All articles from June 7, 2018


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Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò at the Rome Life Forum in Rome, May 18, 2018. Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
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Former U.S. Apostolic Nuncio: Our Lady is the ‘real frontline fighter against the devil’

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By Doug Mainwaring

ROME, June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking to a gathering of distinguished pro-life leaders from around the world recently, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò stressed the importance of the role of Our Lady in the current battle against the culture of death.

“She is our strength,” and “she’s the Mother of the Church,” said Viganò. “So we trust in Our Lady, who is the real frontline fighter against the devil.”

The former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, who was present for the entire Rome Life Forum (RLF), joined Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke and Msgr. Livio Melina for a panel discussion at the conclusion of the international assembly.  

“I have been one of you, during these two days, listening attentively,” said the archbishop. “And certainly I have been struck by the great quality of bold intervention and the witnesses” at the Forum.

“And certainly the thing that I realize [while] being with you,” said Viganò, “is the great desire to have a strong leadership in the Church that can unite all of us – from the different conferences of different continents of the world.”

“I can say that I found [in] those who come in particular from the Anglo-Saxon [world] – the United States, Australia, and Britain – a great desire to be witness of the truth that has been preached by the Church all along the centuries,” he added.

At the beginning of 2018, Archbishop Viganò joined three bishops of Kazakhstan in professing the “immutable truths about sacramental marriage,” taking issue with Pope Francis’ official interpretation of Amoris Laetitia to allow some “remarried” divorcees to receive Holy Communion.

In the profession, the Kazakhstan Bishops, including auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana who also spoke at the RLF, said that the Pope’s official interpretation was causing “rampant confusion,” will spread a “plague of divorce,” and is “alien” to the entire Catholic Tradition and faith.

In view of the “increasing confusion” spreading among clergy and laity alike, the bishops reasserted the Church’s perennial teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. They argued that admitting some “remarried” divorcees (who do not have an annulment and are not living in sexual continence) to the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion amounts to a “kind of introduction of divorce in the life of the Church.”

In 2016, when it was announced that Archbishop Viganò was being called back to Rome, George Weigel, respected Catholic author and senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, praised the retiring Apostolic Delegate to the U.S.

Weigel called Archbishop Viganò “a courageous Churchman who has served Catholicism, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in an exemplary way during his tenure in Washington.”

“He appreciated the many strengths of the Church in the United States, including the evangelically-centered reconstruction of the hierarchy by John Paul II and Benedict XVI,” said Weigel in his tribute to Viganò. “He understood where the vitality was in U.S. Catholicism, and he knew that this vitality had to do with the strength of faith in those living parts of the Church.”

Viganò “knew that ‘Catholic Lite’ wasn’t going to advance the New Evangelization,” continued Weigel, “and he quickly grasped that the great project of converting a wounded culture in America was being threatened by an unprecedented assault on the Church’s capacity to be itself. And he knew that the threat came, not from old-fashioned nativist bigots of Protestant persuasion, but from militant secularists allied with the federal government.”

“The archbishop understood that there was no honorable retreat from what some deplored as ‘culture wars,’” added Weigel. “He knew who had declared war on whom; that the Church had not been the aggressor in this struggle; and that the battle had to be engaged, with the tools of reason and persuasion, for the sake of all religious communities and, indeed, for the sake of American democracy.”

It was Archbishop Viganò who helped set up a meeting between Kim Davis – who was briefly jailed for refusing to affirm same-sex “marriage” – and Pope Francis during the pontiff's trip to America. The Vatican subsequently tried to downplay that meeting.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was ordained a priest on March 24, 1968. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1973 and worked at the papal diplomatic missions in Iraq and Great Britain. He was named Special Envoy and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in 1989, and Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria by Pope John Paul II in 1992. At the close of his mission to Nigeria, Viganò was assigned as an official of the Secretariat of State. He was named Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State from 2009-2011, until his appointment as Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. His brother, Lorenzo, is a Jesuit priest.

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Archbishop Leo Cushley
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Scottish Archbishop: Intentionally skipping Mass is ‘a grave sin’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

EDINBURGH, Scotland, June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Scottish bishop has reminded Catholics that it is a serious sin to skip Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation.

Archbishop Leo Cushley of the diocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh asserted the importance of weekly Mass attendance in a letter he wrote to be read in churches on the feast of Corpus Christi. The feast day, which honors the Body and Blood of Christ in the most Holy Eucharist, was celebrated in Scotland last Thursday. In many other countries, this feast day was transferred to the following Sunday.

Cushley released an accompanying video on Mass attendance as well.

