All articles from May 15, 2018


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Planned Parenthood sues Iowa for banning abortion of babies with beating hearts

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By Claire Chretien

IOWA, May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are suing Iowa over its law prohibiting abortions on most babies with detectable heartbeats, which is slated to go into effect on July 1.

“Iowa politicians have tried to ban virtually all abortions for women in our state,” said Rita Bettis, the ACLU’s Iowa legal director. “In the 45 years since Roe [v. Wade], no federal or state court has upheld such a dangerous law.”

The Supreme Court has essentially ensured abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy remains a daily reality in America. Pro-life activists hope, however, that in the next few years President Trump will appoint a new justice who may tip the balance in favor of life. It typically takes a case several years to make its way to the Supreme Court.

The Heartbeat Law, which Gov. Kim Reynolds signed on May 4, is expected to stop most abortions, starting between 6-8 weeks. It allows exceptions for babies conceived in rape if reported within 45 days, babies conceived in incest if the incest is reported within 140 days, or fetal abnormalities deemed “incompatible with life,” and for physical threats to the mother’s life.

Despite these exceptions, it is still the strongest pro-life law in the country and has made Iowa the safest place in America for the majority of unborn children. Its proponents say that if the Heartbeat Law makes it way up to the Supreme Court, it could be the case that leads to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, particularly if President Trump has appointed another justice by then.

Reynolds said recently that defending the life-saving legislation is a “fight worth fighting.”

“We’re not slowing down, we’re not going to stop,” she said. “We know that our work is not done, that we must continue to work together to change the hearts and minds. As governor, I pledge to you to do everything in my power to protect life.”

The Thomas More Society and Liberty Counsel, two pro-life law firms, have already offered to defend Iowa’s Heartbeat Law in court for free. It’s unclear if the state attorney general will accept their offer.

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Left lambastes GOP official for sharing LifeSite article critical of LGBT agenda

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By Calvin Freiburger

CASPER COUNTY, Wyoming, May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The chair of the Campbell County Republican Party in Wyoming became a target of left-wing attacks after she shared a LifeSiteNews article highlighting the LGBT agenda on social media.

On April 29, Vicki Kissack shared on Facebook a link to an April 26 piece by Lloyd Marcus titled, “Face facts: The LGBTQ movement wants to destroy Christianity.” The op-ed was responding to legislation introduced in California that conservative legal analysts say is written broadly enough to ban books and other forms of speech intended to help people overcome unwanted same-sex attraction.

"Deception is a powerful tool to control people. Jews at Auschwitz passively marched into gas chambers to their deaths because the Nazis deceived them into believing they were being taken to the showers,” Marcus wrote in the quote Kissack shared with the link. “Christians are passively allowing LGBTQ activists to steal the hearts and minds of their children, drive followers of Christ out of business, and threaten pastors with jail time for quoting the Bible. Deceived by the LGBTQ movement, Christians are passively marching to the death of Christianity.”

The post was met with various comments accusing Kissack of “spew[ing] hatred,” pushing the “christian version of sharia law” [sic], and more, as well as comments agreeing with her and Marcus. Subsequent posts of hers on unrelated subjects were also spammed with complaints and charges of bigotry, as well as rainbow flags and pictures of men kissing.

Gillette Mayor Louise Carter-King said that “compar[ing] any group of people to Nazis is vulgar and against everything that a decent society represents,” while Commission Chairman Mark Christensen said that Campbell County “deserves better than to be portrayed as a haven for bigotry and intolerance.”

“I’m a Christian and I’m gay,” Wyoming Equality volunteer Hank Pridgeon, who also says he’s a Republican, told the Casper Star Tribune. “How dare she make a statement like that? That offends me.” 

The Tribune also notes that earlier this year, Kissack explained that she sometimes posts “hot-button topics” on social media “just to see what the pulse of my community is.”

On May 1, Kissack posted a follow-up statement explaining that her disagreement with homosexuality and objections to LGBT activists don’t translate to hatred of homosexual individuals.

“As a Christian I have friends and family who live homosexual lifestyles and some who are atheist, we sometimes have colorful discussions, we always challenge each other and yet we choose to remain friends,” she wrote. “Why? Because we respect each other and we respect each other's beliefs.”

Kissack told those who “choose to post hateful things on my page” despite not knowing her that “I may not agree with your lifestyle but I believe that you are perfectly made in the image of God and try as you might you will not change my convictions and beliefs.”

She also told the Gillette News Record that she had “no ill intention or ill motive” for sharing the article, and that the controversy has been “blown out of proportion.” 

“I feel like I have been cherry-picked to make an example out of, and that is deeply concerning to me,” she said.

“We’re in a nation built on liberty and freedoms,” Kissack continued. “I don’t think that we should ever retreat on our freedom. We need to rise up and not retreat.”

On May 14, Marcus addressed the controversy at American Thinker, where his previous piece first appeared.

“I praise God for Wyoming GOP county chair Vicki Kissack having the courage to share my article,” he wrote. “The immediate severe attack on Kissack for simply sharing my article confirms the bullying and intolerance of LGBTQ enforcers that I exposed.”

“Please pray that God gives this patriot sister courage to stand and will build a hedge of protection around her and her family,” Marcus urged his readers, invoking Isaiah 54:17: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.”

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Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

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Abortion pill on trial: Pro-life group could change UK abortion policy

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
By Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

May 15, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – SPUC's judicial review against the Scottish Government policy which allows women to carry out DIY abortions at home commenced yesterday. 

The two day hearing in front of Lady Wise is being held at the Court of Sessions in Edinburgh. SPUC is being represented in court by Morag Ross, QC, who has been involved in numerous high-profile human rights and civil liberties cases.

Very significant case

SPUC Scotland filed the legal challenge in January, after Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, refused to reverse her decision to authorise the taking of misoprostol (the second stage of a medical abortion) outside a clinical setting. 

The decision in this case is likely to have far reaching consequences. Lord O'Shaughnessy recently told the House of Lords that the Westminster government is "not currently in a position to approve homes as a class of place [where abortions can happen] under the [1967 Abortion] Act" but that "we shall look closely at developments in these legal proceedings, as well as any other evidence that arises."

The outcome could also affect moves in Wales to license misoprostol for home use. 

No standards

SPUC's challenge rests on two major grounds: firstly, that the home is not an approved place for abortions to take place, and secondly, that the Act demands the presence of medical, nursing or clinical staff during a procedure.

Ahead of the hearing, SPUC Scotland CEO John Deighan explained that unlike "hospital" or "GP surgery" there is no set definition of a "home" and no guarantee that the things necessary for an emergency or even basic comfort care (such as running water and a toilet) during the abortion would be available.

"Many people live many miles away from their nearest hospital," he said. "Indeed not only distance but other requirements should be taken into account here such as the availability of ambulance service, availability of someone to drive them to hospital should this be required, the availability of petrol, the hope that nothing goes wrong with the vehicle since there is no objective standard of vehicle, the impossibility of being able to provide any assurance of reaching medical care in a specified time due to traffic, road works, rush hour, congestion, weather difficulties."

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Not even first aid required

Mr Deighan also explained the issues with there being no medical supervision to the abortion.

"The proposals call for an adult to be at home with the pregnant lady but how is this check objectively carried out?" he asked. "This could be anyone aged 16 or over and even a 100-year-old unsuitable and incapable of supervising a medical abortion.

"It could foreseeably be the partner – or a pimp – who may have no consideration for the pregnant woman’s care other than the desire that she abort his baby and monitor that this takes place. 

"An adult is neither a medical professional nor a registered medical practitioner. There is no requirement for any standard of first aid qualification or medical knowledge in case of emergency or simply for caring for the pregnant woman whilst she suffers the adverse effects of the abortifacient medication."

Health risks horrific

"Our legal advice is clear, and we are confident that the Scottish Government’s decision to give women the abortion pill to take home is not in keeping with the law," he concluded. "The scheme amounts to authorising backstreet abortions. That is not being alarmist it is a simple fact. The potential health risks for mothers and their babies are horrific. There would be no medical oversight and this development will result in dreadful threats to women’s health."

The case continues. 

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

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Monsignor Nicola Bux
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Noted theologian: Pope cannot abdicate his duty to teach clearly on intercommunion

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Pope cannot abdicate the Petrine Ministry in favor of a synodal method of Church governance on questions such as intercommunion, a respected theologian and former consulter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during Benedict XVI’s pontificate has said.

Writing yesterday in La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, Italian Monsignor Nicola Bux said the Catholic Church is “hierarchical, not synodal” and “pastoral issues are resolved only if the ‘meal’ is made of true doctrine.”

