All articles from May 30, 2018


News

Circuit Court rules in favor of high school trans locker room with no deliberation

The judges shut down any arguments in the Pennsylvania case.
Wed May 30, 2018 - 8:25 pm EST
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Recently graduated Boyertown High School student Aidan DeStefano –– a female who identifies as male (second from right) –– takes victory lap with ACLU attorneys and the pro-LGBTQ PA Youth Congress representative.
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By Doug Mainwaring

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel took less than 20 minutes to deny an appeal by students who sought to protect their privacy rights in their public high school’s restrooms and locker rooms.

According to multiple reports, just four minutes into the plaintiff attorney’s oral argument, U.S. Circuit Judge Theodore McKee forbade him to define the words “sex” and “opposite sex,” undermining Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Randall Wenger’s ability to adequately defend his clients’ cause on reasonable grounds.

In the end, the three-judge panel took less than 20 minutes to unanimously rule in favor of the school board’s formerly unpublicized policy allowing students to use opposite sex restrooms and locker rooms based on their self-proclaimed gender identity.

The case had been brought before the court by four Boyertown, Pennsylvania High School students who are concerned about the loss of their privacy rights in what have always been single-sex facilities.

According to a report issued by ADF in advance of the hearing, “During the 2016-17 school year — without informing parents or students — the school district secretly opened its high school locker rooms, showers, and restrooms to students of the opposite sex, which violated many students’ bodily privacy rights. Some of the students in the suit involuntarily encountered students of the opposite sex in various states of undress in school restrooms and locker rooms.”

“No student should be forced into an intimate setting — like a locker room or shower — with someone of the opposite sex,” said ADF attorney Wenger. “The Boyertown District could have crafted policies that respect the privacy concerns of all students and are also sensitive to the needs of individual students. Instead, the district failed to fulfill its responsibility and harmed students rightfully concerned about their bodily privacy. The district must correct its policy — not only for our clients but for all students within the district.”

“School officials have a duty to protect the privacy and dignity of all students,” added fellow ADF attorney Christiana Holcomb. “Our laws and customs have consistently recognized rights of privacy, and there is no legal mandate that every student in the district give up these rights.”

In a press release, the pro-transgender Women’s Law Project (WLP), which had filed an amicus brief on behalf of the school district’s transgender policy, was dismissive of the case, saying the “four cisgender students” represented by ADF “claimed they were harassed by the mere presence of a transgender person in the locker room or restroom.”

“This ruling is a huge victory for the rights of transgender students” continued the WLP statement.  “The momentum is undeniable, and the Third Circuit panel sent an important message today by issuing its decision unanimously and immediately.”

The PA Youth Congress –– and organization of young LGBTQ Pennsylvanians seeking to change public policy, tweeted:  “We WON! The US Third Circuit ruled on the spot yesterday affirming the district ct's ruling for trans inclusion in Boyertown! Historic precedent now set for PA, NJ, DE, and the US VI. Ty to the trans students at Boyertown and the GSA and our lawyers at the @aclupa and @ACLULGBT!”

Among the plaintiffs represented by ADF were two unnamed boys from the school who “learned about the policy while they were undressed in the locker room and noticed a girl changing next to them.”

Student Alexis Lightcap discovered the school’s policy when she encountered a boy in the girls’ restroom.  

VIDEO 

At an ADF press conference outside the courtroom after the short hearing, Alexis recounted her concern about the school policy:  

When I was younger, my sister and I were in the foster care system. It was a difficult experience. I felt like my life was out of control, and that no one heard me when I spoke. I had no voice.

Fortunately, my forever family adopted me and my sister when I was 11. It was an indescribable experience. I thought I would never again have to feel like I had no voice.  

Then one day, during my junior year of high school, I was shocked to see a boy in the girls’ bathroom. I froze, and I was scared.  

I told a teacher and the principal, that it’s their duty to make sure kids are safe, and that their rights are protected at schools. I was sure they would tell the boy he was wrong for him to be in the girls’ bathroom, but they didn’t.  

They said this is the way things are going to be.

Instead of listening to my concerns, they made me feel like I was the problem for feeling uncomfortable, unsafe, and vulnerable with a boy in my bathroom.

Once again I felt like my life was out of control, that I didn’t have a choice about my own personal privacy.  

I spoke up and told the people who are supposed to protect me, but they didn’t listen to me. It was like I had no voice.  

As a girl, I don’t want a boy in the room where I change clothes or take a shower.  

I know what real discrimination feels like, and I don’t want anyone else to go through what I had to.  

"It’s common sense that boys shouldn’t be in girls’ locker rooms, restrooms, and shower areas,” added Alexis. “Every student matters, and the school should put our privacy, safety and dignity first.”The full written unanimous opinion by the three-judge panel will be issued at a future date.


  alliance defending freedom adf, boyertown high school, pennsylvania, schools, transgenderism, us circuit court of appeals

News

Alabama Senate officially condemns state’s U.S. Senator for supporting late-term abortion

Doug Jones 'went against the clear wishes of the people' by opposing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
Wed May 30, 2018 - 7:48 pm EST
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U.S. Senator Doug Jones
Calvin Freiburger
By Calvin Freiburger

MONTGOMERY, Alabama, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Alabama Senate passed a resolution denouncing the state’s newest national senator for voting to allow abortions to continue past 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Last December, Doug Jones defeated former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in a special election to the Senate seat vacated when President Donald Trump chose Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General.

Jones presented himself as moderately pro-”choice” during the campaign, saying November 2 that he supported restricting “late-term” abortions “except in the case of medical necessity.” But when the Senate voted in January on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which contained the exception he claimed to require, Jones joined his fellow Democrats in opposing it.

In response, Republican Sen. Bill Hightower introduced SR 109, which declares that “the junior senator from Alabama's vote to block protection of countless thousands of lives from a terribly painful death is unacceptable and this body strongly disapproves his departure from the values of this state and his vote on this important issue.”

The resolution quoted Jones’ previous pledge and suggested that substantial spending from out-of-state liberal groups influenced him to go back on his word and disregard “the clear wishes of the people of Alabama.”

“(A) vote to allow the brutal killing of an unborn child at this stage is unmistakably revulsive to the values of a so-called civilized and compassionate society, is obviously violent to children, many of whom can survive outside the womb, and devalues the value of every life in America,” it declared. Scientific evidence suggests that preborn babies are capable of feeling pain by week 20.

Hightower originally introduced the measure in March, and the Senate finally adopted it this month.

“Senator Jones owes the people of Alabama an explanation for turning his back on a campaign promise he made just a few short months ago,” Hightower declared. “More importantly, Senator Jones needs to explain why he would turn his back on the basic humanity of an individual’s right to life. At 20 weeks in the womb, it is not about a choice, it is about an innocent little baby’s right to live.”

“What Senator Jones voted against was the basic humanity each and every one has a right to,” he continued. “Perhaps these are the values of Senator Jones’ new liberal colleagues, but they are not the values of Alabama. We deserve better from our Senator in Washington. And innocent children deserve better from us all.”

Jones is the first Democrat to win an Alabama Senate election since 1992, and he won in large part thanks to particularly bitter divisions between Republicans.

Sessions’ departure led to a three-way primary battle between establishment favorite Luther Strange, conservative Rep. Mo Brooks, and Moore, a favorite of social conservatives for sacrificing his judgeship twice to protest judicial activism.

After Moore won the GOP nomination, allegations surfaced that he had engaged in inappropriate relationships with underage girls, as well as sexual assault. Moore strenuously denied them, with defenders raising doubts about the accusers’ stories and questioning why none of the claims had surfaced in Moore’s previous campaigns.

Nevertheless, with it being too late to replace Moore on the ballot, Republicans were divided on how to move forward. Trump endorsed him and some called for simply electing him and leaving the allegations for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate, while others proposed either delaying the special election or replacing Moore with a write-in candidate.

Some conservatives even declared that a Jones victory would be preferable, despite the narrow Senate margin between Republicans and Democrats, and celebrated Moore’s defeat after the election.

Now that Jones is in the Senate, pro-lifers are dismayed by his support for abortion-on-demand but encouraged that state lawmakers are holding him accountable.