“Attending Mass on Sunday is a solemn and binding obligation,” the archbishop wrote. “If we deliberately fail in this matter, it is a grave sin and we must go to confession before receiving communion again.”

Cushley observed that many people think of Sunday as “just part of the weekend” and a day for family or for sports.

“Naturally, it’s good to relax and make time for these things, but our culture has largely forgotten that Sunday is a weekly holiday because of its meaning as the Christian holy day,” he mourned.  

Cushley acknowledged that sometimes a Catholic just cannot get to Mass for no fault of his or her own, such as illness or caring for a sick child. However, fidelity to Christ calls for a firm intention to meet Him at Mass regularly.

“Coming to Mass only every other week, or occasionally, is not the same as being faithful to His New Covenant. Surely, we cannot treat Christ our Saviour as one option among others for us to shuffle at our convenience,” the archbishop said.

In his letter, the Scottish archbishop stressed the importance of Mass to a life of grace.  

“When we gather for Mass on Sunday it is a foretaste of heaven,” he wrote. “Because Jesus is truly present on our altar, all the angels and saints gather with us for the feast too (cf. Hebrews 12:22).”

“We are caught up together in adoration of the Lamb of God, who sacrificed Himself to take our sins away and draw us into his divine life through communion with his own Body and Blood,” Cushley continued.

Only the Mass makes us able to live holy lives and do good in the world, the archbishop asserted:

“It is only this great Sacrifice that enables us to live authentically holy lives. It is only this Blessed Sacrament of his Body and Blood that empowers us to do real and lasting good in the world. Jesus Himself said that it is only if we are joined to Him in the Eucharist that we can hope to be saved for eternal life (cf. John 6:53).”

Millions of Catholics around the world neglect their duty to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. In Scotland, only 19 percent of the nation’s approximately 750,000 baptized Catholics go to Sunday Mass. In Cushley’s archdiocese, about 25 percent of local Catholics attend.

Fortunately, there have been signs of renewal in the Scottish Catholic Church since the late Keith Cardinal O’Brien was forced to retire in 2013.

In 2017, 12 men in Scotland were ordained to the priesthood, representing the highest number of priestly vocations in 20 years.

This April, many Scots, including Scottish bishops, joined thousands of other Catholics around Great Britain for the Rosary on the Coast. There also have been other popular lay-led initiatives in Scotland, including processions and walking pilgrimages to ancient shrines. The traditional Latin Mass has flourished as crowds of curious youngsters have swelled the numbers of aging stalwarts.  

Last week the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh opened the Scottish Church’s first Pro-Life Office with Archbishop Cushley’s apostolic blessing. The new pro-life endeavour was the brainchild of the archbishop, one of the fruits of his reform of the curia he inherited from the late Cardinal O’Brien. 

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Live Action's Lila Rose with lawmakers at a June 7, 2018 press conference in Washington D.C. Live Action / Twitter
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56 lawmakers demand Planned Parenthood be investigated for covering-up child sex-abuse

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By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON DC, June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Members of Congress gathered outside the U.S. Capitol today to call attention to an important investigative report and video series exposing Planned Parenthood’s repeated failure to notify law enforcement of suspected human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and girls.

Planned Parenthood has a decades-long history of covering up crimes against minors which has gone largely ignored.  Live Action has released its report and video series seeking to blow the lid off Planned Parenthood’s unchecked, ongoing criminal behavior victimizing young girls who are already victims of sexual assaults. 

“Abuse cover-up is systemic to the abortion industry,” said Lila Rose, founder of Live Action which produced the investigative report and video series.

“What these abusers do––what sexual traffickers do––to their victims is take them or threaten to send them by force to an abortion facility, which can become a key place for that abuse to be covered up,” said Rose.  “And Planned Parenthood, instead of reporting the abuse as they’re mandated to do in virtually all fifty states by law––instead of reporting abuse, instead of being that person who can encounter a girl in a situation of extreme distress and be that moment of intervention for her––does a secret abortion, has a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell policy,’ and sends this vulnerable young girl back into the arms of sex abusers.”  

“Abortion is not family planning; It is family destruction,” said Rep. Diane Black (R-TN).  

“The lies that are coming from the Big Abortion Industry are just heartbreaking,” Black continued.  “Live Action’s findings show us that these same lies are used to willfully neglect reporting these horrific cases of abuse, rape, and sex trafficking.   

Sometimes these young teenage girls plead with Planned Parenthood staff to them help them escape their abusers, but their pleas go unheeded. 

“It’s come to light that Planned Parenthood performs abortions on girls as young as 12 years old, and then sends them right back into the arms of their abusers without alerting the authorities,” noted Black.  “It is shameful.” 