Msgr. Bux’s comments come in response to a recent interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper on intercommunion and the German bishops’ controversial proposal to allow a Protestant who is married to a Catholic to receive the Holy Eucharist in some cases.

In February 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. 

In an interview with La Stampa, published on May 13, Cardinal Walter Kasper argued that the Second Vatican Council’s decree on ecumenism, Unitatis redintegratio, provides magisterial support for admitting Protestants to Communion in some cases. He said the Vatican II decree also allows local bishops’ conferences “prudently” to decide on the matter. 

Kasper also praised the German bishops’ controversial draft proposal, saying it finds further magisterial backing in two encyclicals of Pope John Paul II: Ut unum sint (1995) on the commitment to ecumenism, and  Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003) on the relationship of the Eucharist to the Church.

“The two encyclicals insist very much on adherence by Protestants to the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist, that is, on manifesting ‘the faith that the Catholic Church confesses,’ to quote John Paul II,” Kasper said. “For a true Lutheran,” he continued, “the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is obvious.”

“Certainly you cannot require as much from a Protestant as you normally would from a Catholic,” he added. “It’s enough to believe: ‘This is the body of Christ, given for you.’ Luther also very much insisted on this,” adding that “even a ‘normal’ faithful Catholic doesn’t know the more developed doctrines of transubstantiation or consubstantiation.” 

Asked about the letter of opposition from the seven bishops, Kasper quipped, “I’m not their schoolmaster,” but said he believes their problem can be resolved by considering his position. 

Kasper said Pope Francis’ decision to return the question of Communion for Protestants to the German bishops’ conference was “very wise,” explaining that the Pope was “in full harmony with the idea of the synodality of the Church.” With his decision, Pope Francis has signaled that, on fundamental questions, “a majority is not enough ... unanimity is needed,” Kasper said.

Recalling his tenure as bishop in the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Kasper explained that although he never issued “an official statement” allowing Protestants to receive the Holy Eucharist when attending Mass with their Catholic spouse, he “like all the other bishops” knew that Protestants who were “truly interested” went to Communion.

Kasper also said that, in his experience, many Protestants have more respect and love for current Pope than “some Catholic critics.”

The “more theological issues” of universal jurisdiction, the fullness of jurisdictions etc, aren’t really issues for “the normal laity,” Kasper said, adding that Protestants who “live in ecumenical friendship” are happy to “leave the accusation that the Pope is the anti-Christ to secularists and the masons.”

Cardinal Kasper concluded that while theological principles “always have value,” they should not be “mechanically” applied to concrete situations. “Were we to do this, it would be the heresy of gnosis, which Pope Francis has rightly denounced,” he said.

Responding to Kasper’s claims in his article on La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, Msgr. Bux shows how Cardinal Kasper “stretches” magisterial texts and “jumps over” key passages, in a kind of theological and ecclesial obstacle course aimed at gaining the prize of intercommunion.

Bux also said he believes the growing opposition between bishops, as most recently evidenced in the debate between the German episcopacy, points to a disturbing truth about the present pontificate.

Here below we publish an English translation of the article by Msgr. Nicola Bux, with the kind permission of La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana.

***

Gregory of Nyssa, one of the Cappadocian fathers, recalls that Jesus Christ “admonishes his disciples always to be united in solutions to questions and in their assessment of the good to be done; to be of one heart and one spirit and to esteem this unity as the one and only good” (Homily on the Canticle of Canticles”; Homily 15; PG 44, 1115-1118).

With this premise, one ought to look at the debate on so-called “intercommunion,” raised by the guidelines of the German bishops who mean to admit to Holy Communion Protestant spouses of Catholics, against whom seven other German bishops have aligned. Incidentally, the term “intercommunion” seems incomprehensible at the very least, because Communion is in itself the union of persons. In order for this union to exist, people must adhere — with regard to Eucharistic Communion — to the faith which the Catholic Church professes. For the Orthodox, Eucharistic Communion among Christians is possible only if they also share the same idea of the Church. For this reason, they cannot conceive of intercommunion.

Cardinal Walter Kasper has weighed in on the subject in an interview with Vatican Insider, arguing that Communion with the Protestants is already provided for in one Vatican II document and in two documents by St. John Paul II.  This is an obvious and unacceptable stretch. Let us look, for example, at the Council decree on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, paragraph 8. Kasper applies to “intercommunion” (a term which Kasper also considers misleading), “common worship [communicatio in sacris],” which the paragraph applies to a union in prayer, as the very title  suggests.

Communication in sacred things in fact has different degrees, and it does not seem that here the decree on ecumenism intends to refer to the sacraments, but only to the union in prayer that, after Vatican II, spread particularly among separated Christians. Indeed, the same paragraph, shortly before, mentions prescribed prayers for Christian unity together with separate brethren. And these are considered to be a very effective means — says the paragraph — of imploring the grace of unity and of manifesting the bonds by which Christians are united among themselves. The paragraph therefore does not speak of the sacraments but only of a union in prayer.

After all, the Acts of the Apostles, in the famous passage 2:42, distinguishes the communion of prayers from communion in the breaking of bread, i.e. the Eucharist. Therefore the expression “communication in sacred things,” rightly does not here concern the sacraments, as the paragraph says. The extension the the cardinal makes is therefore out of context.

The reason why the Council decree cannot pertain to the sacraments is also tied to the fact that, in determinate cases, Catholics can received the Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, only from non-catholic ministers whose Church has valid sacraments. In essence, this only involves the Orthodox, and certainly not the Protestants (cf. can. 804 par. 2). It is understandable why the local episcopal authority can have competence at this level of a communicatio in sacris — that is, ecumenical prayer — but not at that sacramental dogmatic level, for which the universal Church has competence. Thus the theory of the particular case doesn’t stand up either — a theory which, according to Kasper, is guided by the principle of the salvation of souls insofar as it pertains to the sacraments. 

Regarding n. 46 — not 24, as erroneously stated in the interview — of the encyclical Ut Unum Sint, the context is given by the subheading: “Approaching one another through the Word of God and through divine worship.” The part quoted by Kasper does no more than repeat what has already been said in the aforementioned paragraph. 8 of the decree on ecumenism. Here too, John Paul II reaffirms that Sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of the Sick to Christians can be administered by Catholic ministers, in certain cases, to those Christians who manifest the faith that the Catholic Church professes in these sacraments. It is obvious that a Protestant who manifests the Catholic faith in the sacrament is no longer a Protestant.

As for paragraph 45 of the other encyclical Ecclesia de Eucaristia, the complete quotation from the concluding part is: “In this case, in fact, the intention is to meet a grave spiritual need for the eternal salvation of an individual believer, not to bring about an intercommunion which remains impossible until the visible bonds of ecclesial communion are fully re-established.” Why did Cardinal Kasper skip over this last part? And yet John Paul II, in the previous paragraph, n. 44, insists precisely on the integrity of the bonds so that there may be complete ecclesial communion. This is precisely what manifests the desire of Catholics to arrive at true communion.

Then in his next answer, the cardinal takes for granted that Lutherans believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Until now, we knew that they do not believe in transubstantiation. Nor can it be advanced as a mitigating factor that there are also Catholics who do not know what the latter is, because this depends ignorance of basic catechism. Instead, one must ask a Protestant what is normally asked of a Catholic, otherwise on what real basis would the union of Christians be built? It should be mentioned in this regard that, during his visit to Germany in November 1980, John Paul II reminded Christian leaders of what separates Catholics and Protestants: “what is of Christ…,” particularly “the sacraments.”

The cardinal then admits that, in Germany, the problem is religious indifference, while interest in religious questions is greatly diminished. So why has the German Bishops’ Conference given such importance to intercommunion? Why not address secularization by promoting a new evangelization? In this way even those who are not Catholics but have a desire to share in the Eucharist would be helped first of all to know the Catholic Eucharistic faith. That would remove the impediment that currently remains.

Regarding the outcome of the consultation between German bishops and the Vatican dicasteries, it must be remembered that the Catholic Church is not a synodal church where the collegial consent of the bishops is sufficient — as in the Orthodox churches — because the exercise of the Petrine Ministry, which indicates the course to the whole church, is indispensable; the Pope cannot abdicate this task. For the Catholic Church is hierarchical, not synodal. Pastoral problems are resolved only if the “meal” is made of true doctrine, as St Paul recalls in his second letter to Timothy 4:2 — truly a pastoral letter, which is the same as saying doctrinal — where the apostle invites the disciple to work with all patience and doctrine (in Greek: didaché).