“It was a stunning and unprecedented move,” Life Issues Institute president Brad Mattes said of the resolution. “After Jones’ betrayal of the babies, the state Senate passed a resolution condemning his hypocrisy, and I say well done!”


  abortion, alabama, bill hightower, doug jones, jeff sessions, pain-capable unborn child protection act, roy moore, state senate, u.s. senate

News

‘Healthy’ baby girl born at abortion clinic that says it doesn’t do late-term abortions

How many weeks old was the baby?
Wed May 30, 2018 - 4:53 pm EST
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Mississippi abortion facility Jackson Women's Health.
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By Claire Chretien

JACKSON, Mississippi, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A healthy baby girl was born at Mississippi’s only abortion facility today, bringing into question just how far along in a pregnancy that the center will commit abortions.

The Clarion Ledger reported that Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s notorious bright pink abortion facility, said the mother was there for a consultation visit.

She “went into labor as she awaited an ultrasound to see how far along she was in her pregnancy,” according to the Clarion Ledger. “A clinic doctor delivered the baby ... The mother and daughter were transported to a local hospital after the birth.”

Jackson Women’s Health Organization claims it only aborts babies through the 16th week of pregnancy. It’s currently suing Mississippi for enacting a law banning abortions on babies 15 weeks and older. That law has been put on hold pending the legal challenge.

Mississippi law currently bans abortions starting at 20 weeks, halfway through pregnancy, when it has been medically proven that preborn babies can feel pain, though there is evidence that they feel pain earlier.

Considering the baby was born healthy, one would assume she was close to or nearly full term. 

Developing...


  abortion, jackson women's health organization, mississippi

News

Louisiana’s Democrat governor signs 15-week abortion ban into law

Louisiana, Mississippi, and Iowa are now the states with the most protective pro-life laws.
Wed May 30, 2018 - 4:35 pm EST
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By Calvin Freiburger

BATON ROUGE, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, signed legislation today banning abortions on babies 15 weeks or older, pending the outcome of a legal challenge. 

The law, SB 181, would sentence any abortionist who commits an abortion beyond that date to a prison sentence of up to ten years and a fine between $10,000 and $100,000, though it expressly exempts the woman seeking the abortion from punishment.

The law does not contain an exception for babies conceived in rape, and only allows exceptions for abortions deemed necessary to save a woman’s life from physical danger.

Thanks to an amendment added by Republican Sen. Danny Martiny, SB 181 will not actually take effect unless and until federal courts uphold a similar 15 week ban Mississippi enacted in March.

Bel Edwards has not yet released a statement on the law, but confirmed his decision to multiple media outlets through a spokesperson.

“We thank and commend our pro-life governor for signing this bill and once again taking a stand for life,” said Sen. John Milkovich, the bill’s sponsor and another pro-life Democrat. “This is an important step forward in Louisiana's fight to protect the unborn.”

Seventeen states, including Louisiana, currently ban most abortions at 20 weeks, by which point medical evidence suggests babies can feel pain. Only Iowa, which recently enacted a ban on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, has stronger legal protection for the preborn. That law is set to go into effect on July 1, but Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are challenging it.

“For us to rank at the top nationally among states who protect the lives of the unborn, I think that's a harbinger of blessing for our state,” Milkovich added.

Abortion activists such as the left-wing group Lift Louisiana have condemned the law. Pro-life lawmakers are urging state Attorney General Jeff landry to file a legal brief on Mississippi’s behalf, to help ensure that Louisiana’s new law can begin protecting babies.


  15 week abortion ban, abortion, john bel edwards, louisiana

News

Pope’s cardinal nominee denies fathering children with concubine, sworn testimony says otherwise

LifeSite has obtained a copy of a statement detailing the accusation submitted to the Bolivian apostolic nuncio which contains sworn testimony from an eminent Bolivian Catholic activist
Wed May 30, 2018 - 4:32 pm EST
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Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A retired Bolivian bishop recently chosen by Pope Francis to be made a cardinal is vigorously denying accusations that he fathered two children with a concubine while serving the Church as a bishop.

According to accusations published yesterday in the traditionalist Catholic publication Adelante la Fe, Bishop Toribio Ticona, the emeritus prelate of the Prelature of Corocoro, has for years maintained three different residences in the Bolivian city of Oruro, where he has housed his female companion and their two children.  

LifeSite has obtained a copy of a statement detailing the accusation submitted to the Bolivian apostolic nuncio, upon which the Adelante la Fe story was based. The statement contains sworn testimony from an eminent Bolivian Catholic activist who is a critic of Pope Francis’ penchant for selecting cardinals he regards as underqualified and ideologically slanted.

The bishop responded yesterday with a statement made to the Catholic news service ACI Prensa, declaring that he has “nothing to do with the aforementioned acts,” adding , “I am willing to defend my honor in every necessary venue.”

“If these accusations continue, I won’t have any problem with initiating a lawsuit for calumny against those who are promoting or propagating them,” said Ticona.

Ticona said that the same rumors “already came out in 2011 . . .and ended up as simple calumnies. Personally I’m glad that these accusations are coming out at this time, so that the case can be definitively closed.”

The bishop said that he considers the accusation to be an “attack not so much on my person, but on the person of Pope Francis.” In an apparent reference to Adelante la Fe, he added, “These are attacks that come from sources known for their hostility to the Holy Father.” He encouraged the faithful to pray for Francis.

Adelante la Fe has responded to Ticona’s denials with another article giving details of the accusations, including an address where the bishop’s concubine and children allegedly lived, and a high school attended by the children. The publication noted that a two-page letter that names accusers and gives further detail has been submitted to the apostolic nuncio.

Pope Francis announced his plan to make Ticona a cardinal on May 20th, along with 14 other nominees, at the upcoming consistory on June 29. Ticona is 81 years old, and therefore would not be eligible to vote for Pope Francis’ successor in the next papal conclave.  

LifeSite has obtained a copy of the letter, which names five individuals as having knowledge about the bishops’ alleged affair. It also claims that two different bishops have been given information about Ticona’s behavior in recent years.  It ends with a solemn oath before God that the facts alleged in the letter are true.

LifeSite has sent an electronic message to the Bishop of Oruro, Cristóbal Bialasik, asking him if he is aware of the contents of the letter and if he can confirm or deny their veracity. He has not yet responded. The Holy See Press Office has also not yet responded to LifeSite’s inquiries.

The nomination of Ticona has been interpreted as a symbolic act on the part of the pope, elevating a cleric from humble, working class origins to the ranks of the Vatican aristocracy. Ticona is of indigenous descent and is the son of uneducated parents who worked in menial jobs before entering the seminary, after which he was ordained to the priesthood and ultimately made a bishop. The bishop never received jurisdiction over a diocese, however. His last position was the oversight of the Prelature of Corocoro.

The selection of Ticona for the cardinalate by Pope Francis has been warmly received by Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, who is also an indigenous from a working class background, and who has had a strong friendship with Ticona. Although Morales loosely identifies as a Catholic, he has also expressed belief in various forms of indigenous paganism, and has butted heads with the Church on a number of occasions, removing Bolivia’s official support of the Catholic faith from the constitution, and attempting unsuccessfully to impose a new legal code that would prohibit the Church’s evangelizing activities and loosen restrictions on abortion. Ticona’s selection by Francis would appear to be an olive branch extended to Morales by the Pope, and is in line with many other appointments the pontiff has made to the cardinalate of bishops from more humble, poorer dioceses.


  bolivia, pope francis, toribio ticona

News

Trump stumps for pro-life Marsha Blackburn, says Democrats need to get ‘the hell out of office’

'We need Republicans and we need to get out and vote for Marsha,' Trump declared
Wed May 30, 2018 - 4:17 pm EST
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Donald Trump speaks at the 2016 Values Voter Summit. Andy Parrish / LifeSiteNews
Calvin Freiburger
By Calvin Freiburger

NASHVILLE, Tennessee, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump appeared onstage with pro-life Rep. Marsha Blackburn Tuesday night, hoping to mobilize turnout to protect a crucial Senate seat targeted by Democrats.

“We need Republicans and we need to get out and vote for Marsha,” Trump declared, according to Politico. “If you want your communities to be safe, if you want your schools to be safe, if you want your country to be safe, then you have to go out and get the Democrats the hell out of office.” 

The president’s words echoed his message at the annual Susan B. Anthony List gala last week, arguing that Democrats were united in obstructing the values he was elected to implement, and that electing more Republicans was necessary to deliver pro-life results.

“The first vote that Phil Bredesen will take will be to empower Chuck Schumer, will be to scuttle any Donald Trump Supreme Court nominee,” Tennessee Republican Party chair Scott Golden added.

Blackburn is currently a member of the House of Representatives, and is running to fill the Senate seat being vacated by retiring liberal Republican Bob Corker.