“Planned Parenthood’s failure to report these heinous crimes does not empower women or our children;  It empowers their abusers,” said the Congresswoman.  “The despicable cycle of these facilities, turning a blind eye to sexual abuse and exploitation of our children must end.”

“Planned Parenthood has shown gross negligence by returning these children to their abusers,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).  “I find Planned Parenthood’s complicity in sex trafficking absolutely appalling.” 

It seems that Planned Parenthood … has broken the law,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC).  “There should be a full investigation into whether or not Planned Parenthood willfully turned over child victims of abuse back to their abuser, and if necessary, criminal prosecution.”  

“Are these lives not important to Planned Parenthood?  Or is the greater abortion industry more important than protecting these young innocent lives?” wondered Walker.  

“We’re borrowing money from China to send to Planned Parenthood, how moral is that?” asked Iowa, Rep. Steve King (R).  “I don’t think any taxpayer dollars should go to any organization that either does abortions or counsels in favor of them.”  

“Planned Parenthood portrays itself as a champion of women’s rights, but Live Action’s investigation exposes the abortion giant’s systematic betrayal of vulnerable women and girls,” said former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave in advance of the gathering.  Musgrave now serves as Vice President of Government Affairs for Susan B. Anthony List.  

“Abortion is a gift to pimps, traffickers, and abusers,” continued Musgrave, “and Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion business, has helped them cover their tracks while raking in more than half a billion dollars from taxpayers every year. We can’t put a price on the lives and dignity of unborn children and their mothers. That’s why further action is needed to disentangle taxpayers from the scandal-ridden abortion business.”

Congress Sends Letter to HHS Demanding an Investigation into Planned Parenthood

As a result of Live Action’s reporting, fifty-six members of Congress today called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to begin an investigation into Planned Parenthood.  

The letter from Congress to HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II states in part:

The report’s findings suggest that abusers feel comfortable taking their victims to Planned Parenthood. We are therefore requesting an investigation into Title X recipients, particularly Planned Parenthood, to determine how widespread this failure is and if there are other instances where Planned Parenthood failed in its duty to report suspected child abuse to local authorities and to HHS.

“Members have requested that HHS turn over records regarding all incidents of Planned Parenthood’s Title X recipients’ failures to report suspected sexual abuse of minors in their care, records of the steps taken to bring recipients into compliance with reporting laws, and documentation of any disciplinary actions,” according to a statement about the letter released by Live Action.  

“Since 1999, federal regulations have made clear the expectation that organizations that receive federal Title X ‘family planning’ grants follow state laws mandating the reporting of suspected child sexual abuse and rape,” continued the statement.  “Planned Parenthood is the largest recipient of Title X funding, receiving about $60 million annually through the program. It is also the nation’s largest abortion provider. In 2015, 474 of nearly 650 Planned Parenthood facilities received Title X funding.”

The Videos Exposing Planned Parenthood

The first of Live Action’s investigative report videos 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. 

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.

Last year, a separate investigative report by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) exposed Planned Parenthood’s selling of aborted baby body parts.   

“Planned Parenthood has actively participated in illegal activity, selling the body parts of aborted babies in exchange for profit,” said Abby Johnson, a former abortion advocate and Planned Parenthood director who is now a pro-life activist.  “They’ve lied to the very women they purport to fight for. I saw it first-hand when I worked for the abortion giant and yet, they still manage to obtain over half a billion dollars a year in our tax dollars.”

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Public library invites children to watch drag queens ‘strut their stuff’ this summer

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By Claire Chretien

ST. PAUL, Minnesota, June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A major Minnesota public library is hosting three “drag queen story hours” for “all ages” this summer, featuring performers from an event company that specializes in “drag brunches.”

The taxpayer-funded St. Paul Public Library is putting on these events as part of its anti-Trump inclusivity campaign. It has defended its plans to show little children the hyper-sexualized crossdressers at some of its locations.

The event company the library is bringing in is the adult party company Flip Phone Events, which offers a number of drag services typically for those over 18 or 21.

The “story hours” during which men dressed as woman will read to the kids are scheduled for June 11, June 16, and July 11.

“Come meet some fabulous drag queens and kings at the library!” an ad for the June 11 reading says. “They will read stories, sing songs, and strut their stuff for an over-the-top story hour. All ages welcome.”

Flip Phone Events asked its twitter followers to help defend its kids’ event because it was “getting MEGA trolled” by concerned parents online.

A number of parents told Alpha News they find the events disturbing, but none would go on the record.