In conclusion Cardinal Kasper appeals to concrete life, in my opinion exchanging the Catholic faith in the Petrine primacy, which is objective — that is, it prescinds from the man who sits on the Chair of Peter — with the esteem and love that subjectively “many Protestants have.” For the Catholic faith, however, “the Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful.” (Lumen Gentium, 23).

It is precisely the growing opposition, first between the bishops and consequently between the faithful, that shows that this proposition, today, is no longer evident.

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‘Bisexual’ Grand Knight at Catholic college complains to press after he was asked to resign

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire, May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Asked to resign for having made his same-sex relationship public, the leader of a Catholic men’s club complained to college authorities.

Andrew D. Keyes, Class of ‘18, was the Grand Knight of the Saint Anselm’s College chapter of the Knights of Columbus when he attended a formal function on March 16 with a male partner. He later told America magazine that the man was his “boyfriend.”

After a complaint by former Grand Knight Andrew Cilento, Keyes was asked to step down by the chapter’s chaplain, Fr. Benedict Guevin, OSB, lest his leadership become a scandal to younger members.

In response, Keyes went to the Dean’s Office to complain about the resignation and gave interviews to two college newspapers, the Saint Anselm Crier and the Hilltopper, and America magazine.

On April 9, the Saint Anselm Crier reported that Keyes had resigned over “what he claims was unfair discrimination based on his sexuality.”

Keyes studies criminal justice and politics and worked as a high school student for pro-abortion Massachusetts state Rep. Jim Cantwell. He told the Crier that many people at the Knights’ formal event were “aware” of his sexuality. He also stated that he suspected the Saint Anselm’s Chapter had been pressured financially by the Supreme Council. These allegations were denied by Fr. Guevin, the Chapter, and the Supreme Council.

Keyes told the Crier that the chaplain had been “incredibly supportive” but that he had told him his hands were “essentially tied.” Keyes also claimed Guevin told him that if he didn’t resign peacefully there would be an “impeachment trial.” Guevin has denied that he would have held such a trial. Impeachment trial by fellow Knights is not actually a disciplinary procedure known to the Knights of Columbus.

Keyes also told the Crier that after his visit to the Dean’s Office, he was told he could “stay on as Grand Knight and (have) administrative support.” However, he admitted that the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic Church organization and not a college group.

Guevin and Keyes’ brother Knights have stressed to the media that Keyes was asked to resign not because of his sexual orientation but because he is in a same-sex relationship.

Jaycen Carroll, who is the Chapter’s acting Grand Knight, explained to the Crier, “It isn’t about being gay, but it is about openly being declaring yourself in a same-sex relationship while holding office in an organization that seeks to uphold Catholic teaching.”

Cliento, the Knight who first objected to the conflict of interest, told the Hilltopper that it “was inappropriate for Mr. Keyes to hold a leadership position for a Catholic organization while being in a relationship that is contrary to the teachings of Holy Mother Church.”

Cliento had made his displeasure known to his brother Knight by sending him texts by phone. The Hilltopper reported that these included the following:

“1) you’re off serving (at the altar) 2) resign now as Grand Knight or I’m going to motion to have you removed” and, later, “you’re literally causing massive public scandal to the Knights and the Church.”

Guevin, the chaplain, told the Hilltopper that it was wrong to say Keyes was asked to resign because of his sexuality.

“To throw around the word ‘discrimination’ is unwise and untrue,” he stated.

Guevin explained that as chapter chaplain he is responsible for holding the Knights to the standards of Catholic doctrine and that being Grand Knight is an “exemplary” position. This is why it was “especially important” that a Grand Knight be held to the high standards of Catholic teaching.  

Keyes told America magazine that he was an altar server and a “master of ceremonies” at the campus church before the March 16 event, but since his resignation he has not been scheduled to serve at Mass. He now finds it “a little painful” to attend Mass with his peers and “has not felt motivated to go since the incident.”

America reported that Keyes identifies as a bisexual.  

LifeSiteNews reached out to the Knights of Columbus, the Saint Anselm’s College Chapter of the Knights of Columbus, and to Keyes. They had not responded by publication time.

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20-year-old Connor McLaughlin defends Church teaching on EWTN.
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Catholic youth preparing correction of controversial pre-synodal document

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By Claire Chretien

May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Pentecost – this coming Sunday – a group of Catholic youth expect to publish a summary of what was left out of the “pre-synod” document presented to Pope Francis in March.

They hope to distribute it to bishops going to the synod on youth in October to give them a clear picture of what Catholic youth actually want.

The official “pre-synod” document was supposedly written taking into account what young Catholics around the world expressed via official Facebook groups set up by the Vatican. Many Catholic adolescents and young adults in these groups – particularly the English-speaking one – called for more access to the Tridentine Mass, more reverent liturgies in general, and a greater defense of Church teaching on sexual morality, abortion, and marriage. They were therefore disappointed at the document’s weak treatment or disregard for those issues.

Twenty-year-old Connor McLaughlin is spearheading the effort to correct the pre-synodal document. He told LifeSiteNews that authentic friendship, mental health, and femininity and masculinity were “really, really left off the document.”

The document McLaughlin and others are working on will likely address “reverence in the liturgy,” he told LifeSiteNews, and “we’re talking about adding in some of the writings of Cardinal Ratzinger, specifically (from) his book The Spirit of the Liturgy.”

He said the purpose of the document is not to claim that either the Old Mass or the New Mass is better than the other but to address “What does it mean to have reverence?”

“What is the core thing that is preventing teens and young adults from having and seeing reverence in the liturgy?” he asked.

“This document does not speak for young Catholics,” Matthew Schmitz wrote at First Things shortly after its release. “It fails to represent either the Catholic faith or the young people who profess it.”

“It conjures and condemns a Church that is too institutional, too hierarchical, too focused on the sacred at the expense of the world,” he wrote. “This image of the Church is a holdover from the 1950s, when the men who now lead the Church were young rebels ... This document is an obvious counterfeit, an old man’s idea of what the young must want. He thinks they want what he did.”

“The document is supposed to have been written by young Catholics for the benefit of bishops, but it eerily repeats what certain bishops have long been saying,” Schmitz pointed out.

‘Unintentional betrayal?'

“When I heard that the Vatican had launched an official Facebook group to support preparations for the Synod, I was full of hope,” Łukasz Kożuchowski, a 21-year-old student at the University of Warsaw, told LifeSiteNews. “I thought that it may genuinely help real voices of young people be heard during the Synod and that we may have real impact on its final conclusions.”

So he joined the Facebook group and became involved in its proceedings, answering all or nearly all questions the administrators posed. The “Synod2018” page posted these questions.

“I was very happy to find that many other people (far more than I have initially expected) shared my concerns,” Kożuchowski explained. “Many of us were asking for reverential liturgies (in both forms), wider popularization of the Extraordinary Form, solid Catholic teaching and being treated seriously, not in a childish manner.”

He noted that the participants also discussed a number of “non-traditional” issues, like mental health and the “disappointing attitudes of clergy towards society.”

But “unfortunately, when the first (draft) of the Pre-Synodal document was published, it turned out that it was full of well-known cliches and did not reflect what numerous people asked for,” said Kożuchowski. Participants complained, but to little avail.

“The final version of the (Pre-Synodal) document is not (much) better than” the draft, he said. “Many of our prominent voices (involving topics I have mentioned) were simply omitted. The final document is quite unreliable and is regarded by many of the group members as kind of unintentional betrayal.”

Cardinal Burke: Youth synod ‘needs a lot of prayer’

Commenting on the youth synod during a question and answer period after his April 21 lecture in Philadelphia, Cardinal Raymond Burke said there is a need to pray that it “doesn’t go in (an) erroneous direction.”

Burke himself isn’t part of the synod or planning it but said the “preliminary documents” made him “a bit concerned.”

“I’m concerned that ... already there is a calling into question with regard to marriage and the priesthood, especially with regard to the question of priestly celibacy,” he told the faithful. “I think I would say to you to be alert to this and to pray very much that this is doesn’t go in (an) erroneous direction.”

The cardinal also pointed out that some of the youth who were asked to be at the pre-synodal meeting in Rome weren’t even Catholic, and some were atheists.

“Some of the young Catholics who participated” in this pre-synodal meeting “expressed a deep concern about a kind of a confusion that was reigning and how what the Catholic Church offers to youth was not permitted to be presented as it should have been,” noted Burke. “Let’s hope that their perception was wrong ... I think it needs a lot of prayer.”

‘The Church needs to be presenting her truth as reality’

The pre-synodal document claimed that on homosexuality, cohabitation, abortion, and “how the priesthood is perceived,” many youth want the Church to “change her teaching or at least have access to a better explanation and more formation on these questions.”