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Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, chairman of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives SOURCE: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Her opponent, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, has campaigned as a centrist in hopes of attracting moderate and independent voters, an image the president hoped to undermine by describing him as a “very liberal Democrat” and an “absolute tool of Chuck [Schumer].”

Democrats are “bad at everything, but they’re good at sticking together,” Trump continued. “It’s the only thing they’re good at.”

The GOP currently holds a thin 51-49 Senate majority over Democrats, a margin that has approved many pro-life nominees yet proven largely insufficient to enact pro-life legislation, thanks to a combination of liberal Republicans and rules requiring a supermajority to pass ordinary bills. Democrats must defend 26 Senate seats this fall while Republicans have only nine up for election, but Tennessee is among the races currently considered a toss-up by analysts.

Throughout her House tenure, Blackburn has consistently earned 100% scores from the National Right to Life Committee and Family Policy Alliance, and 0% scores from Planned Parenthood and NARAL. She has been one of Congress’ more high-profile pro-lifers, thanks in large part to her leadership role on the House Select Panel on Infant Lives which investigated Planned Parenthood’s sale of, and alleged profit from, aborted babies’ body parts.

Blackburn also found herself thrust into the debate on social media censorship of conservative voices when Twitter blocked a campaign ad highlighting her work on the panel (a decision the company reversed after public backlash). She went on to cross-examine Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on his website’s censorship of conservatives, and testify on whether the problem requires new government regulations.

“The intervention would have to be done very carefully,” she advised in April. “You do not want to keep innovation and the next generation of innovation out.”

Bredesen, meanwhile, does not mention abortion on his website, and has made avoiding hot-button “social” issues part of his sales pitch. But Marie Claire reports that he is “pro-choice” and it is unlikely Democratic Senate leaders would tolerate one of their members voting against their interests, given the chamber’s narrow margin. 

In 2010, Bredesen declined to either sign or veto a measure opting Tennessee out of Obamacare’s abortion coverage mandate, allowing it to take effect with the knowledge that the legislature had the votes to override any veto he would make anyway.

Polls currently show that Bredesen has a higher favorability rating among the state’s voters than Blackburn, though the former governor also has higher name recognition. Trump remains popular in Tennessee, which hasn’t elected a Democratic senator since 1990, and Blackburn remains optimistic the pattern will hold this fall.

“We are a red state, and when that blue wave comes to Tennessee this year — if there is a blue wave — then it is going to run into what I call the great red wall,” she told Fox News Tuesday.


  marsha blackburn, president trump, tennessee

News

Top Irish bishop backtracks, clarifies remarks on ‘safe’ abortions

The archbishop says he shouldn't have used the safe, legal, rare mantra of the pro-abortion movement.
Wed May 30, 2018 - 3:34 pm EST
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Archbishops Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and Eamon Martin of Armagh http://catholicbishops.ie
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By Claire Chretien

IRELAND, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ireland’s top Catholic prelate has backtracked comments he made about keeping abortion “rare,” “safe,” and “legal,” saying he shouldn’t have used that language.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the archbishop of Armagh and the Primate of All Ireland, used the pro-abortion phrasing in an interview with RTE. His use of the mantra typically repeated by abortion advocates was shown in a clip that was “heavily edited” and “taken out of context,” his spokesman told LifeSiteNews.

“I would hope that those who advocated a ‘no’ during the campaign will now work very actively to try to ensure that the legislation that is passed, as the Taoiseach himself said, allows for abortion which is rare, which is safe, and which is legal,” Archbishop Martin said in a pre-recorded video interview with RTE. That was the only clip of Martin shown in a segment on how Ireland just voted to legalize abortion.

According to the newscaster, “The Primate of all Ireland said he was challenged by the personal stories shared in the referendum campaign and that it made him realize how little he personally knows about the pressures women can be under.”

“Archbishop Eamon Martin’s words were heavily edited in the broadcast by RTÉ and these were taken out of context for that very short prerecorded clip,” Martin Long, communications director for the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, told LifeSiteNews. “The Archbishop continues to call on all people to reject abortion and to choose life.”

“The Archbishop asked me to tell you he agrees fully with the Church’s teaching on abortion and that he should not have used the quotation which you cite[,] which came from the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar,” Long said when LifeSiteNews asked how an abortion could ever be “safe” for the baby it destroys, and why Martin chose to suggest that.

Long referred LifeSiteNews to the archbishop’s pro-life record and his Sunday homily, during which he said, “Like many others who advocated a NO vote in the referendum, I am deeply saddened that we appear to have obliterated the right to life of all unborn children from our constitution and that this country is now on the brink of legislating for a liberal abortion regime.”

“I am very concerned about the implications for society of interfering with the fundamental principle that the value of all human life is equal and that all human beings, born and unborn, have inherent worth and dignity,” he said. “At a time when scientific and medical evidence is clearer than ever about the beginning of life, we have effectively decided that some human lives – in this case the lives of the unborn - are less significant and deserving of protection than others.”

Archbishop Martin used his 2018 Pastoral Message for the New Year to ask Catholics to be “missionaries for life” and to remind them, “abortion ends the human life of an unborn girl or boy.” 

“No doubt Archbishop Martin is appalled by abortion, yet it is emblematic of the problems within the Church that the Primate of Ireland should be so misguided that he would adopt the language of the abortion lobby,” Maria Madise of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and Voice of the Family told LifeSiteNews. “Using the slogan ‘safe, legal, and rare’ can only mislead Catholics into thinking that there is an acceptable level of abortion. Every single abortion is an act of lethal violence directed at an unborn child. It is intrinsically evil and can never be justified.”

“The Bishops in Ireland do not seem to recognise the responsibility they bear for the actions of their flock in voting for abortion,” said Madise. “The Irish Church needs leaders who will preach the Gospel fearlessly and make it clear that it’s impossible to support the legalisation of abortion and remain a faithful Catholic.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (not related to the other archbishop), the archbishop of Dublin, said the results of the referendum should inspire pro-lifers to fight injustices other than abortion.

He told RTE, “We have to revamp all the things we do to be pro-life, because pro-life isn’t simply about birth and death – it’s about all the time in between...and to show a real commitment to the many other ways which lives are at risk in Irish society.”

On May 16, Dublin’s Archbishop Martin said repealing the pro-life Eighth Amendment would be a “point of no return.”

“It seems incongruous that just as medical science allows us to understand much more about the evolution of the baby in the womb and his or her originality and unique identity that we should simply throw out all Constitutional protection of the unborn child,” he said. “For that reason I will be voting No.”

In the same message, though, he said that the “narrow moralistic culture” that ostracized and “humiliated” single mothers was “often sadly enhanced by the attitude of the Church.”

During Holy Week in 2017, he also suggested Catholicism has left people “oppressed by guilt,” something with which many who experienced Irish Catholicism's soft approach over the past half-century would strongly disagree.


  catholic, diarmuid martin, eamon martin, ireland, irish abortion referendum

News

Head of Pontifical university Angelicum asks pro-life leaders to protect life and evangelize

Fr. Michal Paluch made his comments to participants of the Rome Life Forum.
Wed May 30, 2018 - 3:07 pm EST
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Fr. Michal Paluch at the Rome Life Forum, May 17, 2018. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
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By Doug Mainwaring

ROME, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The rector of the Angelicum, site of this year’s Rome Life Forum, urged the international gathering of pro-life leaders to protect life and, in so doing, to evangelize.

Fr. Michal Paluch, who heads the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas — popularly known as the Angelicum — explained why the university is the perfect spot for the distinguished group of Forum participants to meet. The event took place May 17-18. 

“As many of you probably know, the most famous and most outstanding student of the Angelicum was Karol Wojtyla, St. John Paul II,” said Paluch.  “If you remember how important it was always for him – the author of the Evangelium Vitae, the cause of the protection of life, we understand that the Angelicum is the right place to start your preparation for the March for Life.” 

“Our pontifical university — one of the seven pontifical universities in Rome — has at this moment has about a thousand students,” said Fr. Paluch, who talked about the multicultural character of the school.  

“The other important element of our situation is that our students are carefully selected and sent to Rome in order to become future teachers, leaders, Bishops in their local communities,” said the Angelicum head.  “Among our alumni we have about 140 bishops, archbishops and cardinals living in the different parts of the world.” 

Fr. Paluch offered two ‘reflections’ to the Rome Life Forum participants..