“In addition to Drag Story Hour, patrons can find a selection of staff-recommended materials on the library's website for Pride, including a fun primer on drag culture with recommended DVDs, books, and online resources,” the library said in a press release about the event. It recommends 21 “great LGBTQIA” books for kids six and under in what it calls its “Rainbow Collection.”

The St. Paul Public Library has used its twitter account to defend the upcoming “story hours.”

“Drag queen story hours” have taken off at liberal libraries in various parts of the country as a way to introduce children to transgenderism and the LGBT world.

 

 

It “gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models,” the group’s national website says. “In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.”

 

Ms B with some fans at yesterday's #dqsh at Elmhurst Library.

A post shared by dragqueenstoryhour (@dragqueenstoryhour) on

 

Related:

Satanic-looking drag queen reads to children at library named after Michelle Obama

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St. John Paul II’s totally Catholic response when gay ‘pride’ parade came to Rome 18 years ago

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By Lisa Bourne

June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The late Pope Saint John Paul II did not equivocate or placate over the implications of a sizable celebration of homosexuality conducted in Rome during the Catholic Church’s Jubilee Year of 2000 – saying it was an “offense” to Christian values and an insult that commanded acrimony.

''In the name of the Church of Rome I can only express my deep sadness at the affront to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and the offence to the Christian values of a city that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics throughout the world,'' he told pilgrims in a Sunday message one day after thousands had marched in a gay pride parade in Rome.

The pope reaffirmed Church teaching on homosexuality, quoting the Catechism, and said the Catholic Church could not be silent about the truth.

''Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law,'' John Paul II said in an address delivered from a balcony over St. Peter's Square July 9, 2000. 

''The Church cannot be silent about the truth, because she would fail in her fidelity to God the Creator and would not help to distinguish good from evil.''

A New York Post at the time portrayed John Paul II's criticism as “homophobia,” saying he was “angry” as he spoke out against the celebration of homosexuality. 

John Paul II’s response to the gay pride event in Rome and his precise articulation of Catholic sexual teaching highlights the dissimilarity between his governance and that of the Francis pontificate – the latter marked by confusion, ambiguity in teaching, and infamous remarks such as “Who am I to judge.”

The Rome parade was the main event for the international World Pride 2000, the Los Angeles Times reports, replete with “leather-clad motorcyclists,” “bare-breasted transsexuals,” and “drag queens in gaudy wigs.”

The Vatican had pushed to cancel the gay festival for months, according to the New York Times, but the July 10, 2000 address was the first time the pontiff personally spoke to the issue.

One day before his remarks in St. Peter’s Square on the day the gay pride parade was held, John Paul II had celebrated a special Jubilee Year Mass for inmates in Rome’s oldest prison, offering them his personal blessing and appealing for governments worldwide to reduce sentences for prisoners during the Holy Year.

Pope Boniface VIII established the “Holy Year” in the Church in 1,300. It is special a time when Catholics are called to conversion and is celebrated with sacred rites. 

John Paul II intended the Great Jubilee Year of 2000 as a time of repentance for individuals and for the Church as a whole, was a celebration of the mercy of God and forgiveness of sins. It had special significance for celebrating the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ and observing the beginning of the Third Millennium for the Church, and included simultaneous jubilee celebrations elsewhere in the world. 

The gay pride parade was Italy’s “first gay mega-gathering,” the LA Times said, topping the weeklong event that attracted gay activists from some 40 countries.

The report said there had been larger gay pride celebrations to date in the U.S. and northern European cities, “but this was one of the biggest in a mostly Catholic country,” and “it was the most highly politicized gay event anywhere in years, staged despite opposition from the Vatican …”

John Paul II clearly conveyed the Church’s perennial teaching on homosexuality to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square that day in 2000.

"This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity."

"Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided," the pope continued.

The Catholic Church differentiates between human beings and the sexual urges they experience and it does not identify individuals by sexual inclinations. It holds that while same-sex attraction is not a sin, homosexual acts are sinful.

The Church says that sexual relations are reserved for marriage, which is between a man and woman (CCC-2360).

Church teaching also states that homosexual tendencies are objectively disordered, and that individuals who experience them “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC-2358).

However the Church also teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and they “are intrinsically disordered," and further that “under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC-2357).

The Church states as well that, “homosexual persons are called to chastity” (CCC-2359), which is also what its teaching says about all people.

With the onset of pride month this year, observed annually by gay activists and their supporters in June, Providence, RI, Bishop Thomas Tobin cautioned Catholics about events celebrating gay pride month.