Speaking to EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, McLaughlin explained, “Any faithful youth is not gonna say, ‘oh, the teaching on abortion, we want that changed.’ The teaching on abortion is there for a reason, and the Catholic Church has always been defender of the innocent and defender of truth. And that’s why we wouldn’t want it changed.”

“The Church needs to be presenting her truth as reality,” said McLaughlin. “We don’t need to sugarcoat it. We don’t need to hear, ‘oh ... Jesus loves you, that’s all you need.’ We need to hear the actual truth: Why does the Church have a problem with homosexuality? Because it’s against the natural order. Why does the Church have a problem with abortion? Because it’s the killing of an innocent life. We just need to hear the actual facts, and that’s what all of us came to the synod (Facebook group) proclaiming.”

“We need once again to put theology before anthropology, asking what our Lord wants before polling public opinion. Our encounter, our dialogue, is with Him,” Schmitz concluded in his First Things piece.

Schmitz’s words echo those of Pope Benedict XVI, who famously said, “the truth is not determined by a majority vote,” and Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who reminded Catholics, “Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.”

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‘Fake News’: Pro-lifers reject report on ‘upsurge’ of pro-life violence at abortion centers

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By Lisa Bourne

May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life advocates are labeling as “fake news” a report by a pro-abortion organization that alleged a “significant increase in activities aimed at disrupting [abortion] services and intimidating patients and providers.” The pro-life advocates are upset that the report’s “lies” were uncritically picked up and circulated by mainstream media. 

“The Associated Press story and National Abortion Federation (NAF) report are pro-abortion works of pure propaganda aimed only at swaying public opinion since most Americans and all reasonable people are against violence,” pro-life advocate Will Goodman told LifeSiteNews. Goodman noted how disdain for violence is “especially true in the pro-life movement.” 

“The report has dubious statistics offered by unnamed or unrecognized entities in the abortion industry,” Goodman said. “The pro-life movement is well aware that their allegations of ‘harassment and disruption’ are biased rhetoric combined with outright lies.” 

“This dishonesty is certainly deliberate,” he said. It’s “part of their concerted effort to demonize us as sympathetic to violence, and hence, hypocrites.”

The NAF’s  “2017 Violence and Disruption Statistics” report claims, among other things, that “trespassing more than tripled, death threats/threats of harm nearly doubled, and incidents of obstruction rose from 580 in 2016 to more than 1,700 in 2017.” 

“We also continued to see an increase in targeted hate mail/harassing phone calls, and clinic invasions,” the abortion association claims, “and had the first attempted bombing in many years.”

The AP hopped on the NAF bandwagon soon thereafter, reporting the abortion association’s assertion of “a major upsurge in trespassing, obstruction and blockades by anti-abortion activists in 2017.”

The NAF “chronicled a litany of actions that ranged from coordinated trespassing efforts by abortion opponents, repeated brick-throwing at windows of a Cleveland clinic and an attempted bombing in Illinois,” the AP said.

"The protesters are feeling emboldened by the political environment and seeing what they could get away with,” NAF President Vicki Saporta said in the AP article. “They want to make it more difficult to provide care, without going to very extreme forms of violence.”

But pro-life advocates say the stats are highly suspect, crafted and packaged without evidence to falsely implicate pro-lifers. For instance, in the case of the attempted bombing, there’s been no indication of the suspects having any tie to the pro-life movement. Three rural Illinois men charged in March with bombing a Minnesota mosque last year are also suspected of an attempted bombing at the Champaign, Illinois, Women's Health Practice last November.

Part of the motive for the Minnesota Mosque attack was their desire to scare Muslims, one of the suspects told the FBI, according to another AP report – but “the complaint also said nothing about a possible motivation for the (abortion) clinic attack.”

The AP article on NAF’s report also included an incident that occurred this past February, thus not falling into the timeframe of the NAF report. In that case, a Massachusetts man crashed a stolen truck into a New Jersey Planned Parenthood, injuring three people, including a pregnant woman.

“The acts of violence AP reports include three cases of bricks thrown at an Ohio abortion mill’s windows by a cowardly anonymous individual who does not belong to or represent the pro-life movement,” Goodman told LifeSiteNews. “Nor is there any evidence that the man mentioned in the article who stole a vehicle and rammed it into a Planned Parenthood was pro-life or associated with any pro-life organization.” 

“According to police reports, this man acted alone for ‘personal’ reasons and has a long history of criminal behavior unrelated to anything remotely pro-life,” added Goodman. “But it is very convenient and strategic for abortionists to lump such mentally unstable ‘lone wolves’ in with pro-lifers who deplore such crimes.” 

Not from the NAF reporting period – but still convenient

The AP also called the New Jersey truck incident that occurred after NAF’s report period the “first major violent attack on a U.S. abortion clinic since 2015,” then predictably cited the 2015 Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting. The tragic shooting was the act of a mentally unstable man still held as incompetent to stand trial, and though he acted alone in killing three and injuring nine, the abortion lobby has also tried to tie that incident to the pro-life community, which roundly condemned the shooting. 

Speaking of the Illinois suspects, Goodman told LifeSiteNews, “The arrested suspects are not part of the pro-life movement either, but members of an extremist anti-government militia, which has also attacked a mosque and follows an absurd and delusional racist conspiracy theory. Again, these suspects are not members of the pro-life movement in any remote way whatsoever.” 

“In the past, terrible episodes of violence such as these have often been committed by abortion sympathizers in an effort to discredit the pro-life movement,” Goodman noted. 

But the biggest problem with the report, he said, is how it wrongly groups peaceful, non-violent, pro-life rescues along with acts of violence such as bombing or vandalism. 

“Such conflation is completely unjust. But it is deliberate,” he said. “The abortion industry realizes that random acts of violence are rare. Its real fear is a large national non-violent movement, which will shut their abortion mills down forever. To them, non-violence is the real threat. So it is in their absolute interest to link peaceful rescues with bombings, murder and arson.”

Roses, not violence

Goodman took part in two Red Rose Rescues in Michigan in recent months along with Citizens for a Pro-Life Society Director Monica Migliorino Miller. 

Activists counsel women on abortion alternatives during these rescues, either in the abortion waiting room or outside the facility. They offer the moms help and a choice before they go through with the abortion. In these recent rescues, the groups have offered the pregnant mothers a rose to convey their dignity as human beings, denoting the name Red Rose Rescues.

Some pro-life activists have been willing to go to jail for their pro-life conviction to save both unborn children and their mothers, in cases that the NAF report terms as trespassing, obstruction, or so-called “clinic invasion.” 

But the pro-lifers are clear in stating they do not advocate violence.

Miller has been part of the return of the non-violent rescues by U.S. pro-life activists, a movement which had first begun in the 1980s and was later thwarted by federal legislation imposing harsh penalties on those doing rescues.

Miller has been arrested conducting rescues and was quoted in the AP article describing them as an act of nonviolent defense of unborn children who are about to be aborted. 

“I believe that this is just one more of those pro-abortion hysteria pieces that try and portray the killers of the unborn as victims – when they are not!” Miller told LifeSiteNews.   

“There have been very scanty incidents of violence against abortion providers and the centers where the unborn are murdered,” she said, “but even the abortionists admit that incidents of violence have decreased.” 

“What they are concerned about are the incidents of trespassing, and certainly they are referring to the Red Rose Rescues,” she said. “And the [phrase] ‘intimidating patients’ is, of course, their pro-abortion jargon.”  

“We simply enter the clinics and quietly talk to the moms in the waiting room,” Miller explained, and “offer them roses and a chance to change their minds.” 

“They make it sound as if there has been a national wave of these rescues and incidents of trespassing and that so far isn't the case,” she added.  

Miller cited a half-dozen Red Rose Rescues since September of last year. More are planned, she said, “but the article makes it sound as if these rescues and trespassing by pro-lifers was a constant problem for those who kill the unborn and that sadly is not the case.”   

Semantics are also an issue, she said, where abortionists falsely accuse sidewalk counselors of “intimidating patients.”

“When the NAF report states that there were 580 incidents of obstruction in 2016, I have to ask, ‘to what on earth are they even referring?’” said Miller. “Surely pro-lifers did not block the doors to abortion centers 580 times that year – if only they had!”   

Miller questioned whether the abortion lobby counts as obstruction “a sidewalk counselor who happened to slow down the pace of a woman walking towards the door of the clinic.”

The veteran pro-lifer said that trying to prevent the murder of innocent children at abortion clinics through peaceful means is an "act of love."

“The clinics should be obstructed,” she stated. “The whole killing needs to be obstructed. And I am NOT talking about violence here.” 

