another outraged community member said. “Leave our kids alone and stop trying to turn them out!”

Regardless, as a further indicator of the district’s likelihood of flying the flag, on Thursday its website announced that Peel Alternative School South staff and students would participate in a ceremony to “unveil the first-ever piece of LGBTQ+ art for public space under the City of Mississauga's Beautification Program.”

Pro-LGBT indoctrination has been an ongoing concern for many parents with children in Canadian public schools. Last fall, the Ontario Court of Appeal rejected Greek Orthodox father Steve Tourloukis’s argument that as a parent he was entitled to advance notice on class lessons on topics such as homosexuality and gender identity. Ontario’s Liberal government has also implemented a sex education curriculum that teaches there are six different genders and introduces the subjects of homosexuality and “gender identity” as early as Grade 3.

The school board says it will announce its final decision on May 22.

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Google, Facebook accused of imposing unprecedented ad bans to ‘rig’ Irish abortion referendum

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IRELAND, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Internet search giant Google has banned all local and foreign advertisements about Ireland’s upcoming vote on whether to legalize abortion, in a move pro-lifers charge is clearly intended to benefit the pro-abortion side.

“Following our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have decided to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the eighth amendment,” a Google spokesperson told the UK Independent Wednesday. The prohibition will last from now through May 25, and also applies to the Google-owned YouTube, the world’s top video platform. The company says it will not prevent referendum-related content from appearing in search results.

On May 25, Ireland will vote on whether or not to repeal the 8th Amendment of its Constitution, which guarantees preborn children the right to life. Repeal would clear a path for legislation legalizing abortion in the first trimester, subject to a 72-hour waiting period. Later-term abortions would ostensibly be limited to risks to a mother’s life or health, or fatal fetal abnormalities, but pro-lifers warn that those exceptions are a pretense for much larger loopholes.

Google’s move follows an announcement on Tuesday that Facebook “will no longer be accepting ads related to the forthcoming referendum if they are from advertisers based outside of Ireland.” The social media giant also framed the move as an effort to “help protect the integrity of elections and referendums from undue influence.” Facebook clarified that it still allows ads from groups within Ireland, including those that employ foreign service providers.

Last month, Facebook announced that it would be using the 8th Amendment referendum as a testing ground for new tools to screen out fake accounts and foreign interference, as well as show users data on the spending and groups behind ads. The spectre of supposed “meddling” by entities of one country in another’s election has been a major topic among tech companies, and has been blamed for everything from Donald Trump’s election in the United States to the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union.

Save the 8th Communications Director John McGurk, who supported Facebook’s move but opposes Google’s, notes that only 0.2% of the ads from either side originate overseas, raising questions as to whether foreign election interference is remotely significant enough to merit such a blanket crackdown.

Revealingly, pro-abortion repeal supporters such as Together for Yes campaign co-director Ailbhe Smyth hail the move for allegedly creating a “level playing field between all sides.” They claim it will ensure the winner will be decided on the “strength of their argument and power of personal testimony, not by the depth of their pockets.”

“This is not about which side of the referendum you’re on, Yes or No,” Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who also wants the amendment repealed, agreed. “It is about protecting the integrity of our referendum and political system.”

But pro-lifers believe “election integrity” is a pretext to give pro-abortion forces an unfair advantage. The Irish Catholic reports that the Pro Life Campaign, Save the 8th, and the Iona Institute have issued a joint statement accusing Google of an “attempt to rig the referendum.”

“It is very clear that the Government, much of the establishment media, and corporate Ireland have determined that anything that needs to be done to secure a ‘Yes’ vote must be done,” the statement from the three leading organizations to protect the amendment reads. “In this case, it means preventing campaigns that have done nothing  illegal from campaigning in a perfectly legal manner.”

The Irish Times reports that there aren’t any official figures on how much both sides have spent, but pro-repeal forces have a number of other messaging advantages, including much of the Irish media and the voices of dozens of Irish celebrities.

Further, Radiance Foundation co-founder Ryan Bomberger notes that conservatives have historically relied on the internet platforms now being denied them to counter the left’s dominance of almost all mainstream media. “Prolifers depend on social media tools to communicate, but it’s become a separate and unequal situation,” Bomberger said. “The Deities of Disinformation will not allow it.”

Irish Times political editor Pat Leahy reports that abortion supporters believe online ads help pro-lifers more than themselves, and therefore restricting them will benefit repeal.

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Canadian pediatricians: It’s normal for your kid to switch genders every day

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OTTAWA, Ontario, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) has released a new set of guidelines for discussing transgenderism with children, encouraging parents to accept and reinforce their kids’ gender confusion.

“More and more, parents are asking us when and how gender identity typically develops in children, what is considered typical behaviour, and what they should expect at certain ages,” CPS president Dr. Mike Dickinson said. “Paediatricians are well-positioned to answer these questions and help parents promote healthy gender development in their children.”

He explained that the guidelines were originally conceived as a “primer for our members,” but written as “something that might be helpful to the public at large,” to direct both parents and pediatricians on how to discuss transgenderism with children.

The guidelines tell parents it is “normal and healthy” for children as young as two to “assume other gender identities at different times (sometimes even in the same day).”

“Because some children’s gender identification may change, especially around puberty, families are encouraged to keep options open for their child,” the guidelines state.

The document defines “gender identity” as “who you know yourself to be,” and states as a scientific fact that “gender exists on a spectrum.” It also describes gender dysphoria as discomfort caused by the difference between “assigned” (biological) sex and one’s “true” gender.

The World Health Organization and the American Psychological Association still classify gender dysphoria as a mental disorder, though the former is expected to cede to political pressure and drop that label sometime this year.

The guidelines advise parents to allow their children to express “transgender or gender-creative” tendencies, such as by letting little boys wear dresses.

The guidelines suggest parents seek out “opportunities to show your child that transgender and gender-diverse people exist.”

They even imply that parents who “have a hard time accepting that their child’s gender identity is different than their assigned sex at birth” should seek out “additional help” to resolve their own “difficulties,” rather than resolving their children’s gender confusion.

The bottom of the page includes a list of recommended further resources, such as the radically pro-LGBT groups Gender Creative Kids Canada, Gender Spectrum, and Canadian Parents of Trans & Gender Diverse Kids.

Pro-homosexual activists see these new guidelines as an invaluable aid for promoting their agenda and ideology.

“To have (a profession) like pediatricians who are coming out with a statement, I think it’s very helpful,” Gender Creative Kids co-founder and vice president Annie Pullen Sansfacon told Global News.