Pride events, most notably parades, have the repute for exceedingly vulgar dress and behavior, very often including public sex acts. Children are frequently present and exposed to the morally repugnant spectacles.

Bishop Tobin had tweeted, “Catholics should be very wary of events in the June LGBTQ month. It’s not a fun-filled, family-friendly celebration of respect. It promotes a lifestyle and agenda that, in the extreme, is morally offensive.”

Jesuit Father James Martin, editor-at-large for America magazine, a consultant to the Vatican for its communications, and an immense proponent of the normalization of homosexuality, tweeted the following day ostensibly in response that Catholics “need not be wary of pride month.”

“It’s a way for LGBT people to be proud that they are beloved children of God, they have families who love them as they are, and they have a right to be treated with "respect, compassion and sensitivity" after years of persecution,” Martin said.

Martin said in a subsequent tweet that, “Not every pride month event will be to everyone's taste, but the underlying point--LGBT people should be proud of who they are, after centuries of persecution and violence--is important,” and then continued to promote pride month.

Chaste same-sex attracted individuals and others reproved the idea that pride events do not have a focus on homosexual sex.

Daniel Mattson, a chaste same-sex-attracted Catholic and author of Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay, aptly shared the New York Post article from 2000 on JPII’s response to that year’s gay pride march in Rome on Twitter, and said, “If you see priests praising Gay Pride events, lets recall what St. John Paul II had to say about them.”

Update June 8: This report has been updated with a translation of John Paull II's comments provided by Vatican's website. 

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Priest questions celebrating wedding for abortion advocate, gets hit with smear campaign

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

COUNTY DOWN, Northern Ireland, June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic priest had his good name smeared in public after he indicated to a couple in Northern Ireland that the groom’s publicly expressed pro-abortion views might make the Church’s involvement in their wedding “inappropriate.”

Shaunagh Griffin, 36, and Kevin McAteer, 32, of Newry hope to marry almost two years from now, on May 22, 2020. 

For over a week they have kept media updated on their thoughts following a private message they received from the priest they had asked to celebrate their wedding. 

After reading pro-abortion sentiments McAteer, an ex-Councillor for Newry, published on his Facebook page, Father Damien Quigley wrote to the couple saying: 

“Just a heads up, that as the priest you’ve asked to celebrate your wedding for you, you and I would need to have a conversation about any promotion you may do to advocate for abortion in Ireland.”

“Such promotion or advocacy would impact on the appropriateness of me celebrating your wedding or possibly the wedding taking place in a Catholic Church.”

“I’m sure we could have a good chat over a coffee sometime.”

Unfortunately, the coffee was never poured. Instead, the private message was read on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show last Tuesday.  

According to Catholic Canon Law, a priest cannot officiate at the marriage of a Catholic who has “notoriously [i.e. publicly] rejected the Catholic faith” without permission of his local ordinary, e.g. the local bishop. 

Both abortion and cooperating with abortion in any way are grave sins according to Catholic teaching. Until Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy, in many dioceses only a bishop could grant absolution for abortion. Now ordinary priests have authority to grant absolution for abortion-related sins. Performing, permitting or advocating for an abortion remain serious sins, and a Catholic who wishes to receive the Eucharist must first go to confession to express his or her sincere contrition. 

In response to media queries, Fr. Quigley said in a statement that he had never refused to prepare anyone for marriage and that it would be inappropriate for him to discuss the matter further:

“From the outset, I wish to advise you that it would not be appropriate for me to discuss details of my pastoral support to any specific individual or couple in their preparation for the sacrament of marriage,” he wrote. “However, please be advised that I have never refused to prepare any person or couple for the sacrament.”  

When the story first broke last week, the couple preferred to remain anonymous. However, on Sunday they went public with their names, and the Belfast Telegraph duly published them. 

McAteer has now written both to Archbishop Eamon Martin, who is the Primate of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and to the Republic’s pro-abortion Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to complain about the priest. 

McAteer described himself as a practicing Catholic.

 "I go to Mass regularly, I say my prayers, I made my First Holy Communion and confirmation and I want my children to be able to do that too. But last Sunday Fr Quigley made his position clear," he told the Belfast Telegraph. 

However, it appears that the priest’s wish to discuss with McAteer his pro-abortion advocacy is causing the groom-to-be to lose his religion.  

"My religion is important to me - my family is Catholic. My partner is Catholic. I want to be married in a Catholic Church," McAteer said "This situation is starting to make me rethink my religion. The Catholic Church's stance on social issues like this is pushing young people away from it." 

As a Councillor for Newry, McAteer also introduced a motion to bring same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland. This too is a rejection of the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding marriage and reproduction. 