“We are living today in a complicated world, in which we often feel lost and insecure,” said Paluch.  “In such a world, the clear and consistent teaching of the Church is a very important value.  Rome is the best place to experience it and to make it life-giving for all of us."   

Fr. Paluch also spoke of the proper framework for evangelizing the world, enthralling the audience with a short exegesis on Jesus encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4).   

“As many of you probably know, there are good reasons to understand this scene as a very symbolic one.  The Samaritan woman may be seen as a representative of a deeply wounded and lost humanity.  Christ reveals himself in his conversation with her for the first time in John’s Gospel as the expected messiah. And the woman at the end of the story will become a missionary, ready to go to her village and to be a witness of Christ.”

“So if we look for some hint on how to be successful in our efforts of evangelization, it would probably be for us the perfect story to keep in mind,” said Paluch. “It tells us how to transform a morally lost heretic into a preacher of Christ, and all that, within a short conversation.”  

The Angelicum rector explained that evangelization of the Samaritan woman has four distinct stages.

The first part of the conversation is something like ‘flirting.’ The woman doesn’t understand that the man who has asked her for water is not like all the partners she met before.  Jesus uses this moment to help her to realize that she bears in herself a deep  desire for fulfillment that cannot be satisfied on earth.  

But it is only when Jesus broaches the second stage, when he confronts the woman with the truth about her life, that the woman discovers that this meeting is radically different from the other meetings with the men she has had in her life. 

The confrontation with the truth opens the way to the third stage, the catechesis.  Which is to say to be part of the conversation with Jesus’ instruction about the true worship of God.   And only after all these stages does the Samaritan woman become able––let’s see it as the last phase––to become a witness of the Messiah in her village.

“Why am I reminding us all of this model of evangelization today?” asked Paluch.  “Well, I think that we should recognize that only if we take into account all those elements, can we really win for Christ those who are lost today.  Our common mistakes, too often repeated in our evangelization, are to propose to  humanity--that has not been engaged in flirting--the confrontation with truth.  Or, to be satisfied with the flirting without being able to enter into the confrontation with truth.”  

“Only by taking into account the whole evangelical model proposed ot us in the fourth chapter of the Gospel by St. John will we be able to help each other find the way to the true Messiah of God,” he said.  “Do not forget during the next days about this complete description about the way we need to go in order to win others for Christ.”

Not only did the leader of the Angelicum welcome the pro-life movement to its venerable hallowed halls, the university provided one of its distinguished professors, Dr. Isobel Camp, to speak about the “crisis of truth” in the Church today. 


  michal paluch, rome life forum, rome life forum 2018

News

Chaste same-sex attracted Christians: God did not make us gay

'This certainly makes it a lot harder for those of us who are same-sex attracted and trying to obey the Church’s timeless teachings.'
Wed May 30, 2018 - 2:47 pm EST
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By Doug Mainwaring

May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Chaste same-sex attracted Christians appear universally perplexed — and many are troubled — by Pope Francis’ alleged statement to a gay man, “God made you gay,” and are now speaking out.

The Pope’s alleged words came from the testimony of Juan Carlos Cruz, one of the child victims of sexual abuse by Chilean clergy, who visited the pontiff at the Vatican earlier this month.

The Pope has neither confirmed nor denied the veracity of the statement, once again leaving many to wonder if the Church is treading down a path to justifying LGBT identity and activity as fully normal.  Left hanging in the air is the suggestion contrary to Catholic anthropology that God ordains some people to be gay, as if it were a divine gift. 

LifeSiteNews reached out to chaste Catholics and others who experience same-sex attraction (SSA) but who choose to live according to the Gospel, not their feelings and attractions.  

Many recoiled at the Pope’s alleged comments, while others propose that his words were either misreported or misinterpreted.  

There is one thing, however, that every single one of these chaste same-sex attracted men and women made clear in their statements to LifeSiteNews: God most certainly did not make them gay.    

Thomas Berryman wonders “just how seriously the Holy Father takes the Church’s teachings on this and other issues of sexual morality … It is deeply disturbing to believe that leaders of the Roman Catholic Church are more concerned about winning people’s affection and approval than the fate of their eternal souls.”

“This certainly makes it a lot harder for those of us who are same-sex attracted and trying to obey the Church’s timeless teachings to do so--or even feel like we are truly welcome in the new, paradigm-shifting Church,” said Berryman.  “Belonging to a Church whose leaders don’t even believe in its teachings does seem kind of dumb.”

The Pope’s “remark disturbed me greatly because first of all, it's a lie, and second of all, he is deceiving millions of people into hell,” said Anita Angelo, who did not mince words when speaking to LifeSiteNews.  “He just told millions of homosexuals that it's ok to stay gay and sold them on the devil's lie.  It's not. Sure Jesus said to ‘come as you are’ but He will turn your life around if you let Him. God can and will deliver us from every yoke of bondage if we let Him.”

Angelo said that those who have “itching ears … longing for affirmation” need to know that the Pope’s alleged but uncorrected statement “logically speaking doesn't even make sense.”  She asked, “Why would a loving God create someone to be same-sex attracted and then at the same time condemn them to hell?  He just wouldn’t.”

“I am very grieved over his remark,” said Angelo.  “It actually makes me sick to my stomach because people will stay trapped and not even know it.” 

Before he started his outreach in San Francisco to the LGBT community, Catholic Joseph Sciambra assumed his struggle would be with the secular gay community.  Yet he found, “Those who stand up for truth … have almost no support from the hierarchy.”

“Over the past ten years, because of this issue, I have teetered every day on the edge of leaving the Catholic Church. Beyond the physical and mental torments I have suffered due to a decade I spent as a gay man, the Church has been my greatest source of suffering,” said Sciambra in a published opinion.  

“When I hear those in the Catholic Church say ‘you were born gay,’ I think: My God, they are killing us,” he concluded. 

“I think it's unwise to rely on second hand reports,” said Daniel Mattson, author of Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay.  “And the Pope has spoken about homosexuality publicly many times, and he has reiterated time and time again that he is a son of the Church.”

Mattson continued, "For example, when asked about the press conference when he said the now-famous comment, 'If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?', Pope Francis said in The Name of God is Mercy that he 'was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized. I am glad that we are talking about ‘homosexual people’ because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity. And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love.'" 

“The Church is clear––we are all born male or female, and all of us live with certain disordered passions and inclinations,” Mattson continued. “Same-sex attraction is just one of many disordered inclinations that people can find help overcoming through the sacramental life of the Church. No one is created 'gay' for the simple reason that God does not create anyone with ‘disordered inclinations.”

“It was by connecting the crystal clear dots of Catholic tradition, and of Catholic truth, that many of us were able to turn to Christ and away from the homosexual lifestyle,” Paul Darrow told LifeSiteNews.  Darrow is one of three chaste same-sex attracted Catholics featured in the movie, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, produced by the Courage Apostolate.  “Because of this, we were able to discover real peace and true freedom. We are now praying that the clergy does not confuse our brothers and sisters with fuzzy dots that will lead them onto a bridge to nowhere.”

“As a young Catholic woman who loves Jesus and daily lives life to follow Him it makes my heart very sad to believe that the Pope would say what he allegedly said to this young man with same-sex attraction,” said Kimberly Zember.  “I know personally, from my own life, that same-sex desires are real desires that can be from a very young age, but to say that “God made you that way” without any further discussion leads one to believe if ‘God made you that way’ then there is nothing wrong with living out (sexually) the way God made you.” 

“Furthermore, [this leads] one to gather that homosexual relationships are not only accepted by God but planned by God and should be lived out,” Zember told LifeSiteNews.  “If we human beings were to act on every desire that we were “born with” this world would be a scary place to live. I pray we all get back to the Gospel Truth and not our own truths or feelings. Why would God call us to live in something that He died for?”

“The Pope and liberal ‘Christian’ theologians/teachers have done more damage to LGBT individuals by poisoning us with their lies, pushing us into further bondage and rebellion against God,” said George Carneal, Author of From Queer To Christ.  “This destroyed my peace of mind and I attempted suicide over the despair.”  

“God is not the author of confusion,” continued Corneal.  “He would not make me gay and then condemn it in His infallible Word.  When God opened my eyes to the deception and gave me the healing I needed, I was able to finally walk away from that life.   I choose to listen to God, not the Pope.”

“I believe that after the fall sin entered the world & we’re all born in sin,” said Adonis Bemish.  “Regardless if God made me this way that’s not an excuse to pursue my fleshly desires even if there is some gene that decides our sexuality. 