Despite the medical professions’ growing insistence that giving young children hormone blockers and later cross-sex hormones is “healthy,” a few doctors are bucking that trend.

American College of Pediatricians president Dr. Michelle Cretella warns that “cooperating with a child's fantasy or delusion of being trapped in the wrong body temporarily mutes the impact of significant underlying emotional and psychological problems that are ultimately causing the gender dysphoria in the first place.”

The vast majority of children displaying gender confusion outgrow it on their own. A variety of medical evidence suggests that interrupting this natural progression with signals that kids should continue identifying with the wrong sex risks significant mental and emotional problems that would not otherwise develop.

A report last year out of the University of Cambridge found that 96 percent of transgendered Scottish students attempted self-harm and 40 percent attempted suicide.

Forty percent of transgender Americans have attempted suicide, as well, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). According to a 2011 Swedish study, “transgender” people remain 19 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population, even after sex “reassignment” surgery.

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Christian mom defends ex-gays, explains why LGBT movement despises them

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WASHINGTON DC, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Elizabeth Johnston, better known as the “Activist Mommy,” came to Washington, DC to address what she calls, “one of the most marginalized and censored groups in our culture:  The ex-homosexual.”

Johnson spoke to a crowd of about 80 mostly former homosexual and transexual millenials who had come to the Nation’s Capital last weekend for the first annual “Freedom March,” the brainchild of Jeffrey McCall, a young man who had once lived as a woman.  

READ: Former trans-woman: I dumped my dresses, hair, makeup to follow Jesus

“I am pro-choice,” announced Johnson, co-opting one of the sacred mantras of the sexual revolution, and turning it on its head.  “I believe people who choose to engage in homosexual sin also have the right to choose not to engage in homosexuality.  And they have the choice to seek therapy for their unnatural and unwanted desires.”

“I am tolerant,” she added.  “I want homosexuals to have the freedom to speak their mind and beliefs.  And I believe those who believe homosexuality is a sin against God also have the right––under God and under our First Amendment––to speak our beliefs.”

Earlier during the jubilant, prayerful rally on the grounds of the Washington Monument, those gathered were treated to one powerful testimony after another by former gays, lesbians, and transexuals who had discovered transformative power in Jesus Christ.  These folks spoke not of “conversion therapy” but of conversion to Christ and of finding new life in Him. 

“Why does the LGBT community want to silence these beautiful stories?” asked Johnson.  “Because the stories of these overcomers are the death blow to the lie that homosexuals were born that way, and they cannot change.”  

Johnson called the event “an extremely important, groundbreaking moment,” and said that the litany of testimonials “give us hope that freedom is possible in a world awash with gender confusion and sexual addiction.” 

“Do we really see what is going on behind the rainbow and the glitter?” asked Johnson.  “There is a war on the natural man-woman family.  There is a war on our children.  There is a war on all things decent, and on the image of God himself.”  

And now there is also war on those who identify as ex-gay and ex-transgendered. 

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented battle in this nation,” she added,” and the supporters of the now decades-old sexual revolution are trying to punish those who have opposing views.

“We need to harden up, soldiers,” proclaimed Johnson.  “It’s time for us to harden up––not in a bad way; keep a soft heart––but harden up against the persecution.”  

“You’ve experienced it,” said Johnson to the young ex-LGBT crowd, speaking of the sometimes vile and vitrollic silencing techniques of those who seek to squash the Freedom Marchers.  

Barrage of vitriol against the Ex-LGBT group

As if to underscore Johnson’s point, the Freedom Marchers were subjected to invective from the pro-LGBT world.

In advance of the event, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) cited the Freedom March in its weekly “Anti-LGBT roundup of events and activities,” in its infamous “Hatewatch” blog “that monitors and exposes the activities of the American radical right.”  

Yet there was no talk of politics at the event, and the gathering of racially diverse young people was hardly a “Young Republicans” meeting.  Interestingly, the Freedom Marchers are far more racially diverse than either the SPLC leadership team or its board of directors, perhaps revealing pervasive “unconscious racism” at the top of the once admirable organization.  

LGBT media ridiculed and denounced the event.  New Civil rights Movement quotes those who oppose “the concept of being ‘ex-gay’ or ‘formerly LGBT,’ because it's not possible, and actually harmful.”

Another LGBT media outlet, Intomore.com, attacked the Freedom March with a headline blaring, “Ex-Gay Pulse Survivor Exploited By Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group to Push Conversion Therapy,” referring to march speaker Luis Ruiz who had miraculously lived through 2016’s horrific Orlando gay nightclub massacre. 

Activist Mommy: 'We need to get louder than ever.'

“I’ve been so impressed watching this group of individuals,” said Johnson.  “I’ve been so impressed watching them interact as we’ve been planning for this event, watching them interact with the public, watching them interact with the ‘haters.’”  

“They’ve been so kind, so gracious, so loving and patient,’ she added. “It’s been such a beautiful, beautiful testimony.  

“It is time now, more than ever, to use our freedom, to use our free speech like you are doing out here today,” she concluded.   “We need to get louder than ever.”

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Betrayal: Irish priest group won’t tell Catholics to vote against abortion

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ANALYSIS

IRELAND, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – According to a small association of Irish Catholic priests, Catholics should vote on whether to legalize abortion based on their “conscience” and as priests, “we are not best placed to be in any way dogmatic on this issue.”

A Dublin priest along with pro-life advocates in Ireland told LifeSiteNews this group of priests is “usually first in line to attack the Catholic Church and her teachings” and not at all representative of the faithful in Ireland, including priests and bishops.

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Ireland issued this statement on May 5, saying “we do not wish to tell anyone how they should vote” and that “a vote cast in accordance with each person’s conscience, whatever the result, deserves the respect of all.”

The priests prefaced this by claiming, “As an association representing Catholic priests we fully endorse the Catholic teaching that all human life, from beginning to end, is sacred, and that every human person shares in the fundamental right to life.”

But they went on to assert:

We are also aware, and are constantly reminded in our ministry, that human life is complex, throwing up situations that are more often grey than black and white and that demand from us a sensitive, non-judgemental, pastoral approach. Also, as leadership of an association made up of men who are unmarried and without children of our own, we are not best placed to be in any way dogmatic on this issue.

We do not wish to tell anyone how they should vote. But we encourage both ourselves and any citizens who may be interested in our viewpoint, to do the best we can to acquaint ourselves with exactly what we are being asked to vote for, and what the possible consequences of our vote may be. Having done that to the best of our ability, and following it with the, often painful and difficult, task of consulting our conscience, let us cast our vote.