“Violence doesn't save babies,” Miller emphasized. “Acts of love [save] babies. And blocking the doors to an abortion clinic with one’s own body to defend the babies and be a witness to the mothers is an act of love.”  

Miller said she has no idea who the NAF refers to in its “litany of complaints,” and further, if there were hundreds of incidents of obstruction and intimidation as they claim, where are the arrests and the police reports for them?  

There might be a few incidents, said Miller, but the NAF is claiming hundreds.

“And notice,” she added, “that the NAF even puts pickets – good, old-fashioned, constitutionally-protected pickets – on their list of violence against clinics.” 

“Their claim that the rescues are motivated by the new political climate of a pro-life friendly presidential administration is hogwash,” Miller said. “Many of us, myself included, have been pondering a resurgence of the pro-life rescue movement for the last ten years. And, that the rescues have taken place during the Trump administration is pure coincidence.”  

“Those who kill the unborn need to take a very close look at themselves,” she said. “They defend the slaughter of the innocent through the full term of pregnancy. So who are the real extremists here? Those who kill the innocent and treat human beings like trash – or those who peacefully, non-violently offer acts of defense for these little ones?” 

They’re 'boldface lying'

Father Stephen Imbarrato, pastoral staff member of Priests for Life and priest of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM, has also been arrested taking part in the Red Rose Rescues. 

“I consider the report nothing short of boldface lying, utter dishonesty,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Nothing defined and few incidents described.”

“We did five Red Rose Rescues,” Father Imbarrato said. 

“I am sure those were counted as what? 20+ incidents, described three or four ways?” he asked. “Sure, maybe separate 80 incidents after all is said and done? We know how Planned Parenthood does math!” 

“Most importantly, I personally abhor how the abortion industry tries to hype every incident they subjectively perceive aimed at their facilities as dangerous while ignoring that abortion is nothing less than violent preborn-child killing,” he said. 

“How many acts of violence were perpetrated last year by members of the NAF against preborn babies that could have lived outside their mothers’ wombs in total?” Imbarrato questioned. “Where the babies felt pain? How many women were hospitalized and even died at the hands of NAF members?”

Operation Rescue (OR) documented 90 incidents of ambulances transporting women to hospitals from U.S. abortion facilities in 2017 alone, and the group says this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are few states that have abortion complication reporting laws, according to OR, and those that do don’t really check to make sure they are reporting everything, resulting in inaccurate stats put forth by the abortion industry.

Operation Rescue also considers the argument about violence at abortion facilities to be propaganda intended to garner sympathy for a flagging abortion industry.

“The fact is that Red Rose Rescues are peaceful attempts to save babies from the violent death of abortion and to protect moms from the physical and emotional dangers of incurring an abortion,” Imbarrato told LifeSiteNews. 

The rescuers at abortionist Steven Brigham’s facility in Washington D.C. were totally peaceful, he pointed out, and allowed by police to remain in the building for hours counseling women. 

“How many women have died or been wounded in abortion facilities owned or managed by Brigham who has lost his license in 6 states?” he asked. “How about the abortionist in Queens who just pleaded guilty the other day to manslaughter for killing the mother of a baby he aborted?” 

“The fact is that the abortion industry is nervous because they see the potential end of the government-sanctioned funded-and-protected daily mass murder of thousands of pre-borns each day,” said Imbarrato. He listed that such nervousness is caused by “heartbeat bills, HHS proclaiming the scientific reality that life begins at conception, and the DOJ investigating Planned Parenthood and the entire abortion industry.” 

It’s the women and pro-lifers that suffer violence and hostility

Created Equal sent a news bulletin to supporters after the NAF report was released stating the abortion advocates’ “violence” report was fake news.

“The NAF’s report is a sham,” Mark Harrington, president of Created Equal, said. “The real violence occurs when abortionists dismember children at abortion clinics, and when supporters of killing babies act out violently against the defenders of life.” 

“Sadly, this narrative has been repeated by the pro-abortion media over and over until people begin to believe the lies,” he said. “It follows that those who kill babies are violent, not only to babies in the womb, but to those outside the womb.”

What’s more, Harrington recalled for LifeSiteNews, Created Equal has been the object of an ever-increasing wave of pro-abortion violence in the past few years. 

“Every year the abortion cartel comes out with bogus numbers regarding ‘clinic violence,’” he said. “They almost always report an increase as a way of ginning up opposition to pro-life activists and the enacting of unconstitutional censorship zones around abortion centers.” 

Harrington noted that in 45 years, deranged individuals, acting alone, have killed seven abortion providers.

Goodman told LifeSiteNews that those who pursue violence (abortionists) often are frustrated by political environments that are not conforming to their radical and dysfunctional mindset, and there is no evidence whatsoever that a pro-life shift in American politics is causing these few random acts of fringe violence. 

In fact, the opposite is true, he said, and a pro-life political majority will end violence, in particular the grave violence against the unborn and their parents, and counter any criminal acts failing to respect basic human dignity.

“When we end violence in the womb and build a culture of life we can expect other forms of violence will decrease,” Goodman said. “Despite the rhetoric of the abortion lobby, the pro-life movement is the hope for peace in our nation, not its enemy.”

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Calvin Freiburger

News,

Cruz: Facebook’s ‘muzzling’ of conservatives a ‘real and present danger’ to democracy

Calvin Freiburger
By Calvin Freiburger

May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, warned Sunday that the United States’ leading tech companies have become a “real and present danger to our democratic system” through their ability and willingness to censor conservative speech, but he also offered a possible solution to the problem.

“At this point, a handful of companies enjoy power that famed publisher William Randolph Hearst, at the height of yellow journalism, could never have imagined,” the conservative lawmaker told Breitbart’s Amanda House in an interview.

Cruz explained that between “‘shadowbanning,’ where you simply tweet or post something and nobody sees it,” and “favor[ing views they like] and direct[ing] them to your feed,” platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have accumulated a “level of power that is staggering, and I think it poses a real and present danger to our democratic system, particularly given the extreme left-wing bias of Silicon Valley.”

A 50-page report released last month by the conservative Media Research Center (MRC) found that all four websites actively hide or deemphasize conservative content from users, and that in some cases internal whistleblowers have admitted doing so was intentional. It further criticizes the platforms for relying on left-wing organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and GLAAD to provide advice and content screening, as well as left-leaning publications such as Snopes and PolitiFact to “fact-check” content.

Facebook, where last fall’s changes to the algorithms behind the News Feed feature have disproportionately harmed traffic to popular conservative websites while liberal news sites enjoyed traffic increases, has received particular focus. Last month, Congress questioned both Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and conservative video bloggers Diamond and Silk, whose page experienced dramatic traffic declines after being labeled “unsafe to the community” by a Facebook administrator.

In response, Cruz called on Congress to explore “all the tools we have to protect free speech, and prevent the internet from becoming a vehicle for censorship.”

One particular tool he highlighted was Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which immunizes platforms from being held responsible for third-party material, as long as they are truly neutral about what they allow. During last month’s hearings, Cruz suggested to Zuckerberg that Facebook could lose its protected status under Section 230 if it didn’t overhaul its practices.

“The basis for that immunity from liability was that they were neutral public forums, that they were not the ones speaking but rather it was the people just speaking and posting on them,” Cruz explained. But “if they’re not going to be neutral public forums, if they’re going to be active political speakers, favoring one point of view and disfavoring another, they have a First Amendment right to do that, but they have no entitlement to a special congressionally-created immunity from liability that nobody else enjoys.”

A coalition of more than 60 conservative leaders has also called on tech companies to adopt greater transparency and clearer definitions of “hate speech,” replace left-wing groups such as SPLC with more neutral content-monitoring partners, and use the First Amendment as a model for determining acceptable speech.

However, rather than removing subjective judgment from the process, Zuckerberg recently announced that Facebook plans to begin ranking news organizations by their perceived trustworthiness, and impacting their traffic accordingly. Both liberal and conservative media figures have raised doubts about the plan.

In response to complaints, Facebook has also announced that former Republican Sen. Jon Kyl will spearhead an internal review to address anti-conservative bias. But critics have expressed alarm that Covington and Burling, the Washington DC law firm where ex-Obama Attorney General Eric Holder is currently a partner, is also involved.

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Lana Del Ray’s 'strange' Our Lady of Sorrows 'get-up' was 'a display that made some want to drive a sword through their own hearts,' EWTN's Raymond Arroyo said.
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

News,

Raymond Arroyo lays into Met Gala: ‘garrish, narcissistic parade of decadence’

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – EWTN anchor Raymond Arroyo excoriated the “decadent spectacle” of the Met Gala last week, calling it “borderline sacrilege” and “garrish,” narcissistic,” and “campy.”