“God calls us to walk in holiness towards Him regardless of one’s struggles (1 Thessalonians 4:7) & to lay aside our fleshly desires to pursue more of Him,” 29 year old Bemish told LifeSiteNews.  “Ultimately the Pope isn’t God & just because he now makes this statement doesn’t dictate for me the truth of God’s Word.” 

Ron and Fetima McCray are a young married couple, who were formerly active members of the gay and lesbian world.

“If the Pope truly did make such a claim, I would say it is heartbreaking to say the least,” said Ron.  “While homosexuality is not the ‘worst’ sin, it is still a sin all the same. Jesus came to die for the sins of the world (Jn. 1:9) — that we might be reconciled unto God, not so that we can freely live in sin.”

“Had the church told me Jesus accepted me as a gay man, they would have robbed me of the life I now live today,” continued Ron.  “I have been joyfully free from homosexuality going on 9 years, and joyfully married to a woman of almost 3 of those years. I would have never learned of my true identity, had the church sold me this lie. I would have never experienced God as a healer and a strong deliver! Truth is what makes us free, not deception, and not twisting scripture to fit our lifestyles.”

“In response to the Pope’s alleged comments on being gay, I say this,” said Fetima. “Regardless of how you were born––as we were all born in sin and sharpened in iniquity according to Psalm 51:5––we MUST BE born again (John 3:5). Once we are born again we mortify the deeds of the flesh, or the ‘old man,’ (Roman 8:13) … Once we are born again, we are no longer slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18) that we might show forth the praises of Him that has called us out of darkness [and the bondage of our sinful flesh] and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). 

“While living my homosexual life I definitely believed God made me that way,” said Bob, who preferred his last name not be used. “The feelings were real, and why would I choose such a difficult path?  But then I met Jesus and my eyes were open to my need for a Savior in all areas of my life. I realize now that it was influences and circumstances that likely caused those feelings to develop and I pursued what felt ‘normal.’ Now married with kids and 18 years freed from that lifestyle I can honestly say it is finally at this stage of my life that I am living the truth: “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

“I've had same-sex attraction since I was a boy, and from time to time became involved in gay sex starting when I was 12.  Even though I've struggled with this, I've tried to follow Christ as a disciple,” said Jeff, a Catholic man who wants to remain anonymous.  “My walk with the Lord has enriched my life.  I really can't imagine that Jesus would say ‘go for it.’ 

“Scripture and natural law, and thus Church teaching, show us another way,” he continued.  “Despite the struggle, and at times falling, I've been most fulfilled as a man (and as a husband and father) as I've sought the grace to live as the Church teaches.  I experience a mystical relationship with Christ.  It is a challenge at times, and at other times not a big deal. Walking with Christ has been more fulfilling and I think it is he who has blessed my attempts to avoid same sex relationships.”

Thomas Berryman spoke for many when he said, “Personally, I believe that the Holy Father said what Mr. Cruz says he did. I just don’t want to believe it. It is possible to comfort someone without validating his sinful behavior.”

Correction: This article originally misattributed a quote by Pope Francis to Daniel Mattson. We regret the error.


  catholic, homosexuality, pope francis, same-sex attraction

News

‘Absolute miracle’: No charges for pro-life activists arrested inside abortion center

'It's a mystery in some respects.'
Wed May 30, 2018 - 2:35 pm EST
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Police drag pro-life advocate Lauren Handy after arresting her during a Red Rose Rescue on May 26, 2018. Credit: Fr. William Kuchinsky
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The District of Columbia has dropped all charges against two pro-life activists who refused to leave an abortion facility as part of a “Red Rose Rescue” on Saturday. The third, a Catholic priest, got off with a citation that veteran activists say will likely be dismissed.

“It’s an absolute miracle,” one of those rescuers, 24-year-old Lauren Handy, told LifeSiteNews. She called it “a confirmation from God that Red Rose Rescues should continue.”

Handy, Father Fidelis Moscinski of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and a pro-life advocate going by “Baby Jane Doe” in solidarity with the children killed by abortion were arrested on May 26 for refusing to leave the Capital Women’s Services abortion center. They were inside the facility for around two hours, urging the mothers inside to choose life and offering them red roses.

A fourth pro-life activist, Adele Gillhooly, was with them, but chose to leave when police asked her to. The rescue caused at least three women to leave the abortion facility.

“They didn’t tell us” why the charges were dropped, Handy said. “I was released on Saturday 30 minutes before court closed that day. Baby Jane Doe was released on Monday.”

Fr. Fidelis was also released on Saturday with a citation. Monica Migliorino Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society predicted those charges will be dropped too, if they haven’t been already, and said it’s likely he received the citation because he was “booted” from jail earlier than the others.

“It’s a mystery in some respects” why the charges were dropped, said Miller, a longtime pro-life activist who has participated in Red Rose Rescues in Michigan.

“The last time [pro-life activists] did a red rose at that abortion facility, the complainant was the building manager,” but this time it was the abortion manager.

“We do wonder if maybe the clinic does not want to pursue the complaint because they don’t wanna get tied up in court,” Miller told LifeSiteNews.

The abortionist at Capital Women’s Care is Steven Brigham, dubbed “the worst abortionist in America” by the watchdog group Operation Rescue. In 2012, he was charged with murder, but those charges were dropped because the state couldn’t prove five murdered babies had been killed in Maryland.

Police found the bodies of 35 aborted babies at an illegal late-term abortion facility Brigham was running. Some of those babies were as old as 36 weeks gestation.

Brigham has a history of harming women, medical license revocation, and being forced to shut down filthy facilities. The New Yorker even profiled his sordid history in a 2014 piece about his “chain” of unsanitary abortion centers.

Father Stephen Imbarrato, whose prosecution for participating in a Red Rose Rescue at the same D.C. facility on December 2, 2017 is ongoing, said Saturday’s rescue “had ripple effects that only God knows the benefits of.” He, like Miller, said he thinks Fr. Moscinski’s citation has been dismissed.

Imbarrato told LifeSiteNews that on Saturday afternoon, he went to arraignment court and “found out from the bailiff that her [Handy’s] charges had been dismissed.”

He said he prayed to God to help him find Lauren.

“At that moment, the phone rings,” he recalled. It was Handy’s mother saying her daughter had been released – and that she was at arraignment court, where Imbarrato was looking for her.

He soon found her.

“She shows me the paperwork,” he recollected. “No charges – that’s what it says.”

Handy and Imbarrato went to the precinct for the former to collect her belongings. It was while she was doing that, the priest said, that he had an extraordinary conversation with a police officer. He doesn’t know the officer’s name, but he said the officer essentially told him Handy’s charges were being dismissed because the police recognized the rescuers were doing what they did to save lives.

“He said, ‘well, because we know what you did. We did what we had to do – we also know why you did it, and so somebody made a decision...to not go forward with the charges.’”

According to Imbarrato, the officer said that “a while back,” a man was arrested for having an illegal gun in D.C., which he used to shoot a dog who was in the process of mauling a girl. He wasn’t prosecuted because he had been saving the girl’s life.

“If you read the story” of that case, it’s “a bit different – the guy fulfilled some conditions” first, said Imbarrato. But “that sounds like necessity defense, right?”

Imbarrato said the officer’s remarks were “unofficial and he could have been speculating.”

“Did somebody get a phone call?” he asked. “There’s really no way of knowing why these charges were dismissed.”

LifeSiteNews inquired with D.C. Superior Court as to why the charges were dismissed, but did not hear back by press time.

Another remarkable part of the story is that “Baby Jane Doe” eventually had her charges dismissed, too, and was released from police custody without ever revealing her name.

The Red Rose Rescue movement was inspired by Canadian pro-life activist Mary Wagner, who regularly conducts such rescues in Canada. She has been imprisoned multiple times for doing so.

The “Rescue” movement began during the early days of the pro-life movement. It was normal for pro-life activists to enter abortion facilities to counsel women and even chain themselves to abortion equipment to prevent abortions from occurring. Many babies were saved this way.

In 1994, then-President Clinton signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which makes it a federal crime to physically block women from obtaining abortions. FACE effectively ended the widespread use of normal rescue tactics.

None of the Red Rose Rescuers have been charged with violating FACE.