On May 25, the Emerald Isle will vote on whether to repeal its Eighth Amendment, which guarantees unborn children the right to life. This group of priests condemned the practice of allowing representatives from the “No” to abortion campaign speak during or after Mass, because “as there are, among faithful, Church-going Catholics, a great variety of opinions on this vote, we believe this is inappropriate and insensitive and will be regarded by some as an abuse of the Eucharist.”

“We believe it would be better if this practice ceased for the rest of the campaign,” they said. “We wish the Irish people well in this immensely important decision awaiting all of us. The leadership of the Association of Catholic Priests will have no further engagement in this debate.”

Complaints from leftists in the Church about “abuse of the Eucharist” are particularly rich given that they are typically the ones pushing for liturgical abuses in the forms of Communion in the Hand, female altar boys, ignoring the rubrics of the Mass, and diminishing the priesthood by employing a large number of lay people to distribute Holy Communion.

Just as it is convenient for leftists to quote parts of the Bible to further their cause – even though they don’t actually care what the Bible teaches, and normally would be busy castigating it – so too it is convenient for liberal-minded priests to pretend to care about liturgical norms when it suits their agenda, though normally they are the ones complaining about the Church’s “rigid” rules on the subject.

(The U.S. equivalent of this “Association of Priests,” for example, is known for its elderly priests who wear street clothes, enjoy “modern” liturgies, and advocate for a number of liberal sacramental changes.)

Only a tiny portion of all Irish priests are part of ACP

Dublin-based Father Terence Crotty explained to LifeSiteNews that the ACP has “no representative status for Irish priests as a whole.”

“Much has been made of the ACP request for no pro-life talkers at Mass, because, of course, it chimes with the government and media campaign to introduce abortion, so these forces are glad to hear it and publicise it,” said Crotty. But “it is worth remembering that the active membership of the ACP is absolutely tiny. I'd imagine you're talking about, at the very most, a few dozen priests out of a population of around about 4,700 Irish priests (going by a 2012 figure in given the Journal.ie - a bit lower now).”

“We are doing our bit for the referendum with a 40 hours devotion for the protection of unborn children,” Crotty told LifeSiteNews. “I think we are much more typical of the reaction of the Irish clergy than the ACP. Several other churches are doing the same or similar around Dublin. In my experience, Catholics of whatever leanings are right behind the no vote in this referendum.”

“Faithful Catholics continue to be horrified by statements that come from the so-called ‘Association of Catholic Priests,’” said Lisa Hare of Human Life International Ireland. “Their recent statement on the 8th Amendment is no exception. This group are usually first in line to attack the Catholic Church and her teachings.”

They “cause much scandal to the Body of Christ,” she told LifeSiteNews via email. “For the ACP to do anything other than UNAMBIGUOUSLY support the right to life of EVERY unborn child in Ireland in EVERY circumstance, demonstrates just how far they have walked away from Christ and his church.”

Human Life International Ireland is holding a National Day of Reparation in various Irish locations on May 13.

The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is “intrinsically evil” and therefore never morally acceptable.

“The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved,” wrote Pope St. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae. “The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined.”

Pope Francis, too, has repeatedly condemned abortion throughout his papacy.

Bishops respond...sort of

Martin Long, a spokesperson for the Irish Conference of Catholic Bishops, referred LifeSiteNews to a comments Bishop Dermot Farrell made to RTE in response to the ACP statement.

“You need to look for that to answer the quote,” he said.

According to the May 5 RTE report:

Responding to the statement from the ACP, Bishop Dermot Farrell of the diocese of Ossory said there is a tradition in the Catholic Church, down through the years, of lay people preaching in church on various issues including the right to life and other social issues.

He said these lay people complement priests and are not there to replace them. He also welcomed the ACP's statement which defends the fundamental right to life.

Asked if campaigners from the opposite side would be allowed into church he said no, as the Catholic church was defending its own teaching which is the right to life of the unborn.

Bishop Farrell said the church was not there to present sides of a case but explain its central teaching on the right to life.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Communications Office confirmed that that Bishop Farrell was speaking in a personal capacity and not on behalf of all the hierarchy.

Long told LifeSiteNews the Irish Catholic bishops are having their summer meeting in June.

The Irish Catholic bishops have been encouraging voters to reject abortion and save the Eighth Amendment. The new bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh, and Kilfenora gave a pro-life homily at his installation Mass in February 2018.

Bishops Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin, John Buckley of Cork and Ross, and Alan McGuckian of Raphoe all issued letters calling on parishioners to vote no on May 25.

“Nothing is as important for the future of our shared humanity as the right to life,” wrote Nulty.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, used his 2018 pastoral message to promote the pro-life message.

“In the name of ‘modernising healthcare’, the [government] Committee proposes a very liberal abortion regime, including unrestricted access to abortion up to twelve weeks, and, thereafter during pregnancy, very broad grounds for abortion and access to abortion,” he wrote.

“We should focus our energies and resources on making Ireland the most welcoming country in the world for a woman and her baby in the womb,” Martin declared. “Our doctors, nurses, midwives and other care professionals have already helped to earn Ireland’s place as one of the safest countries in the world for mothers and their babies during pregnancy. Ireland now has an opportunity to give even stronger witness that: we value all life equally; we care for the weakest and smallest, the strongest and healthiest, the youngest, the oldest, and the whole wonderful and beautiful spectrum of life in-between.”

Priests can’t have an opinion on abortion?

One of the claims the ACP made as to why it won’t take a “dogmatic” stance on abortion is “as leadership of an association made up of men who are unmarried and without children of our own, we are not best placed to be in any way dogmatic on this issue.”

Jesus Christ was also an unmarried man with no children of his own, but he had spiritual children. As a father in a spiritual sense, he had the duty to be dogmatic about protecting the little children from harm's’ way, be it supernatural harm (heresy) or natural harm.

Priests are ordained to be representatives of Jesus Christ on Earth, and they have a duty to uphold and preach the commandment “thou shalt not kill.”

Stephen Kokx contributed to this report.

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German archbishop: Pope Francis gave nod of approval to Intercommunion proposal

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ROME, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A German archbishop has said he believes Pope Francis has given his country’s bishops a nod of approval to move ahead with their controversial proposal to allow Protestant spouses who are married to Catholics to receive the Holy Eucharist.

Speaking to the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), the largest group of lay Catholics in Germany, Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg said that the Pope has given “a clear Richtungswink” on the issue of intercommunion. 