In a scorching commentary on The World Over, the close associate of Mother Angelica slammed the Vatican for seemingly giving its “imprimatur” to the event, saying the Church needs to do some “soul-searching” about whether it’s engaging the culture or just giving in to it.

“All I can say is the Church should have placed greater conditions and limits on the loan” of sacred vestments to the Met, he said.

“The Metropolitan used the collection as a jumping-off point to inspire contemporary designers to create their own costumes and gowns,” he said. “So a dalmatic of Pope Pius IX is presented with Coco Chanel and Versace’s. Along with a bizarre cross-studded bondage mask is a very low cut red gown. The juxtaposition and proximity is borderline sacrilege. To Catholics, these liturgical items point to a sacred reality: mainly, to Jesus Christ, truly present on the altar, which is the place these religious garments were meant to inhabit.”

“Taken out of that reality, sapped of their true meaning, they become over-the-top, operetic, brocade, and jeweled camp,” he said. It became a “silly masquerade,” he said, quipping that Lana Del Ray’s “strange” Our Lady of Sorrows “get-up” was “a display that made some want to drive a sword through their own hearts.”

“This is what comes of the Church treating its sacred vestments and articles like museum pieces,” Arroyo continued. “They only get trotted out by museums and no one knows quite what to make of them when they do.”

He also pointed out that none of the celebrities seemed to associate with Catholicism the blasé look preferred by so many elderly people and modern priests in the Church: “It didn’t surprise me at all that the Hollywood set avoided the polyester suits and the unadorned green vestments that have become deregure for most parishes today. Perhaps there’s a lesson in that.”

He questioned whether the Vatican really had no idea about the gala when it lent its sacred items.

“Surely their contacts in New York knew about this gala,” he said. “The Vatican allowed the Sistine Choir chapel to sing at the Met Gala. If the boys flew out of Italy, somebody had to know.”

“The Church needs to do some soul-searching, I think,” Arroyo said somberly. “Have an exhibit at a museum, sure, as has been done many times in the past. But to allow sacred items to be flanked by raunchy and at times campy knock-offs probably undercuts your message.”

“I’ve heard it said the exhibit and the Met Gala were meant to point people toward the good, the beautiful, and the true,” he said in what was possibly a subtle jab at Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s approving remarks at the gala. “But to the casual viewer, it’s hard to see beyond the garrish, narcissistic parade of decadence blocking the view.”

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Calvin Freiburger

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Trump to address pro-life Susan B. Anthony List gala next week

Calvin Freiburger
By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List has announced that President Donald Trump will deliver the keynote address at its 11th annual Campaign for Life Gala next week, an honor that underscores the unconventional twists and turns American politics have taken over the past few years.

“President Donald Trump is governing as the most pro-life president in our nation’s history and Susan B. Anthony List is honored to receive him at our annual Campaign for Life Gala,” SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said in the press release. “President Trump has diligently and successfully gone about fulfilling his promises to the pro-life voters who worked so hard to elect him, and it has been a privilege to stand with him to defend the innocent unborn.”

“We must reclaim the pro-life Senate majority to protect the gains made under President Trump and his administration and ensure that his pro-life agenda can continue unobstructed,” she continued. “Unborn children, their mothers, and pro-life taxpayers could not have a stronger ally in the White House than President Trump, and we look forward to the many victories we can achieve together.”

The gala will take place Tuesday, May 22 at the National Building Museum in the nation’s capital. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, will also speak at the event. Pro-life businesswoman Kathy Ireland will serve as mistress of ceremonies. The Washington Examiner added that Vice President Mike Pence and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway addressed the gala last year.

The president intends to take the opportunity to "discuss the many actions he has taken to protect the lives of the unborn and defend religious liberty,” according to White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah.

This year, SBA List also plans to honor Conway with its annual Distinguished Leader Award.

“Kellyanne’s presence on the Trump campaign was an indication that Donald Trump took the pro-life issue very seriously,” Dannenfelser explained. “Now serving as counselor to the president, Kellyanne plays a key role in helping President Trump to fulfill the four major promises he made to the pro-life movement during the campaign.”

A pollster and political strategist before joining the Trump campaign, Conway has been a longtime pro-life advocate. She addressed the March for Life in 2017 and reportedly made the case to Trump for cutting Planned Parenthood out of the Title X family planning program in a recent meeting.

Trump’s invitation to such a prestigious pro-life event is one of the most striking demonstrations of how unconventional the 2016 election was, and how dramatically Trump has defied expectations.

Many pro-life leaders, including Dannenfelser, vehemently opposed his candidacy in the Republican primary, citing his self-described “very pro-choice” past, including support for partial-birth abortion. Trump said he became pro-life in 2011, but distrust persisted throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, with a few pro-life commentators who identified with the “NeverTrump” movement urging their readers not to vote for him as late as November 2016.

But once Trump won the GOP nomination, most committed to working with him to secure firm pro-life promises and defeat his radically pro-abortion opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump’s campaign brought in numerous pro-life leaders, including Dannenfelser, to advise him on life issues and demonstrate his commitment to keeping his promises.

After taking office, Trump established a thoroughly pro-life record. SBA List credits Trump for appointing pro-life judicial and administrative nominees, allowing states to exclude Planned Parenthood from Title X and Medicaid funds, defunding overseas abortion providers and the United Nations Population Fund, improving transparency and conscience protection in federal health insurance mandates, and creating a new federal office to protect health workers from forced involvement in abortion.

Trump has also called on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, repeal Obamacare, and ban partial-birth abortion, opened a Justice Department investigation of Planned Parenthood’s fetal organ harvesting activities, supported abstinence education, resisted efforts to facilitate abortions for illegal immigrant minors in federal custody, and created a new White House office to seek policy advice from religious leaders and further protect religious liberty and conscience rights. On the other hand, he also reluctantly signed a $1.3 trillion budget omnibus in March that continued Planned Parenthood’s funding.

Last month, just-retired Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards called the Trump administration the “worst for women that I've seen in my lifetime,” a backhanded affirmation that he has more proactively opposed abortion-on-demand than his predecessors.

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William Kilpatrick

Opinion, ,

We must not be punished for criticizing Islam

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

May 15, 2018 (The Catholic Thing) – A commonplace idea has emerged among media and political elites that criticism of Islam or even of radical Islam will only serve to drive moderate Muslims into the radical camp.

That argument should be questioned because it can just as easily be that lack of criticism has led to the rebirth of militant Islam. Far from being critical of Islam, Western governments, media, academia, and even churches have bent over backward to claim that all the atrocities committed in the name of Islam have nothing to do with Islam. Indeed, the Western media have adopted a rigid system of self-censorship that keeps them from admitting that these atrocities are in fact committed in the name of Islam.

The latest example is the reporting on the assassination of a Russian ambassador by a Turkish policeman. Almost the first words out of the assassin's mouth after the shooting were: "We are those who have given a pledge of allegiance to Muhammad that we will carry on jihad." If you don't remember him saying that, it's because that part of the statement was omitted from almost all news and television reports. Apparently, our betters in the media were afraid that if we were aware of the man's devotion to Muhammad, we might say something provocative that would turn untold numbers of peaceful Muslims into bomb-throwing jihadists.

Perhaps the prime example of the wages of silence is the current crisis in Europe. Islamic terrorists have declared war on Europe and the result has been a series of deadly attacks – at airports, subways, cafés, concert halls, and, most recently, Christmas markets. All this mayhem is the indirect result of ignorance about Islam – an ignorance that, in turn, is the result of an almost complete blackout of news unfavorable to Islam.

Anyone with a thorough understanding of Islamic culture and religion could have predicted that, even without the 2015-16 flood of Muslim migrants, the steady flow of Muslim immigrants over the years would create a combustible situation. The amazing thing is that the consequences of this massive migration were never discussed – except in glowing terms. Just about the only thing allowed to be said about the migrants was that they would solve labor shortages, refill welfare coffers, and bring cultural enrichment to Europe.

That was the official line. Anyone who deviated from it could expect censure, possible job loss, or even a criminal trial. Say something negative about Muslim immigration on your Facebook page and you would be visited by police. Say it in public and you would receive a court summons. It didn't matter if you were a famous writer (Oriana Fallaci), the President of the Danish Free Press Society (Lars Hedegaard), or a popular member of the Dutch Parliament (Geert Wilders). If you couldn't say something nice about Islam, then you shouldn't say anything at all.