McAteer told the Belfast Telegraph that “everything else” besides finding a priest to say the marriage ceremony had been arranged.

"We're looking for another priest to perform our marriage ceremony. The wedding is in limbo until we find a priest,” he said. “We've already arranged everything else."

LifeSiteNews contacted both the Archdiocese of Armagh and Fr. Quigley but had not received replies by press time. 

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Staunchly pro-life British territory rejects calls for legalizing abortion

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June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Gibraltar's political leaders have rejected calls to liberalize abortion.

Speaking to The Gibraltar Olive Press, a Government spokesman said: "We have already dealt with progressive issues like civil partnerships and equal marriage… The Cabinet has not considered changing this [abortion] policy."

In the British territory, abortion remains a crime under Section 162 of the 2011 Crimes Act of Gibraltar and carries with it the sentence of life imprisonment. That said no woman has been sentenced under this provision.

Reacting to this, pro-abortion campaigners for Pro Choice Gibraltar told The Gibraltar Olive Press how frustrated they were at the lack of change on the Rock, especially given what had happened in Ireland. One of those campaigning for abortion to be legalized said: "It's a human right. We cannot be the last progressive nation in Europe to have this restriction on women".

The statement from Gibraltar's Government comes after pressure from pro-abortionists there for legislative change in the light of Ireland's recent referendum.

In March 2018, the Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper reported that the territory's Equality Rights Group (ERG) was considering taking legal action to press for change to the laws on abortion in Gibraltar. Following the Irish referendum vote, on 29 May 2018, the ERG announced to the press a "pro-choice campaign". In a statement ERG Chairman, Felix Alvarez, told the press: "The Equality Rights Group is not going to sit back and accept that Gibraltar should continue having one of the most negative laws in Europe on the issue of women's reproductive rights…. Consequently, ERG, along with a number of non-politically partisan women and men coming forward from both the community of Gibraltar and international activists, organisations and bodies, will now proactively engage in bringing this issue for resolution before Government who, no doubt, will need to undertake the necessary steps to amend the out-dated provisions of the Crimes Act 2011.In the twenty-first century, women must be unequivocally free to decide for themselves without imposition." He went on to add how the ERG would now "be stepping up and rolling out action and pressure on legislators in a planned and effective fashion". 

As reported by the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation, reacting to these moves to legalise abortion in the territory, the Pro-Life Movement says it will work and campaign to keep Gibraltar a "beacon of hope and justice" amidst what it calls the "industrialised destruction of children". The Pro- Life Movement is a new local initiative not associated with any religion but an independent voice advocating "pragmatic and positive alternative solutions to abortion". In a statement, the group called for a holistic review of Gibraltar's education and health care systems to better understand the needs of women and their children.

With a population of just over 32,000, Gibraltar is an Overseas British Territory located at the southern tip of neighbouring Spain. Under the 2006 Constitution, Gibraltar is self-governing with defence and external relations dealt with separately by the United Kingdom. Although not part of the United Kingdom, Gibraltar has a special relationship with the European Union, which is different from any other overseas territory of a member state. Under the Treaty of Rome 1973 and the UK Act of Accession of the same year, upon the UK's joining the EU Gibraltar was classified as a dependent territory of the UK with the British Government responsible for Gibraltar's relationships within the EU.

Gibraltar is overwhelmingly Catholic. According to the 2012 census, approximately 72.1% of Gibraltarians identify as Catholic.

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Alberta’s new conservative party to host pro-LGBT pancake breakfast, Jason Kenney to attend

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By Lianne Laurence

EDMONTON, June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Alberta United Conservative Party (UCP) leader Jason Kenney says he’ll be going to the pancake breakfast his party is holding to coincide with Edmonton’s Pride Parade on Saturday.

The UCP planned the event after Edmonton Pride Festival officials turned down its application last month to march in the Pride parade.

“We will be hosting a breakfast that morning for members of the United Conservative Party who want to celebrate Pride,” Kenney told reporters at the Alberta legislature Monday, according to the CBC.

“I look forward to being there along with some of our MLAs. So we’ll be doing our best to support the broader community while respecting the decision of the organizers.”

Kenney says he won’t be a spectator at the parade, the CBC reported.

“My mom told me not to show up at a party I’m not invited to,” he said. 

The Edmonton Pride Festival announced in a May 3 press release that the UCP didn’t meet the criteria that measures if parade marchers are “connected, engaged and welcoming of the LGBTQ2S+ community.” 

That includes having policies, values and plans to support the inclusion of all the LGBTQ2S+ community.