Richtungswink is a German expression that means “hint about a direction.”

In comments reported in Katholisch.de, the news portal controlled by the German bishops’ conference, Archbishop Hesse said that by referring the matter back to the German bishops, the Pope has signaled that they “have the competence” to decide the matter.

He further said the Pope has made it clear that the bishops’ conference can decide on whether a Protestant spouse can receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church, in exactly the same way as it had initially done, i.e. by a majority vote.

In February at the Spring plenary, the bishops of Germany overwhelmingly voted that permission could be granted to a Protestant spouse if, after having made a “serious examination” of conscience with a priest or another person with pastoral responsibilities, he or she “affirms the faith of the Catholic Church,” wishes to end “serious spiritual distress,” and has a “longing to satisfy a hunger for the Eucharist.”

At the time, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, made clear that the proposal did not require the Protestant spouse to convert to Catholicism.

The bishops intended to publish the proposal as a “pastoral handout,” but were blocked when seven German bishops sent a letter to the Vatican expressing their opposition. 

The seven bishops said they did not consider the vote to be “right,” because the issue of intercommunion is not a “pastoral one,” but “a question of the faith and unity of the Church, which is not subject to a vote.”

Last Thursday, German bishops representing both sides met with top Vatican officials at the offices of the Vatican’s doctrinal department. At the end of the discussions, Archbishop Luis Ladaria, SJ, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, communicated that Pope Francis — who was not present at the meeting — “appreciates the ecumenical commitment of the German bishops and asks them to find, in a spirit of ecclesial communion, a unanimous result if possible.” 

In comments to the National Catholic Register last Friday, Archbishop Ladaria’s predecessor, German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, described the statement as “very poor” and called on bishops and cardinals to raise their voices.

On Monday, May 7, Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk of Utrecht, Holland, issued a statement calling Pope Francis’ directive “completely incomprehensible.” 

“The Church’s doctrine and practice regarding the administration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist to Protestants is perfectly clear,” Cardinal Eijk said, citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Code of Canon Law.

“The practice of the Catholic Church, based on her faith, is not determined and does not change when the majority of an episcopal conference votes in favor of it, not even if unanimously,” he added.

As “the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful” (Lumen Gentium no. 23), Cardinal Eijk said the Holy Father should have given the German bishops clear directives based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Code of Canon Law. 

The Dutch cardinal added that, in “observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture,” he is reminded of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which warns of a “religious deception” that offers man “an apparent solution” at the “price of apostasy from the truth.” 

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Calvin Freiburger

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Movie shares raw, true story of fidelity to Christ and marriage during war

Calvin Freiburger

MEMPHIS, Tennessee, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The producers of some of the most popular recent faith-based films have just released the first trailer for a movie about an aspect of the War on Terror often overlooked: the role of chaplains helping troops keep their faith on the battlefield.

“Indivisible,” is based on the real-life story of Darren Turner, a U.S. Army Chaplain whose marriage was put to the test during the Iraq War.

The trailer depicts a mix of gritty military action and human drama on the home front, as a tour of duty separates Turner from his wife Heather (played here by “Grey’s Anatomy” actors Justin Bruening and Sarah Drew) for fifteen months. The film depicts both the responsibilities of a military chaplain, such as counseling soldiers and performing baptisms and funerals, and the toll his absence takes on his wife and children.

“Indivisible’s true story shows there is no marriage too broken for God,” director David Evans said in a press release. “We hope husbands and wives who see the Turners’ story on film will stop fighting one another and join forces to fight for their marriages together instead.”

“The heart of Indivisible is about marriage,” added Drew, who is also one of the film’s executive producers. “The military is the setting through which we tell a story about what it means to fight hard for the vows you make on that day you stand before God and before your community and say, ‘I will love you for better or worse.’”

Author Moni Basu also told Turner’s story in the 2012 book “Chaplain Turner’s War.” That year, the real-life Turner told her how the war’s horrors, the strain of the separation, and the perceived lack of concern for American troops among the general public grew into anger that he eventually began taking out on his family when he returned home.

"I came home angry," Turner explained. "Even my attitude, which I thought I was in control of, was walling me in. I didn't realize it until my wife told me, 'You're no longer welcome in our house.'"

“I was very selfish and tried to control my surroundings, which crushed those closest to me,” he admitted.

The unrest manifested in intense fights over minor issues like dishes, leading the two to separate after a few months.

We were not fighting together for our relationship. I wasn’t really fighting for our marriage. I was fighting against him, for our marriage. And he was just running away,” Heather recalls. “I knew something deeper, something supernatural, that we could not manufacture, had to happen, or else this was going to go nowhere.”

The turning point came one day four months after they separated, when Darren dropping off the kids with Heather simultaneously drove home the situation’s gravity in both of their hearts.

“We both were broken at the same time,” he explained. “This was divine inspiration in our lives, and thank God that He interrupted our selfishness.” She agreed that the moment “was as if a fog was lifted,” and they committed to rebuilding their marriage.

After a stint in a sales position, Turner became what he calls "a renewed man both in marriage and profession,” and resumed his job as a chaplain, while Heather volunteers with military families. 

Ultimately, he says, Jesus Christ remains his biggest source of strength. “He's been there on the other side, and came back to tell us,” Turner explained. “That's the biggest event in human history, something that maintains hope, even in battle. When soldiers get that, it changes everything.”

The film is produced by Reserve Entertainment, Provident Films, The WTA Group, Graceworks Pictures, and Calvary Pictures, which are responsible for faith-themed movies such as “Fireproof,” “Unstoppable,” and “The Grace Card.” It also features the acting talents of Jason George (Grey’s Anatomy), Tia Mowry (Sister, Sister), Michael O’Neill (NCIS), Eric Close (Without A Trace), and more.

“Invisible” is slated to hit theaters October 26. More details can be found at the film’s official website.

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Justin Trudeau | Ted Falk
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Trudeau slams Conservative politician for truthfully shouting abortion ‘is not a right’

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

OTTAWA, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life Conservative Member of Parliament touched off a ruckus in the House of Commons Wednesday when he shouted out that abortion “is not a right!” 

And MP Ted Falk is not only getting slammed by Liberals and NDP, but he’s reportedly been muzzled by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer in the wake of the controversy.

Falk heckled Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after Trudeau responded to an NDP question on rural access to abortion by declaring the Liberals “will always be unequivocal in standing up for a woman’s right to choose.”

“It is not a right!” Falk yelled. 