“If FACE was gonna be used, it would have been used by now,” said Miller.


  abortion, father fidelis moscinski, lauren handy, red rose rescue, steven brigham

News

US bishops’ incoming pro-life chair: Abortion tops immigration in public policy debate

'With abortion and euthanasia, you're always dealing with a direct threat to innocent human life.'
Wed May 30, 2018 - 1:09 pm EST
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Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa
By Lisa Bourne

May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Abortion and euthanasia have a “deeper relevance” when it comes to U.S. public policy debate than issues such as poverty and immigration, the U.S. Bishops’ incoming pro-life chair said in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews. 

“I think with abortion and euthanasia, you're always dealing with a direct threat to innocent human life,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City said in an interview with LifeSiteNews’ Editor-in-chief and co-founder John-Henry Westen.

“And the other thing that makes those issues, I think, have a particular moral relevance, a deeper relevance, is that this attack on human life happens within the family - the very place that's called to be the sanctuary of life.” 

Naumann said that for this reason, abortion and euthanasia "have great weight in public policy."

Naumann, who is the incoming Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said that "nuances" in Catholic teaching do not exist when it comes to abortion and euthanasia.

"Every human life is precious. And, wherever the human person is threatened, wherever life is diminished the Church has an equal concern no matter what those circumstances might be," he said. 

But there are nuances when it comes to issues such as poverty and immigration. 

People, he said, may disagree about what "best benefits the poor." And, it becomes "complicated" when determining "what's the right public policy in terms of immigrants and how the nations keep order at their borders, but still welcome immigrants."

"So I think there are there are more nuances to some of these issues when we get into the public policy debate," he said. 

The conversation touched on whether the need behind the U.S. Bishops’ 2004 document “Catholics in Political Life” remained a valid concern today.

That statement against honoring those who publicly act in defiance of the Catholic Church’s fundamental moral principles, particularly abortion, was still warranted, Archbishop Naumann said.

“I think that's still true today that we create confusion amongst our own people if our Catholic institutions honor in some way or give a platform to those that fail to in their public life fail to live out our Catholic faith in these very critical areas these very important areas in terms of the morality of public policy,” Naumann told LifeSiteNews. 

“I think what we said in 2004 is still applicable today,” he said, “in that Catholic universities and colleges and other institutions, when they're talking about commencement addresses or giving awards to people, that I think that that prudence demands that we avoid giving anything that would be scandalous or appear to give approval to these public statements that are at odds with the church's teaching on these important moral issues.” 

Archbishop Naumann has defended the Catholic faith repeatedly before and since his November 2017 election as USCCB pro-life committee chair, both in action and with clear statements on the importance of upholding Catholic principles. This has included the pastoral duty of censuring pro-abortion Catholic politicians for the scandal caused by their public defiance of Church teaching.  

The archbishop went on to speak on the topics of contraception, marriage, homosexuality and gender politics, worthiness to receive Communion, and the existence of hell. LifeSiteNews will publish these reports shortly.


  abortion, catholic, immigration, joseph naumann, us bishops, usccb

News

New undercover videos expose Planned Parenthood covering up child sex abuse

Live Action's video series exposes a 'systemic, decades long cover-up of child sexual abuse at Planned Parenthood.'
Wed May 30, 2018 - 12:06 pm EST
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Live Action / Youtube screen grab
Calvin Freiburger
By Calvin Freiburger

May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Despite the rise of the #MeToo movement against powerful institutions enabling sexual abuse, Planned Parenthood’s own history of covering up crimes against minors has gone largely ignored. But, Live Action hopes to change that in a new video series, the first of which was released today.

On Wednesday, the group announced its seven-part “Aiding Abusers” series, which will “expos[e] a systemic, decades long cover-up of child sexual abuse at Planned Parenthood.”

The first video provides an introduction to the project and an overview of what to expect in its future installments, including documented cases, the testimony of former abortion industry insiders, two of Live Action’s own previous undercover investigations, the lies Planned Parenthood has told in response to the allegations, and what consequences the offending personnel have faced, if any. 

“Whether it’s Hollywood, sports, politics or big media; we’ve heard the names of perpetrators and their enablers — people who knew about the abuse, but did nothing to stop it,” Live Action founder Lila Rose says in the introductory video. “But few are calling out one of America’s biggest accomplices to sexual abuse even though there is widespread documentation of systemic sexual abuse cover-up behind its doors. The group is called Planned Parenthood, and they are tax funded.”

The group has also released Part 2 in the series, “Recorded Cases.” It details how the abortion giant’s refusal to report men who brought in girls as young as age twelve for abortions enabled their abusers to continue raping them. Live Action has documented many of these cases here and here.

Live Action says that a later installment will quote former Planned Parenthood insiders such as Sue Thayer and Catherine Adair, who say the organization actively discouraged reporting of children being brought in by their apparent abusers.

Planned Parenthood has a “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy on sexual abuse, according to HIV health educator and Title X training manager Monica Cline: “if we don’t ask how old her partner is, we don’t have to tell.”

Past Live Action investigations, revisited in the new series, filmed Planned Parenthood officials at eight facilities willing to help cover up sexual abuse, and officials at seven facilities willing to assist apparent child sex traffickers.

“The summaries are tragic and show that time and again, young girls continued to be victimized by their abusers after receiving ‘services’ at the abortion corporation,” Live Action says. “Call upon Congress to investigate and defund this corrupt organization and demand that the media hold Planned Parenthood to account.”

The Trump Justice Department opened an investigation into the abortion giant’s sale and alleged profit off of fetal organs in December, but has not updated the public on further action since then. Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood’s more than $500 million in federal funding have faltered in Congress, though President Donald Trump recently ended approximately ten percent of its funding via new restrictions on Title X family planning funds.


  abortion, aiding abusers, child sex abuse, live action, sex abuse

News

UK Conservative MPs firmly reject imposition of abortion on Northern Ireland

A survey reveals that any interference with devolution in Northern Ireland is deeply unpopular with Conservative MPs.
Wed May 30, 2018 - 11:36 am EST
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K.V. Turley
By

LONDON May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A survey released on 29 May 2018 shows that 72% of Conservative Members of Parliament reject Westminster undermining devolution in order to appease calls from fellow MPs to impose abortion on demand in Northern Ireland. Only 9% of Conservative MPs surveyed said they would support the undermining of Ulster’s devolved Assembly.

In the survey, MPs were also asked whether the UK’s House of Commons should hold a free vote on the issue. Again 72% of Conservative MPs rejected such a call for a free vote with only 9% of Conservative MPs supporting it.

The survey reveals that any interference with devolution in Northern Ireland is deeply unpopular with Conservative MPs. This is especially important coming, as it does, at a key time for the Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority Conservative Government which depends on Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party in order to retain power.

The survey of Conservative MPs was carried out by ComRes, an opinion research agency with a particular interest in religious belief in the workplace. A total of 150 MPs were interviewed for the survey between 1st and 28th March 2018. 

These survey results have been released following a statement from a spokesperson for the Prime Minister reiterating that the issue of abortion is a matter for the devolved Northern Ireland government: “It’s important to recognise that the people of Northern Ireland are entitled to their own process, which is run by locally elected politicians. Our focus is restoring a democratically accountable devolved government in Northern Ireland so that locally accountable politicians can make decisions on behalf of the public they represent.”

Prominent pro-life Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has said that challenging Northern Ireland's stance on abortion would be 'an issue of devolution'. He went on to add that such a move would set a precedent for a British parliament to unpick other devolution agreements which exist in other parts of the United Kingdom namely, Scotland and Wales. 

The proposal to impose abortion on Northern Ireland, made over the weekend by some English MPs, comes at a fragile moment for the Northern Ireland’s Assembly. Since 26 January 2017, political divisions within Northern Ireland have lead to no Executive being formed. This push to impose laws on the Province comes at a time when there are wider concerns about how the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union will affect the Irish and its possible negative impact on the 20-year-old Good Friday Agreement which brought a measure of peace and stability to Northern Ireland.

Referring to the recent abortion referendum result south of the Irish border, DUP Assembly Member Jim Wells said: "We can't have a knee jerk reaction in Northern Ireland simply because the Irish Republic has taken this decision."  He has suggested that the DUP could use a “petition of concern” to block any change to abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, women from a number of groups have come together to speak out against calls to force abortion on the people of Northern Ireland. They published an open letter to Prime Minister May and all UK MPs. The letter stressed that abortion is a devolved issue and that is therefore for the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives to decide on what the law regarding abortion in Northern Ireland should be.  