The UCP application was “sparse” in content and didn’t include any actions or details as to how it would support inclusion of homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, and two-spirited persons in the community.

The UCP posted its application on Twitter.

“As our Leader has repeatedly stated, ‘In our Party,  it doesn’t matter what God you worship or who you love, you are welcome’,” it stated.

“It is important that Albertans understand that the United Conservative Party, as the official Opposition, is an inclusive and welcoming organization,” stated the application. 

“Beyond that, it is important to us to be a part of this vibrant and joyful celebration of Edmonton's LGBTQ2S+ community and to clearly demonstrate our support.”

However, critics point out that the Pride Parades often feature semi-nude or nude participants who engage in such lewd antics as simulated sex acts.

Moreover, what Pride Parades celebrate is the adoption and acting out of behaviors contrary to the sexual morality of the world’s major religions. 

Rhode Island’s Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin recently told his diocese that Catholics should be “very wary” of participating in celebrations of homosexuality. 

“Catholics should be very wary of events in the June LGBTQ month,” Bishop Tobin tweeted Monday. “It’s not a fun-filled, family-friendly celebration of respect. It promotes a lifestyle and agenda that, in the extreme, is morally offensive.” 

Kenney was supported by Campaign Life in his UCP leadership bid, and is a known social conservative and practising Catholic, who voted against legalizing same-sex “marriage” as a federal Conservative MP in 2005, and has avoided Pride Parades.

In lieu of expressing his disappointment at Kenney’s now signalling support for such events, Jeff Gunnarson, Vice-President of Campaign Life Coalition pointed to a June 6th article by Catholic theologian George Weigel.

Writing in the Catholic World Report, Weigel decried the attempts of prominent Catholic leaders to appease or fit in with the culture.

“But how does pandering to the glitterati evangelize?” wrote Weigel.

“Doesn’t this pathetic grasping for approval – from people whose lives manifest their disdain for the Catholic idea of the sacred and the Church’s teaching about the dignity of the human person – signal that, hey, we’re not really serious about the stuff you cultural elites find objectionable?”

Kenney was recently at odds with his party’s grassroots over LGBTQ issue.

At the UCP’s first policy convention in May, 57 percent of the delegates voted for a motion requiring teachers tell parents when their child joins an after-school club, notably gay-straight alliances.

Kenney swiftly announced he would not implement the policy as part of the UCP election platform.

“Let me be absolutely stone-cold clear: a United Conservative government will not be changing law or policy to require notification of parents when kids join GSAs. We will not do that. You can take that to the bank,” he said.

While campaigning for leadership of the UCP, Kenney said he believed parents should be told their child is in a GSA unless doing so would put the child at risk, and that teachers should have discretion to determine when this is the case. 

In November, Alberta’s NDP passed Bill 24, which prohibits schools from telling parents their child has joined a GSA without the child’s explicit consent. The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms launched a court challenge against the bill in April.

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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

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Legal battle ‘brewing’ over adoption agencies being forced to give kids to gay couples

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By Claire Chretien

June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – For now, Christian bakers have received a reprieve from being forced to participate in same-sex “weddings,” but it remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court will force religious adoption agencies to place children with gay couples.

Nine states have laws protecting the rights of religious adoption agencies, the New York Times reports, but a legal fight is “already brewing” in some of those states. Nine other states “have laws that specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in adoption or foster care or both.”

“Legal challenges to those laws, some pending in lower courts, eventually could come to the Supreme Court,” the Times predicted. “The high court's ruling on narrow grounds in favor of baker Jack Phillips did not spell out the circumstances under which religious objections to discrimination claims would have legal merit.”

Some of the laws protecting religious adoption agencies from being forced to let same-sex couples adopt kids were passed after the Supreme Court imposed its redefinition of marriage onto the country. For example, the governor of South Dakota signed one in 2017, as did the governor of Alabama. Kansas and Oklahoma passed pro-conscience laws this year.

Catholic Charities in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. have already been forced to end adoption programs because of same-sex “marriage.” The city of Philadelphia recently cut ties with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services (CSS) because the archdiocese won’t give foster kids to same-sex couples.

Pro-LGBT law firm Lambda Legal called the Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop this week a “deeply disappointing day in American jurisprudence.”

“We will fiercely resist the coming effort that will seek to turn this ruling into a broad license to discriminate,” Lambda Legal CEO Rachel B. Tiven said. The left has tried to suggest freedom of conscience for bakers, florists, and other professionals is a “license to discriminate.”