The remark provoked immediate outbursts from NDP and Liberal MPs, such that House Speaker Geoff Regan had to call repeatedly for order. 

“What we have just heard is awful,” was the response by NDP MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach, according to Hansard.

“This is a right, and everyone needs to understand that,” she added, to a sustained standing ovation from her colleagues and the Liberals.

Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef demanded Falk be asked to withdraw his “offensive echo” that “women do not have the right to choose.” 

“I am afraid that this is a question of debate, and we have opportunities to have debates on this subject,” answered the speaker.

Trudeau then addressed the matter, saying "We on this side of the House, along with the NDP, understand that women unequivocally have the right to decide what to do with their bodies, and we are always going to stand up for that right, regardless of what the Conservatives think or say."

The Liberal Party immediately used the incident to fundraise.

It sent out an email declaring Falk was wrong, and claiming a woman’s “right to choose” abortion “is a right, one protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

“Unfortunately, this is just the latest example of the Conservatives showing Canadians that they do not support women's rights,” the Liberal Party email noted.

Scheer “relied heavily on support from anti-choice organizations during his leadership campaign,” it went on.

But the Liberals claim that abortion is protected by the Charter is completely false, says Campaign Life Coalition vice president Jeff Gunnarson.

“Our president Jim Hughes sent Trudeau a letter in September asking him to stop telling the lie that abortion is a human right and protected by the Charter,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“And now the Liberal Party is capitalizing on the same lie to fundraise. It’s disgusting.”

Gunnerson also criticised Conservative leader Andrew Scheer for reportedly censoring Falk for telling an inconvenient truth.

“We support Ted for his courage, and thank him for standing up for unborn children,” Gunnarson said.

A source close to the Conservative Party told LifeSiteNews that when Falk’s clearly audible heckle landed in a lull in debate, Scheer “got that deer in the headlights look on his face.” 

According to the source, Scheer subsequently designated another MP to “give [Falk] a talking to and he went home early that night” to his Provencher, Manitoba riding.

One Conservative MP told LifeSiteNews off the record he thought Scheer just wanted Falk out of reach of reporters for a few days.

LifeSiteNews contacted Scheer’s office but did not hear back by deadline. Nor has Falk responded to calls for comment.

“For the leader of the Conservative Party not to support an MP who told the truth is to be complicit in the lies that the Liberals are propagating, that abortion is a human right,” Gunnarson told LifeSiteNews.

“Abortion is not a right. It’s the killing of the unborn child. Period.”

Conservative MPs dodged the issue Wednesday.

“Outside the chamber, Conservative MPs said they didn’t hear what their colleague had shouted and refused to comment,” Huffington Post reported.

But French-language Montreal newspaper Le Devoir reported Scheer issued a statement that avoided the word “abortion” while reiterating his party won’t legislate on “this controversial issue.”

“As has always been the case, a Conservative government will respect previous court decisions on this subject,” wrote Scheer.

Le Devoir contended that many Conservative MPs were embarrassed by Falk’s comment because they are already portrayed as a party that is against abortion.

The Conservative Party is only one of Canada’s three major parties that does not officially endorse abortion as part of its platform.

Some Quebec Tory MPs went on record criticizing Falk’s statement, reported Le Devoir.

It quoted Alain Rayes as saying: “What was said by the member, for me, is unacceptable inside the House of Commons,” and Gerard Deltell’s contention that: “This right existed, exists and will always exist.” 

Campaign Life’s Hughes debunked this claim in his September letter to Trudeau, which can be read in full here.

“It is unbecoming for the Prime Minister of Canada today to deliberately utter a falsehood and to keep repeating it,” he wrote.

When Campaign Life lobbied hard for a right-to-life amendment to the Charter, then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau “assured us that the Charter would have no impact on the abortion question,” Hughes noted.

Abortion “has never been declared to be a ‘Charter right’ by the Supreme Court of Canada,” he added. “In fact, the Court has specifically held that there is a legitimate right for Parliament to legislate on the issue, should it so choose.”

Moreover, “for as long as the United Nations has existed, consensus has never been reached on the issue of abortion as a human right,” noted Hughes.

Contact Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to express support for Ted Falk: 

Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
K1A 0A6

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 613-992-4593

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Felicia Simard addresses the National March for Life in Ottawa, May 10, 2018.
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

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I was a homeless drug addict, but I chose life for my baby

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

OTTAWA, Canada, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – “Heroism doesn’t look the same to everyone,” a young woman told a crowd of thousands at the National March for Life in Ottawa on May 10. “Grit, boldness, audacity, and a fierce spirit – these are not the words I would have defined myself with before the birth of my very tiny human,” she said, clearly choking back strong emotions. 

“I was the epitome of everything society told me would define me — rebellious, self-mutilating — I was against myself and society,” she said.  “I was a severe functioning alcoholic, addicted to cocaine and prescription pills.” 

“To make matters worse, I was homeless,” she added.  

Felicia Simard of CHOICE42 — pronounced “Choice for two” — told of her unlikely, unexpected discovery of inward strength which allowed her to choose life instead of an abortion for the child in her womb in the midst of an erratic, traumatic life.  

“I found out that life was being sustained inside of me,” she said, while at that moment, “sustaining life for myself seemed unimaginable, far off.  I thought, ‘I can’t bear a child into my circumstances.’”

But that’s when the heroic grit, boldness, and audacity kicked in from within. 

“So my heroism looked more like this:  Saying ‘Yes’ to a little life, even though I had no idea what it was going to look like, or how.”

“‘Grit’ looked like checking myself into a not-so local place of refuge at Wings Maternity Home, taking priority over 35 other girls on a waiting list,” said Simard.   

“‘Boldness’ was kicking habits I’ve had since the undeveloped age of eleven:  Excessive drinking, smoking cigarettes, and mixtures of my choice of mixtures and poisons.” 

“‘Audacity’ was looking in a mirror and finally facing––me, and childhood post-traumatic stress disorders.  I had a lot of those:  Crack baby, incest survivor, family shot at, landing us in the witness protection program, and abusive relationships that left me handcuffed to a mother’s basement banister.  Trauma was my ‘normal.’  And how dare anyone come and judge my normal.  Right?”

“But a fierce spirit — Jesus — chased me down to give me a life when I thought I would be doing my child a great service by giving them a death sentence they did not ask for,” said Simard.  “But God made something out of nothing.”  

“And so, to any woman out there facing an unplanned pregnancy, I encourage you to make a choice you both can live with,” said the now beaming, joyous, confidant Simard.   