Dawn McAvoy, co-founder of Both Lives Matter NI, said: “Across the UK this is the time for a better story around pregnancy crisis than assuming that abortion is what women want or need. We would ask that British MPs to respect the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives. We do not want the social model of Great Britain imposed on us. Progress isn’t the dehumanisation of our unborn children. Progress is recognising that there are at least two lives in existence in every pregnancy and beginning the conversation from the point that Both Lives Matter… Women and babies deserve better than abortion because both lives matter.”

The attempt to impose new laws on Northern Ireland is being led by Labour MP Stella Creasy. She is calling for a free vote on her planned amendment to the Domestic Violence Bill that would extend abortion to Northern Ireland. 160 MPs, including some senior Conservatives, are said to support the plan. Labour's Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti has said that the issue of abortion is a "test" for "self-identifying feminist" Theresa May.

These British attempts to undermine devolution in Northern Ireland are also seeing a backlash from within the Labour Party. Labour MP for North Tyneside, Mary Glindon, weighed into the debate saying: “The fact is that Northern Ireland, is a devolved administration and this remains a devolved issue that has to be decided by Stormont…The most important thing now is to get the Northern Ireland Assembly up and running again, for the people of Northern Ireland, and that is where, I believe, Labour MPs should be putting their efforts at this time.” 


  abortion, devolution, northern ireland, theresa may

News

Ex-gays: California’s ‘stay gay’ bill denies our existence

'We don’t wanna see an America where the government is controlling how we identify sexually.'
Wed May 30, 2018 - 11:09 am EST
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Jim Domen, a California pastor who used to live as a gay man. He now is married to a woman and they have three children. Church United Facebook
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

CALIFORNIA, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – “People are trying to silence the power of Jesus Christ” through a California bill banning help for those with unwanted same-sex attraction, a man who used to live the gay lifestyle and is now a Christian pastor said.

That man, Jim Domen, appeared in a video produced by Church United highlighting the experiences of California residents who have experienced unwanted same-sex attraction. Some of these individuals are now married with kids. More than one is a pastor now. They say the bill being considered amounts to the government “controlling how we identify sexually.”

A shortened version of the video is below. The full video can be viewed here.

Bill AB2943 makes “advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual” illegal by adding it to the state’s list of illegal “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer.”

Adults seeking to overcome unwanted gay attractions or sort through sexual confusion according to traditional Christian anthropology would not be able to do so.

A Christian ministry has already canceled an upcoming Los Angeles conference because “its lineup includes defenders of traditional man/woman marriage and people who advocate pursuing only those sexual activities approved in the Bible,” and its leaders were worried the bill might become law.

Those in the Church United video include an artist, veterinarian, hair stylist, and several pastors. They discuss how “destructive” the homosexual lifestyle was and how leaving it behind gave them the bright outlook they have now.

Neil Hardin, an engineer, said in the video he wants to be free to see the therapist of his choosing, buy the books he wants, and live how he thinks God wants him to live.

“I’m more than just my sexuality,” he said. “My identity is more than just who I am attracted to. My identity is that I am a Christian. I am in Christ, and that is the most important thing.”

“I lived and loved being a lesbian,” Elizabeth Woning recalled. “I felt like I’d been born that way.”

But when she became a Christian, her self-identity shifted.

“I didn’t pursue God for freedom of my sexuality. I pursued God for Him,” she said. “But the outcome of that was my sexuality – my self-identity – began to change. And really it wasn’t too much longer after that, maybe within a year, that I began to develop affection for a man, which honestly was shocking. It was a little bit humiliating. I didn’t believe that that was who I was. I didn’t believe it was possible. Eventually, I married him. Today, we’ve been married for 13 years.”

Another pastor who shared his story of experiencing unwanted same-sex attractions, Ken Williams, said that AB2943 “completely destroys my human experience.”

When he sought help for unwanted same-sex attractions, Williams said, “I had no promise that I would ever change, but I had support from him and from my parents, that I was loved and that I’m safe.”

“This legislation, 2943, actually takes away rights from those that are questioning their sexuality,” he said. “We don’t wanna see an America where the government is controlling how we identify sexually.”

Related:

California set to vote on banning books about treating unwanted homosexual attraction

California’s shocking ‘you must stay gay’ bill


  ab 2943, california, christianity, church united, ex-gay, ex-gays, homosexuality, same-sex attraction

News

Quo Vadis: Pope Francis moves Corpus Christi procession out of Rome

Pope Francis is departing from a 40-year tradition restored by St. John Paul II and moving the celebration of Corpus Christi from the heart of Rome to the neighboring seaside town of Ostia.
Wed May 30, 2018 - 1:04 am EST
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By Diane Montagna

ROME, May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis is departing from a 40-year tradition restored by St. John Paul II and moving the celebration of Corpus Christi from the heart of Rome to the neighboring seaside town of Ostia.

The move marks the latest in several changes Pope Francis has made to the celebration of Corpus Christi since his pontificate began.

Given the deep significance and beauty of the annual Eucharastic procession in Rome, the move is leading some to ask: Franciscus, quo vadis?

Restoring a tradition

Until this year, the annual candlelit Eucharistic procession immediately followed the celebration of Holy Mass at Rome’s Basilica of St. John Lateran — the See of the Bishop of Rome — and proceeded along the Via Merulana to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where it concluded with solemn Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Pope St. John Paul II restored the Corpus Christi procession to the streets of Rome in 1982, a traditoin that had not taken place for more than a hundred years. It was a custom that he deeply loved and continued throughout his pontificate, and one which Pope Benedict XVI also treasured.

An American priest who was a seminarian in Rome at the beginning of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate recalls his experience serving Mass for him on Corpus Christi in 1980:

I will never forget that Mass. Before it began, three other seminarians and I were with Pope John Paul in the sacristy of Saint Peter’s Basilica. The Holy Father spoke to us about the Holy Eucharist and the feast of Corpus Christi. He counseled us to make the Eucharist the center of our lives as seminarians and future priests. The Holy Father also spoke to us with apparent nostalgia about the tradition of Corpus Christi processions in Poland.

I watched Pope John Paul prepare for the Mass as he knelt down for silent prayer (several minutes) before putting on his vestments. We then proceeded into Saint Peter’s Square for an outdoor Mass where tens of thousands of people were gathered. At the end of Mass, the Holy Father carried the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in a procession around Saint Peter’s Square.

When we returned to the sacristy, the Holy Father said that he would much prefer having the procession through the streets of Rome, like they did in Poland.

Two years later, in 1982, while still a seminarian in Rome but now ordained a deacon, he again served Mass for John Paul II on the feast of Corpus Christi, but this time outside St. John Lateran. The priest recalled John Paul II carrying the Blessed Sacrament through the Roman streets and explained how, as a Cardinal, Koral Wojtyla had fought to restore the full Corpus Christi procession in Poland. 

In Krakow (and I imagine throughout Poland), the popular Corpus Christi procession was banned during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Later, the Communists were determined to eradicate this tradition. Prior to the war, in Krakow this great public procession honoring the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ went from Wawel Cathedral through the streets of the Old Town to the market square. The communists permitted a truncated procession to leave Wawel Cathedral and process around the courtyard of the royal palace, but the procession was forbidden to enter the city. After numerous protests from the archdiocese, the restrictions were eased a bit so that the Corpus Christi procession was permitted, albeit along a shortened route in the city.

During these processions in the 1970’s, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the future John Paul II, preached dynamic sermons in which he spoke of the Eucharist and also about religious freedom and the right to worship. As is well known, the future pope struggled for the building of new churches in the archdiocese of Krakow. He also fought for the restoration of the full Corpus Christi procession.

In his first Corpus Christi homily after restoring the Eucharistic procession to Rome, Pope John Paul II said: 

We desire to raise the chalice of salvation, the chalice of the Eucharist, and to invoke publicly the name of the Lord before all men, before the entire city and the world.

Are not the words of the psalmist fulfilled in the presence of this city of Rome? “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones” (Psalm 115:15). 

Rome of the Apostles, Martyrs and Saints, pays honor to the Eucharist which has become for all the Bread of Life and the Blood of spiritual freedom: “Oh Lord, I am thy servant, the son of thy handmaid. Thou has loosed my bonds.” So speaks the psalmist … through penance and the Eucharist the path leads out of sin and slavery to the devil and the world — to the freedom of the Spirit.  Walking in the procession of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, we desire to bear witness to this [truth] before Rome and the world. This is our liturgy of praise and thanksgiving, which we cannot neglect [to offer] before God and men. 