In the European case, the idea that criticizing Islam will create an army of radicals doesn't hold up. Criticism of Islam is essentially a crime in many parts of Europe and has been for a long time. In Europe, few dared criticize Islam, but the radicals came anyway. More than anything else, it was silence that allowed Islamization and radicalization to spread through France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

Practically no one spoke up about no-go-zones, sharia courts, polygamy, and forced marriages, refusal to integrate, crime waves, and the rape epidemic. Now that many are finally beginning to speak out, it may be too late to avoid capitulation (Sweden's likely fate) or bloody conflict (more likely in France).

The very argument that criticism of Islam will drive moderates into the radical camp suggests that criticism is needed. If Islam is such a hair-trigger religion that the slightest offense might radicalize adherents, there is something radically wrong with the religion itself. We don't worry that criticizing Catholicism is going to produce angry Catholic mobs rampaging through the streets. We don't fear that one wrong word is going to cause a young Southern Baptist to strap on a suicide belt.

Islam invites criticism. Given its bloody past and present, it would be highly irresponsible not to subject it to a searching analysis and critique. Such a critique would not aim at alienating Muslims (although some will inevitably be alienated), but at alerting likely victims of jihad.

One of the basics that non-Muslims need to know is that Islam divides the world in two – the House of Islam, and the House of War (all non-Islamic societies). And every Muslim is expected to do his part to make the House of War submit to the House of Islam. Europeans are now experiencing a "don't-know-what-hit-me" sense of bewilderment because they never learned this basic fact about Islam.

One reason for our reluctance to analyze and criticize Islam (an idea) is that such criticism seems tantamount to criticizing Muslims (a people). Unfortunately, even if that is not the intention, it is often the result. A person can't separate himself entirely from his beliefs, and, consequently, we take criticism of our religion personally. That's a good reason for presenting the critique as tactfully as possible. But it's not a good reason for offering no critique at all.

If you can't criticize a belief system because it would hurt the feelings of people who subscribe to that system, then we were wrong to criticize Nazism, Communism, and Japanese imperialism. Ordinarily, we refrain from criticizing other religions. Such a live-and-let-live approach is generally sensible, but when the other religion takes the attitude that you must either convert, submit, or die, then live-and-let-live is no longer an option. That is the position that we are in with regard to Islam. And it is suicidal to pretend that things are otherwise.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Eric Sammons

Opinion,

Why the Church needs not altar ‘servers,’ but altar boys

Eric Sammons
By Eric Sammons

May 15, 2018 (Swimming Upstream) – Two weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of all-boys clubs. My jumping-off point was the decision of the Boy Scouts to drop "Boy" from the name and to open the group to girls. But the push to include girls in all-boy groups isn't confined to secular organizations like the Boy Scouts. It's also been evident in the Catholic Church for decades now. From time immemorial, only males could serve at the altar during a Catholic liturgy. However, in the 1970's (the decade that virtue and taste forgot), parishes began to allow girls to be altar "boys" (renamed "altar servers" to be inclusive). This was unlawful under the discipline of the Church, but most bishops turned a blind eye.

Eventually, the practice was made lawful by Pope St. John Paul II (one of the bigger mistakes of his pontificate). Now almost every Catholic parish in the country (and the world) has girl altar servers. The argument is that they can serve just as well as boys (which is true) and that there's no doctrinal reason to prohibit them from serving (also true). It's also argued that allowing girls to serve makes them more "involved" in the parish and therefore more likely to remain Catholic as they get older. There's no evidence to back this up, and of course for centuries girls weren't allowed to serve at the altar and we didn't see a drop in female membership then.

But the real problems with allowing girls to be altar servers aren't even addressed in these pro-altar girl arguments.

Boys to Men

First, having all-male servers allows boys a time to be together without girls. As I noted in my previous article, this fosters a healthier masculinity in boys. It also fosters a healthier spiritual masculinity. Like everything else, how men and women "do" religion is often fundamentally different. Men often see religion in militaristic tones, whereas women see it more in terms of relationships. Neither is wrong, just different. Men will practice their faith in terms of fighting a battle: a battle against temptation, against the world, against the devil and his fallen angels. Women, on the other hand, often practice a more relationship-based spirituality. They practice their faith out of devotion to their beloved, Jesus Christ.

(As an aside, this is why the modern, one-sided emphasis on Christianity as a relationship is damaging. I don't think it's a coincidence that we've seen so many men leave the practice of the faith at a time when we only focus on the relationship aspects of following Christ.)

When my son was eight years old, he had expressed no interest in being an altar server. Our parish was a typical one, and we had both boys and girls serving at the altar. Then we moved to another state, and began attending a Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), which only allowed altar boys. Almost immediately he expressed an interest in serving.

Why the change? Did he have deep-seated anti-woman, chauvinistic feelings? Did he think girls were unworthy to serve and be in his presence? No, he was just a normal, healthy boy who was in the developmental stage where he wanted to hang out with other boys. When he saw boys serving at the altar, being serious and reverent, he was naturally attracted to it.

I also believe the military-like aspects of serving the TLM attracted him. Here were boys standing at attention, following orders, and moving in unison to achieve their goal. Just like a military organization. Although our society now allows women to fight in battle (another terrible surrender to radical feminism), most people still naturally see military service as the purview of men. Likewise for service at the altar. By letting girls serve at the altar, we are feminizing the activity, and thus making it less attractive to the boys.

(For a very sad case of how the inclusion of girls at the altar impacted one young man, read this article: What Being an Altar Boy Once Meant to a Former Gay Man.)

Training for the Priesthood

Another problem with altar girls is that service at the altar is supposed to dispose boys to the priesthood. It's not that every altar boy will be a priest, but priests often come from altar boys. Allowing girls to serve at the altar while not allowing them to be priests is cruel, to be frank. It's like letting a kid practice with a team, but then not allowing him to play in the game. Of course, some think the answer is to allow women priests, but Our Lord already precluded that possibility.

When girls serve at the altar, we make that service no longer about training for the priesthood; it's simply another profane activity, like sweeping the church after Mass. Such an activity is an important service, but it's not sacred, as the priesthood and service at the altar are supposed to be. Some might complain that the Church therefore thinks men are more sacred than women. Yet sacred duties are not about the person performing it, but about God who is being served. A proscription against girls serving at the altar was never a statement about the worthiness of girls, just as the fact that men can't join a Carmelite convent doesn't mean they aren't worthy enough to follow St. Theresa of Avila. Likewise, the Blessed Mother isn't "less sacred" than the Apostles just because she wasn't chosen as one of the Twelve by the Lord (quite the contrary, in fact).

Further, having girls at the altar restricts the ability of the priest to really open up about life as a priest. If he has a mixed-sex gathering of altar servers, how can he talk about the priesthood without being insensitive to those who can never become priests? However, if there are only boys, he can reveal to them more openly what it means to be a priest.

Combatting Today's Gender Nonsense

Finally, allowing girls to serve at the altar removes a shield in the battle against today's secular gender nonsense. Many Catholics who understand the problems with radical feminism don't grasp that having no gender distinctions in the Church (other than the priesthood) is a surrender to that radical feminism. If Catholics were to see a clear gender delineation every Sunday at Mass, they would be less likely to succumb to arguments that men and woman are the same. They will understand, subconsciously at least, that they are not.

Several years ago I was conducting an "Ask Any Question" session at my parish. People could ask any question at all about the Catholic Faith. Most who attended were Catholics who only infrequently attended Mass, or had some issues with the Church. I built a relationship with one of the men who attended a few times. He had a number of problems with the Church, but had a good heart. He also respected my adherence to Church teaching. However, one day in passing I mentioned that my daughters would not be altar servers because "I don't believe in altar girls." (This was when I was at my parish that had both altar boys and altar girls). My friend flipped out. He could not understand my position. He thought it was discrimination, plain and simple, to exclude girls at the altar.

I realized quickly that he would not listen to any of my arguments. His mind was set. I also realized how deeply the view that men and women are the same has taken hold in our culture today. No institution has resisted that view. Even in the Church, which is supposed to be supremely counter-cultural, that view prevailed. If, however, the Church had resisted the push for gender sameness, then perhaps a generation of Catholics would have at least implicitly remembered that men and women are different. But we'll never know. 

Published with permission from Swimming Upstream.

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Catholics have a ‘right’ to good liturgy in accordance with Church’s ‘tradition and discipline’

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The corrosive effect of today’s popular church music on orthodox faith in and devotion to the Holy Eucharist would be difficult to deny. Let me attempt to frame the problem with a comparison to ongoing battles over the meaning of the term “pro-life.”