“You are not a statistic on the rise, or who society says you will become,” she said.  “You are strong enough to choose life.” 

Simard concluded by encouraging those looking for help to “visit www.choice42.com to find support in your area.”

CHOICE42 is a Canadian grassroots pro-life organization.  It is “pro-woman, pro-baby, and pro-life.” 

The organization seeks “to create awareness about the humanity of pre-born children, and to provide support to women who are facing unplanned pregnancy or dealing with post-abortion problems,” according to its website, which “includes Canada’s largest nationwide database of pregnancy help resources.” 

"CHOICE42 encourages women to be fully educated about their options and to realize that though it is their choice, they are making a choice for two.” 

The March for Life is organized by Campaign Life Coalition, and marks May 14, 1969, the day Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Liberal government passed the omnibus bill legalizing abortion. The theme for this year's annual march was “Pro-Life.ALL.IN.”

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Diane Montagna Diane Montagna Follow Diane

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Vatican office finalizes key document for Youth Synod amid concerns of potential rigging

Diane Montagna Diane Montagna Follow Diane
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ROME, May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican has announced that a key document for the October 2018 Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment has been finalized.

The news comes amid growing concerns that key figures of the upcoming synod may try to manipulate the outcome to support a change in the Church’s teaching, particularly on homosexuality and contraception.

A statement issued earlier this week by the Vatican’s office of the Synod of Bishops said its general secretary, Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, presented the Instrumentum laboris, i.e. working document, to Pope Francis and members of the Ordinary Council at a meeting on May 7-8 in Rome.

“The text gave rise to an interesting exchange of views, in the form of suggestions and observations that were included in the document, in order to provide the Synod Fathers with an increasingly suitable instrument for their discussion,” the statement said. “The amended text was agreed by all participants,” it added.

The Synod of Bishops, as it is usually understood today, is an advisory body for the Pope. It was established by Pope Paul VI in 1965 as the Second Vatican Council was coming to a close.

Under canon law, this body comprises a group of bishops selected from different parts of the world, who meet at a time chosen by the pope to promote the close relationship between the pope and bishops. General assemblies of the Synod of Bishops discuss matters pertaining to the universal Church, while special assemblies address problems in specific geographical areas, such as that held on Africa in 2009.

The bishops are meant “to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world.”

As such, it has no canonical power and no jurisdiction. Therefore, it cannot decide matters of doctrine, as an ecumenical council would. It is up to the pope to ratify the decisions of a synod, which he does by issuing an Apostolic Exhortation - a papal text written shortly after the conclusion of the synod.

The 2018 meeting is being organized by the Vatican’s Synod office, led by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, with the help of the group’s 15-member ordinary council, 12 whom were elected to their roles at the end of the last Synod in 2015. 

The full list of those elected to the council by the members of the 2015 Synod include:

  • Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn;
  • South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier;
  • Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga;
  • Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson;
  • Australian Cardinal George Pell;
  • Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet;
  • Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias;
  • Philippines Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle;
  • British Cardinal Vincent Nichols;
  • Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah;
  • U.S. Archbishop Charles Chaput; and
  • Italian Archbishop Bruno Forte.

An official in the Vatican’s office of the Synod of Bishops told LifeSiteNews that all members were present at this week’s meeting, except Cardinal Pell and Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga.

Maradiaga’s absence is probably explained by the fact that he is suffering from prostate cancer and coming to the end of a six-month periodic course of treatment in Houston.

At the meeting, Cardinal Baldisseri explained that the Instrumentum Laboris had been prepared together with a group of “experts” who collected material from five sources: the responses from “eligible bodies,” e.g. national bishops’ conferences, to the Questionnaire at the end of the Preparatory Document; responses to the online Questionnaire addressed to young people; the acts of an international conference held in Sept. 2017; comments freely received from individuals and groups; and the final document of a pre-synodal meeting held on March 19-24, 2018.

Cardinal Baldisseri highlighted the “lively participation” of young Catholics as well as representatives from other religions at the pre-synod youth meeting held at the Vatican in March. 

“I am representing the Hindu religion and when I met the Pope he told me he respects all religions,” says the young man pictured in the video screen above.  

The gathering brought together some 300 young people from around the world. Its final document stated that young people “may want the Church to change her teaching” on “polemical issues” such as contraception, abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation, marriage, and the priesthood, “or at least to have access to a better explanation and to more formation on these questions.”

“Even though there is internal debate, young Catholics, whose convictions are in conflict with official teaching, still desire to be part of the Church. Many young Catholics accept these teachings and find in them a source of joy. They desire the Church to not only hold fast to them amid unpopularity but to also proclaim them with greater depth of teaching,” the document said.

At the meeting earlier this week, the Members of the Ordinary Council also discussed some “aspects and organizational criteria” of the Synod of Bishops, and of the next Ordinary General Assembly in October.

The text of the 2018 Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris has not been made public but is expected out in June. Also still unknown are the names of bishops (synod fathers) and expert consultants who will take part in the Oct. 3-28 gathering.

Despite concerns that a faction of synod fathers and organizers may attempt to predetermine the outcome of the deliberations in a way that is heterodox to the Catholic faith, sources say that bishops will be better prepared and on high alert for potential rigging, given their experience with the 2015 Extraordinary Synod on the Family.

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Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

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US actively countering international abortion push at United Nations

Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

NEW YORK, N.Y., May 11, 2018 (C-Fam) - The UN Economic and Social Council is discussing whether abortion should be part of humanitarian efforts at UN headquarters as negotiations on an annual agreement on humanitarian responses began this week.

A humanitarian program designed by UN agencies and abortion groups included “access to safe abortion to the full extent of the law” for the first time last year. The Economic and Social Council recommended that package last year, before the update where abortion was included was completed.

Now the Council is being asked to endorse this humanitarian package, known as the sexual and reproductive health minimum initial services package, or MISP, as it did last year, even though when it recommended it last year it did not include abortion.

The Economic and Social Council may follow the lead of the General Assembly, which rejected a reference to the MISP in its annual humanitarian resolution. But the pressure to accept the MISP and to make sexual and reproductive health a humanitarian item is mounting. The humanitarian context, when countries are most vulnerable and most dependent on outside assistance is seen by the abortion industry as an opportunity to make inroads in countries with conservative social mores.

The first time “sexual and reproductive health” (SRH) was used in the annual ECOSOC humanitarian resolution was 2015, without being defined or qualified in any way. Humanitarianism is an area that was not included in landmark UN agreements that addressed sexual and reproductive health, such as the International Conference on Population and Development. Any mention of sexual and reproductive health in the humanitarian context therefore lacks caveats on the issue of abortion from those agreements.