A respected priest who has long served in Rome recalled for LifeSitenews his experience of taking part in the Corpus Christi procession with Pope John Paul II during the Jubilee Year of 2000. 

“I remember processing down the via Merulana. There must have been 80,000 people there. The street descends and reascends before reaching the Basilica of St. Mary Major. I remember walking up the incline and looking back. The streets were absolutely packed. I saw a sea of clergy, seminarians, religious and laity processing with the Pope and the Blessed Sacrament. It was extraordinary,” he said.

Breaking one tradition to return to another?

Details regarding Pope Francis’ decision to move the procession from the heart of Rome to the seaside town of Ostia were released on Tuesday, May 29, with the Vatican’s announcement of the Pope’s liturgical schedule for the months of June-August. 

According to the calendar, Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Mass for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ in the square outside the Church of St. Monica in Ostia on Sunday, June 3, at 6:00pm.

At the conclusion of the Mass, a Eucharistic procession will make its way to a parking lot near the Church of Our Lady of Bonaria just over a mile away. The celebration will end with Eucharistic Benediction.

In a follow-up statement yesterday, the Vicariate of Rome acknowledged that Pope Francis’ decision marks a departure from the 40-year tradition of celebrating Corpus Christi at the fourth century basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.

“One tradition is being broken but another is being taken up again,” His Excellency Paolo Lojudice, the local auxiliary bishop in Ostia, said in the statement.

Lojudice explained that Pope Francis’ move is a return to Paul VI’s practice of celebrating Corpus Domini in various areas of the city. He also noted that Paul VI celebrated the solemnity in Ostia exactly 50 years ago, in 1968 — the same year he issued Humanae Vitae.

“I believe that [the change] is in keeping with the pastoral logic of Pope Francis, of his ‘magisterium of signs’ that wants to take the Church out into the streets, to the peripheries, close to the most delicate environments and situations,” he said.

Bishop Lojudice described this Sunday’s celebration of Corpus Christi in Ostia as a “beautiful opportunity” for the whole area. “It is not a parish visit, but a visit to the whole community,” he said. He also noted that around 850 first communicants, 150 children who belong to the local oratories, and 350 children who received the Sacrament of Confirmation will take part in the celebration.

In preparation for Corpus Christi, the eight parishes in Ostia will organize a prayer vigil on Wednesday, May 30, at 9:00 pm at a local beach, the statement said.

A further departure

In a further departure from past Corpus Christi celebrations, the statement also specified that only the Pope’s vicar for the diocese of Rome, cardinal-designate Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, and the auxiliary bishops and parish priests of Ostia will be concelebrating the Mass.

“There is no concelebration for other priests,” the statement said.

Under the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, priests working in the Vatican or studying in Rome would come out in large numbers on the solemnity of Corpus Christi to concelebrate Holy Mass with the Pope and to process with the Most Blessed Sacrament to the Basilica of St. Mary Major for Eucharistic Benediction.

In recent years, however, the number of priests and faithful attending the Mass in Rome has dramatically declined.

Some observers support Pope Francis’ decision to move the annual Corpus Christi celebration to the peripheries, in the hope that it will help to increase Eucharistic devotion.

Critics, however, pointing to declining attendance under the current pontificate, suggest the move might be a way of solving dwindling numbers that don’t play well with the Francis media narrative.

Changing Corpus Christi

In the first year of his pontificate, Pope Francis surprised everyone by following the Corpus Christi procession on foot, behind the Most Blessed Sacrament, instead of kneeling before the Eucharist on a modified “pope-mobile,” as Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI had done. Then, in 2014, reportedly no longer able to make the journey on foot, the pope chose to travel to the Basilica of St. Mary Major by car, ahead of the arrival of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Last year, he took the further and unprecedented step of transferring the Vatican’s liturgical celebration of Corpus Christi from Thursday to the following Sunday.

Although numerous bishops’ conferences (including in Italy and the United States) have transferred Corpus Christi to Sunday to accommodate the faithful, the Vatican had kept the traditional liturgical observance of Corpus Christi, celebrating this solemn feast on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.

At the time, Italian media reported that Pope Francis transferred the feast because he thought a greater number of faithful, pilgrims and tourists would participate in the Eucharistic procession in Rome if Corpus Christi were celebrated on a Sunday.

Corpus Christi in papal history

In August 1264, Pope Urban IV instituted the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on the Thursday after Pentecost as a feast for the entire Latin Church, by the papal bull Transiturus de hoc mundo. 

St. Thomas Aquinas contributed substantially to the bull, particularly regarding the liturgical texts for the new feast. Aquinas composed the sequence Tantum ergo for the feast.

On the solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Pope would accompany the Blessed Sacrament in procession from St. Peter’s through the streets of the surrounding quarters of Rome.

Yet the procession was periodically interrupted over the next seven centuries due to invasion, Roman occupation and political turbulence on the peninsula. 

In 1929, with the signing of the Lateran Pact, and the establishment of an international agreement between Italy and the Holy See, Corpus Christi was acknowledged by the Italian State as a public holiday, and the procession was restored, although in a limited fashion. Pope Pius XI, who was pope at the time, led the Corpus Christi procession but confined it to St. Peter’s Square.

In 1964, on the 700th anniversary of the institution of Corpus Christi, Paul VI led the procession from St. Peter’s Basilica. In the years that followed, however, he held the celebrations on the outskirts of Rome, such as Ostia in 1968, until Pope John Paul II restored the Eucharistic procession to the heart and streets of Rome.


  catholic, corpus christi, eucharist, pope francis

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Why was Pope Francis silent on Ireland voting for abortion?

The pope’s silence as a formerly Catholic country voted on an intrinsic evil is reminiscent of his treatment of Italy’s same-sex unions debate.
Wed May 30, 2018 - 10:58 am EST
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Pope Francis at 2016 Rome consistory, when "progressive" archbishops Cupich, Joseph Tobin, and Farrell were made cardinals. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSite
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By Claire Chretien

May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – While the world reeled at the alleged comments Pope Francis recently made on homosexuality, it also noticed the pontiff’s deafening silence on Ireland’s now-lost abortion referendum.

Pope Francis allegedly told a male victim of priestly sex abuse that God “made” him gay and that’s “okay,” which made headlines around the world. The Vatican press office wouldn’t confirm or deny the comment.

Many have noted the Catholic Church’s minimal role in the campaign to save the pro-life Eighth Amendment, partly because the homosexual sex abuse crisis was so bad in Ireland that it shattered the Church’s credibility. However, despite the pontiff’s “progressive” reputation, his opinion nevertheless may have been of some help to the pro-life side as it tried to win over voters.

“In 1983, the Catholic hierarchy played no little role in the passing of the Eighth Amendment,” the BBC reports. “However, in the intervening years, it has seen its standing greatly diminished with revelations about bishops not reporting paedophile priests to the civil authorities.”

The BBC contrasted Pope St. John Paul II’s “triumphal” visit to Ireland, which preceded the adoption of the Eighth Amendment, with Pope Francis’ upcoming visit, during which he will “find a country undoing part of the legacy of a previous papal visit.”

Ireland is “clearly part of Europe’s secular sprint out of the Roman Catholic fold,” the New York Times observed.

“Across Western Europe, the church’s once mighty footprint has faded, in no small measure because of self-inflicted clerical sex abuse scandals and an inability to keep up with and reach contemporary Catholics,” it continued. “Church attendance has plummeted, parishes are merging, and new priests and nuns are in short supply. Gay marriage is on the rise, and abortion is widely legal.”

“And yet, Francis is not sounding the alarm or calling the faithful to the ramparts,” the Times went on. “He seems resigned to accept that a devout and Catholic Europe has largely slipped into the church’s past...If the landslide vote in Ireland bothered Francis, he didn’t show it on Sunday afternoon.”

The pope’s silence as a formerly Catholic country voted on an intrinsic evil is reminiscent of his treatment of Italy’s same-sex unions debate.

Two situations of bio-ethical and moral importance in which Pope Francis has taken interest were the cases of Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard, a toddler and an infant whose respective parents fought English hospitals to be able to continue their sons’ care elsewhere. The pope’s support of the little boys included offering them spots at Rome’s Bambino Gesu hospital, and in the case of Alfie, readying a military helicopter to fly him there.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Ireland in August for the World Meeting of Families, an event which the bishops of Ireland have already used to push the LGBT cause


  8th amendment, abortion, catholic, eighth amendment, ireland, irish abortion referendum, pope francis