The Catholic Church teaches that there is such a thing as a “right to liturgy.” What do I mean by this phrase? The Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum of the Congregation for Divine Worship (March 25, 2004) states:

Arbitrary actions are not conducive to true renewal, but are detrimental to the right of Christ’s faithful to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church’s life in accordance with her tradition and discipline. … 

It is the right of all of Christ’s faithful that the Liturgy, and in particular the celebration of Holy Mass, should truly be as the Church wishes, according to her stipulations as prescribed in the liturgical books and in the other laws and norms. Likewise, the Catholic people have the right that the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass should be celebrated for them in an integral manner, according to the entire doctrine of the Church’s Magisterium.

Here we have a clear statement of the right of each and every Catholic to worship the Lord in liturgical celebrations that adhere strictly, one might even say punctiliously, to the Church’s “tradition and discipline, laws and norms.”

However, as we know, this right is trampled upon daily in countless places, as the faithful are subjected to deviations, deformities, banalities, and distractions, or humiliated by the persistent negation of their legitimate requests for spiritual nourishment, for example when access to the traditional Latin Mass is denied.

And why does all this happen? Quite simply, because clergy, especially bishops, favor other principles and give them a primacy they ought not to have. For example, the principle of “active participation,” today so poorly understood, is used to obliterate centuries of tradition and discipline, laws and norms.

How might we compare this to abortion? Just as a generic “right to life”—in the fashionable “seamless garment” approach that makes so much of issues like the death penalty or immigration—tends to eclipse the specific and infinitely greater evil of abortion, the generic concern for “active participation” in the liturgy eclipses the centrality of the specific and infinitely greater good of the Eucharistic sacrifice enacted by the priest on behalf of the people. Just as the right to life is unequivocally and primordially located in the right of each baby human to be born, so too the right to liturgy refers most of all to the right to “offer the holy oblation in peace” (as our Byzantine brethren say), to see and to experience the liturgy as the work of Christ in and for His Church, not as my or anyone else’s product.

In the Catholic world, the “sign of peace,” the proliferation of lay ministers invading the sanctuary and handling the precious gifts, and execrably bad post-Communion songs, conspire to distract us from the miracle that has just occurred and prevent us from praying most fruitfully in union with Our Lord and with all the other members of His Mystical Body. In a similar way, modern “romanticism,” which has devolved into eroticism, distracts our attention from the greatest wonder of the natural order: the ex nihilo creation of a human soul by divine omnipotence, in conjunction with the provision of the body of the child by the mother and father, who are thereby brought into a special relationship with God and are responsible for the life of this child entrusted to their care.

The music too often sung in churches today eclipses the great mystery we are celebrating in the sacred rites. It’s not just a matter of bad taste, it’s a real form of desecration, a sacrilege that deserves to be corrected for strictly theological and moral reasons. Much popular liturgical music, like the popular notion of love, is long on cheap sentiment, short on spiritual love and inward joy. In like manner, the greatest joy of marriage is not the evanescent nuptial act but the eternal fruit thereof—the immortal being who has entered this world at a moment in time and space, a creature that has existed from all eternity in the mystery of the divine intellect and will, a person with a face that uniquely reflects the Face of the Creator.

Ultimately, life is for the sake of liturgy, and liturgy for the sake of life. We are given our natural life in order to acquire supernatural life, and this we are given for the sake of rising up to God in prayer and divine praise. In this way it becomes possible for us to really live, and thus to be of some help to one another in our journey heavenwards. The Catholic’s “right to liturgy” is nothing other than a right to supernatural life, to the fullness of that participation in the mysteries of God in which our sanctity here, and our glory hereafter, consist.

To be consistently pro-life, therefore, does not mean to oppose limits on immigration or the death penalty, just as being pro-liturgy does not mean getting as many lay people involved in as many ministries as possible. Being pro-life means standing unequivocally in favor of everything that sustains the human person from conception to death—both natural goods and supernatural goods.

This is why the pro-life movement and the movement to restore Catholic tradition are ideal partners. The traditionalist values above all what has been given, what is received from another. The accent is never on our own doing and making, but on the loving custody of a treasure entrusted to our safekeeping. Human life is the first and most basic gift from God in the natural order, entrusted to our hearts and hands. The sacred liturgy is the first and most basic gift from God in the supernatural order, likewise entrusted to us poor sinners—indeed, nothing more precious has ever been entrusted by God to man. We are pro-tradition for the same fundamental reason that we are pro-life.

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Abortionist desecrates Mother’s Day by declaring abortion an ‘act of love’

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By Calvin Freiburger

May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – It’s hardly news at this point that abortion apologists are spectacularly tone-deaf. It’s almost a prerequisite to a career of championing child murder without letting self-awareness get in the way of all the self-righteous rhetoric about “choice” and “health.”

But sometimes the rhetoric is so blatantly grotesque that one can’t help but wonder if these people aren’t deliberately flaunting the dissonance between their feel-good platitudes and the horrific reality of abortion.

On Sunday, the folks at abortion lobby NARAL offered their own Mother’s Day message:

Bodily autonomy is a dubious fit for Mother’s Day, considering that abortion is the intentional thwarting of the natural process of motherhood. As the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform explains

[M]others (and fathers) have a responsibility to their offspring that they don’t have to strangers. And while that responsibility doesn’t obligate them to do extraordinary things such as trips to Disneyland or donating kidneys, it does obligate them to do ordinary things, such as feeding, clothing, and sheltering one’s offspring. To do otherwise is parental neglect [...]

Therefore, maintaining pregnancy is simply doing for the pre-born what parents must do for the born—provide the shelter and nourishment a child needs. It is what is required in the normal course of the reproduction of our species.

More sickeningly, NARAL promoted the following Glamour Magazine opinion piece by abortionist Ghazaleh Moayedi that was also published just in time for mother's day:

Murder is love. Yep, it’s gonna be one of those articles.

Moayedi opens by recalling a colleague who asked whether she would continue aborting babies after the impending birth of her own. “Nothing’s going to change,” she says she answered with a smile. 

From this, most readers would expect an explanation as to why the experience of carrying and delivering a child left her every bit as supportive of abortion, rather than imprinting on her a conviction that such children have a right to life. But while we get some lovely poetic odes to how Moayedi “would look down at my son and weep as tidal waves of love would flow through me,” we don’t get anything resembling an argument for her titular claim.

The closest we get is this: 

I am often asked whether providing abortion care is hard as a mother—as if abortion somehow exists in a realm outside of motherhood. But motherhood is not an accidental or natural job; motherhood is a job done with intention. Holding my baby’s tiny hands in my own not only strengthened my commitment to providing compassionate abortion care but also exposed how I needed to commit to supporting mothers in all aspects of my care [...]

For my patients who were not parents, and did not want to be at that moment, or who never want to be a parent, I recognize their abortions as an act of intentional motherhood. Choosing when to parent is an act of love. For my patients that were already parenting, I feel the deep love they had both for the children they had and for the pregnancies they were ending. Choosing an abortion is an act of love.

Rejecting an action qualifies as carrying it out? Holding a baby’s hand reinforces support for tearing that hand from his body, for snuffing out the beating heart that pumps blood to that limb? Loving a child is consistent with having him or her executed?

Now, it’s not as if attempting to make an argument would have turned out much better. That would’ve required denying settled science. The logic would’ve collapsed at the first strong breeze it came up against. And, the standard line of “you can’t understand if you can’t get pregnant” tends not to impress anyone but fellow abortion zealots. And it’s certainly standard operating procedure for pro-aborts to use emotional appeals to distract from the salient factual or ethical questions. 

But this...this is just gibberish. None of Moayedi’s conclusions logically follow from her premises. She posits staggeringly contradictory ideas within the same sentence, without the slightest effort to connect them. This clearly wasn’t written with the intention of clarifying her perspective for anyone who doesn’t already share it, but to feed feel-good pap to fellow pro-abortion fanatics. And the results are nothing short of monstrous.

As an antidote to these inhumane musings masquerading as motherhood, let’s revisit the experience of another mother, Lexi, who lost her baby to miscarriage. Lexi took away a deeper appreciation of personhood from cradling a deceased son than Moayedi got from delivering and raising a healthy child.

Lexi went into labor at 19 weeks. While “hearing the heartbeat immediately put me at ease,” Lexi says, intense pain soon followed, and brought with it dread because she knew what it meant. “I was not mentally prepared for labor and everything in me was fighting it.” Her doctors had no choice but to deliver baby Walter, after which they gave her his tiny body.

“He was fully formed and I could see his heart beating in his tiny chest,” Lexi recalled. “Just because the child within cannot be seen by us does not mean that it is a blob of cells. Walter was perfectly formed and very active in the womb.”

“We still don’t know why or how this happened, but in his short life of just a few minutes he has touched more lives than I ever could have imagined,” she said.

Two pregnant mothers, two very different lessons. Which one sounds more like love to you?

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