In this context the guidance of UN agencies in the MISP takes on even more significance. If UN member states accept sexual and reproductive health language in the agreement, without any limitation, it may give UN agencies free reign to define the concept as they see fit, and it would bolster the case for a humanitarian right to abortion.

The humanitarian context makes the inclusion of ambiguous abortion related terms all the more controversial since humanitarian norms can trump national legislative initiatives. There is an ongoing initiative of abortion groups, the UN secretariat, and UN agencies to make abortion in humanitarian emergencies the first instance of an ever-elusive international right to abortion.

The Security Council has adopted two resolutions that include the term “sexual and reproductive health” without defining the terms, or expressly including abortion. And the UN secretariat and Agencies have produced reports that address “sexual and reproductive health” in humanitarian settings and they include abortion among the services to be provided.

Using the term in a humanitarian resolution undermines U.S. foreign policy, such as the Helms Amendment to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act enacted by the U.S. Congress, which prohibits the use of any U.S. funding for abortions overseas.

The Trump administration switched positions in the middle of negotiations last year, from initially supporting the MISP to being neutral. This year, reports from negotiations are that the U.S. is rejecting both any mention of the MISP and of ambiguous euphemisms for abortion like “sexual and reproductive health” in favor of concrete measurable interventions like maternal health and family planning.

The negotiations underway at UN headquarters are expected to lead to the adoption of an agreement by the second half of June, when the Economic and Social Council holds its annual humanitarian segment.

Reprinted with permission from C-Fam.

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

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How America was brainwashed into accepting moral insanity

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Having personally lived through the frightening Cold War era between the Soviet Union and the West, I probably have a different perspective than many younger people about how we got to the widespread insanity we are now experiencing in society. 

Sadly, the youth of the past five decades or so have been deprived of the teaching of real history. They have instead been heavily propagandized in schools and universities with soul and spirit-killing, mind-dumbing, leftist ideological indoctrination. It seems that the indoctrination and education deprivation is worse now than it has been since the 1960s.

On-the-street, video-recorded interviews with University students reveal that many have not a clue about real past history and current political and social realities. They will fall for the most ridiculous made-up claims about prominent persons or news developments. No wonder there is a snowflake epidemic and collapse of respect for life, family, sexual morality, religious belief and practice and patriotism.

It has become catastrophic, but all of this has not been happening by chance. There have been powerful forces that have worked very hard for many decades to deliberately bring this about.

When we have a very prominent Catholic Church figure, Cardinal Marx of Germany, lauding his namesake, Karl Marx, the founder of diabolical communism, Pope Francis fully resurrecting John Paul-II-condemned Marxist Liberation theology within the Catholic Church and the rise of strongly Marxist social radical organizations such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter, the wise see that we are in deep trouble. 

The following article gives a little bit of the picture that the education and mainstream media institutions of today do not want anyone to know. It is an important read, especially for those who treasure faith, life and family. It explains a lot. It is not fiction or exaggeration. 

Steve Jalsevac

Co-Founder and President
LifeSiteNews

 

How Americans Got Hoodwinked

By Anthony J. DeBlasi

"It gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them."  When he said this, Hitler could have been speaking about America today.  The "secret" in Nazi Germany and democratic America is that minds were and are getting washed with propaganda from government and "official" channels of information and news.  By mid-century, the American press was virtually a branch of government, and it was a secret only to uninformed citizens that the public was being hoodwinked.

American labor organizer and former general secretary of the Communist Party USA, William Z. Foster, spelled out the plan for America in 1932:

The proletarian revolution in the United States will at once make a devastating slash into this maze of hypocrisy and intellectual rubbish.  Not less than in the Soviet Union, it will usher in a profound cultural revolution[.] ... [Education] will be revolu­tionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology.  The students will be taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism and the general ethics of the new Socialist society.  Present obsolete methods of teaching will be superseded by a scientific pedagogy.

Was this just a political rant, like that proliferating throughout Europe and America after World War I?  Or was it the "writing on the wall" by a vanguard of dedicated enemies of America?  By mid-century, the mission of Marxist activists to transform America into a Soviet-style collective was considered by many in the mainstream "a thing of the past" and all but forgotten.  When war broke out in Vietnam in the 1960s, however, and violent demonstrations on college campuses and riots erupted across America, older Americans suspected that the Marxist movement had been relegated to the dustbin of history too soon.  Student confrontations with police became daily news, blood was spilled, buildings were blown up, in brutal waves of protest against "the Establishment."  Accused of crimes against humanity, "the Establishment" was summarily convicted and sentenced to "justice" according to Marxist rules.  In their execution of "justice," the younger rebels practiced violence while their seniors engaged in planning and subversion.

Postwar activists, funded by agents in and out of government, had geared up to the wholesale trashing of Western culture, in preparation for the communist takeover planned early in the 20th century.  Marxists had already begun to inject their poison ideology in public schools by the start of World War II in a program of education called "Progressive," designed to prepare the young for a collectivist society.  How could such a trick be pulled off in a democratic country?  Democracy, according to John Dewey, the "father of Progressive Education," is a tool, not a form of government.  That's how.  A twist of words converted the will of the people into the will of the State! 

By the time of the 1960s uprisings, it was clear to all but the blind that America was under attack from within.  Where were the news media reports of subversion?  Why was the public kept from knowing, for example, that the Soviet Union provided $1 billion to the U.S. anti-war movement (AKA peace movement)?

I was aware of the deadly mixture of truth and falsehood being fed the public in the news, on campus, in the school room, in church – distortions of truth dressed in noble language that concealed the intent of political rebels "to demolish beyond hope of repair the engine of Western metaphysics" – to use the words of J. Hillis Miller, an outspoken academician of the political left.

The Vietnam War was fuel for the social firestorm breaking out across America in the 1960s, staged and started by rebels and dissenters of every stripe.  The Vietnam War – let it be clear – was an excuse, not a cause for the violence on this side of the Pacific.  Where were the brigades of concerned citizens to quell the skirmishes and fight the battles? – where the groundswell of voices drowning the political drivel in the press, on TV, on college campuses?  In a country where part of a soldier's oath is to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" – for which they were sent to all corners of the world – such "oversight" of internal warfare amounted to treachery!

Regardless of congressional action like that of Senator Joseph McCarthy to identify communists in an effort to quash plots against the government, and despite the abundance of anti-communist commentary and calls to action from books, pamphlets, periodicals, talk programs, and church leaders, no effective measures were put in place by the government to counter the threat to the American way of life.  And instead of sounding an alarm to alert the public that their way of life was being threatened, the mainstream news media continued to justify and support the 1960s social revolution and its culture-bashing aftermath.

By the 1980s, an entire new generation was disoriented.  School and media had turned young minds toward an ideology at odds with America's founding principles and values.  Americans progressively lost their moral bearings and their identity as Americans.  Marxist activists and other crusaders for a collectivist nation had by now taken positions of leadership in academia, government, and church.  Public schools were beginning to pit students against their parents and filling their heads with ideas calculated to undermine the core values of their country and heritage.

Americans who got all their news from the mainstream press or TV were unaware that a culture war had broken out across the country.  Mainstream media reporters, allegedly on the side of truth, were either ignorant or complicit.  Reporting the truth, never safe, was more than ever a sure way of getting fired.  If you, as an honest writer or editor, didn't like what was going on, you could join the ranks of publications and organizations that were black­listed or struggling to get the word out.

As in "the invasion of the body-snatchers," America changed from a relatively free and happy land to a fretful and contentious one.  The atmosphere throughout the land soured, with a slew of legally backed prescriptions for thought, speech, and behavior, facetiously dubbed "political correctness" – rules that pit oppressor class against victim class (a Marxist trick to divide and control people).  Most damaging was the fact that these "politically correct" instructions were being fed to schoolchildren and reinforced in the mainstream media by groups and agencies that were not elected by or represented the people.

The left's brainwashing of American minds was accompanied by a progressive deterioration of morality, due in great measure to the failure of religious leaders to publicly condemn those in the public eye who acted amorally or immorally.  "Anything goes" hoaxes against the mind (such as the so-called "sexual revolution") to detach the mind from the heart weakened the moral sense and the mental acuity of mainstream Americans.  It also weakened the initiative and enterprising spirit that once formed the character of American society.

All the foregoing said, it must be everyone's hope and prayer that the long journey back to political and social sanity be conducted with honesty and love for one another. 

Anthony J. DeBlasi is a Korean War veteran and lifelong defender of Western culture. This article originally appeared in American Thinker and is re-published with permission of the author.

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In today’s culture war, we’re surrounded—and have no choice but to fight back

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May 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Earlier this week, I spoke to a pro-life banquet in the little Saskatchewan town of Estevan, population 10,000. It was one of those prairie small towns where everybody knows everybody, where many people still live within shouting distance of where they were born, and where the local pro-life dinner was advertised everywhere from the leisure center to the storefront window of the local pharmacy. Both radio and TV reporters were at the dinner—160 people is a big crowd for Estevan, after all—and a local family sang a few beautiful songs accompanied by the violin and piano.

After I finished my speech, I took a few questions from the audience. One question from an elderly woman near the back of the church struck me as I considered it. How, she asked, do we find the hope to keep going when so many things in our culture seem to be going so wrong? With online pornography threatening our churches, marriages, and communities—I’d addressed that threat early on in my speech—and governments across the country that operate with contempt for parental rights and freedom of speech, how can we avoid despair?

The answer to that is a simple one: We don’t have a choice. Many decades ago, perhaps we did. We could raise our kids, go to church, build our own Christian schools, and the government would largely leave us alone. Ensuring that our homes remained porn-free could be as simple as some serious conversations and a decent sweep under the beds and through the closets once in awhile. Nobody demanded that Christian schools change their curriculums to advocate for unchristian ideas or lifestyles, and nobody demanded that people either approve of the latest progressive project or be damned as a bigot.

But that was then, and this is now. While Christian communities minded their own affairs, fundraising money for their schools and organizing church events and raising their children, the progressives were hard at work transforming the society around us. Now, progressive politicians in some provinces are determined to force Christian schools to implement curriculum that lauds unbiblical lifestyles, or face possible shutdown. Christian politicians are accusingly interrogated by progressive journalists as to whether or not they still believe in traditional marriage. Anti-Christian politicians demonize social conservatives in order to tar squishy conservative politicians with the same brush. Insinuations, if not assertions, are made in the press that to hold to the Judeo-Christian values of the last two thousand years makes you a hatemonger.

And then there is online pornography. As I said in my speech in Estevan, if Christian communities fail to get out in front of this threat, nothing else will matter. It is impossible to exaggerate the scale of this plague: in 2016, 4,599,000,000 hours of porn were watched on PornHub alone. That translates into roughly 524,641 years worth of porn—or 12 porn videos for every man, woman, and child on Planet Earth. Porn is poisoning our Christian schools. I know—I speak in these schools, and I talk to the students, and I get their emails. Many of them start looking at porn around the sixth grade. Many of them have seen their view of girls and women transformed. Some of them hate themselves for it.

Porn is infiltrating the churches, too. Over half of evangelical pastors surveyed admitted to looking at porn in the past month. Marriages are collapsing at an unprecedented rate, as young men raised on a diet of porn enter relationships they are not equipped to sustain, poisoned by the selfishness and twisted ideas about sexuality that they have consumed virtually since childhood. Again, I could tell you dozens of heartbreaking stories that I have heard firsthand from young men and women who saw their fairytale collapse under the weight of ugly pornographic fantasy. Porn is ruining the churches, communities, and families that we rely on. Without them, what do we have? What would we have left?

We under attack from both without and within. From without, left-wing governments are presenting us as hateful, misogynist, homophobic wretches who deserve nothing but social contempt and should be driven from the public square. Listen to what our leaders are saying, and listen closely: They are laying out the justification for the abrogation of parental rights. Some, like Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP, are already saying that children need to be shielded from their parents. From within, the toxic waste oozes from the glowing screens of cell phones, tablets, iPads, laptops, and computers, ruining our souls and our capacity to love and sacrifice. These things are happening here, and they are happening now.

And so what choice do we have? I have a beautiful little daughter, and I want her to be able to attend a Christian school just as I did in British Columbia, and my wife did in Alberta. I want her to be part of a thriving church community, and to be able to grow up and find a partner unpoisoned by pornography if she should decide to. But in 2018, I can’t take any of those things for granted anymore. These things used to simply happen—now, they must be fought for tooth and nail. These threats are not going away. They are growing.

So it is not hope that we need, not really. At least, that’s not the most important thing that we need. What we need is resolve, determination, and the awareness that for traditional Christian communities, these battles are existential ones. We fight because we have no choice. As Golda Meir once noted, we do in fact have a secret weapon: No alternative.

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