“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Jack’s case makes it clear that hostility towards religious beliefs – like what the State of Colorado did to Jack – is unconstitutional,” President and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom Michael Farris wrote to supporters in an email today. “However, the decision left many crucial questions on the table, such as whether the government can compel someone...to create floral art that celebrates same-sex marriage.”

Also left unanswered is whether the government can compel faith-based adoption agencies to place children in homes where they are denied their fundamental right to a mother and father.

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Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

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Disney hired convicted child molester to work on 2006 kids show: report

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By Doug Mainwaring

HOLLYWOOD, June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Disney is facing backlash after news resurfaced of it hiring in 2006 a man to work on a children's series who was convicted of sexual crimes against children two years previously. 

Brian Peck was found guilty in 2004 of lewd acts against a child as well as oral copulation with a child. The child was reportedly a Nickelodeon star. While Peck pleaded "no contest" to these two charges, his original charges also included sodomy and attempted sodomy with a child, using a child for sex acts, and sexual penetration by foreign object with a child, reported An Open Secret.

Peck was hired by Disney, owned by ABC, to work on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody just one year after he was released from prison.

Before his conviction, Peck worked on Boy Meets World, All That, The Amanda Show, and other kids’ shows, according to his IMDB resume.

Disney's hiring of a convicted child sex abuser was used by various media outlets to highlight ABC/Disney’s hypocrisy in swiftly canceling the TV show Roseanne after star Roseanne Barr’s infamous – now deleted – racist tweet.

The news comes one month after Reliance Entertainment's Show Dogs was pulled from theaters after parents complained it groomed children for sexual abuse. 

An Open Secret, which highlighted the news on Peck's hire by Disney, is the title of a 2014 documentary that investigated the reputed rampant sexual abuse of minors in the film and television industry. Through its Twitter account, the film’s producers continue to uncover the entertainment industry’s darkest secret.

According to An Open Secret’s tweet, “documents show Peck was originally charged with 11 counts including: lewd act upon a child; sodomy of a person under 16; attempted sodomy of a person under 16; sexual penetration by a foreign object; four counts of oral copulation of a person under 16; oral copulation by anestesia or controlled substance; sending harmful matter; and using a minor [for] sex acts.”

“In the end,” continues the tweet, Peck “pleaded ‘no contest’ to two counts – lewd act against a child and oral copulation – and the court found him guilty of both. The remaining counts were dismissed.”

While the Disney brand is ostensibly built on child and family-oriented programming, parents and pro-family organizations have expressed outrage over the brand's promotion of the LGBT agenda as well as other politically correct viewpoints.

An Open Secret criticized the industry for being silent on "rampant pedophilia" in Hollywood.

“The silence on the rampant pedophilia in Hollywood is totally immoral & akin to murder given the number of suicides and accidental overdoses attributed to sexual abuse & mental manipulation in an industry that protects active abusers,” noted An Open Secret in a subsequent tweet.  

Peck is not the only registered sex-offender who has been convicted of child sex abuse crimes and then hired by ABC/Disney after their conviction, According to Celebrity Insider.

The report states:

In 1988, the child actor from the movie Clownhouse Nathan Forrest Winters told his mother at the end of filming that the director Victor Salva had been molesting him for approximately five years. Salva was found guilty on five of the 11 original counts after he confessed to the sexual abuse and video recordings of him abusing Nathan Winters were found in his home.

Police also found videotapes and magazines featuring child pornography as well.

Though Clownhouse was a low budget movie backed by Francis Ford Coppola, Salva went on to enjoy a thriving, lucrative career that was continually backed and supported by Coppola.

Victor Salva is behind the three Jeepers Creepers films.

Former child star Corey Feldman has been sounding the alarm for years, trying to raise the awareness of both the public and law enforcement authorities to Hollywood’s unfettered sexual abuse of young actors.  

Feldman has spoken out about how powerful men in the entertainment industry preyed on him as a child. He also speaks of his longtime friend and co-star Corey Haim, who died in 2010 at age 38. Haim was 11 when he was raped by a man on a movie set.

Despite Hollywood’s trumpeting of its dedication to politically correct, left-wing causes, it continues to praise films such as Call Me By Your Name which romanticize and celebrate pederasty with apparently no self-awareness of its own self-indicting hypocrisy.

In a tangentially-related development, at least one Disney World employee was among eleven men arrested in an Orlando, Florida area child porn sting operation on Monday. The men face a combined total of 660 felony charges.  

According to a local news report, law enforcement found depictions of child pornography in the now-former Disney employee’s possession involving children as young as three.

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Photograph of 26-week-old baby in womb. Lennart Nilsson
Anthony McCarthy

Opinion,

Ethicist destroys pro-abortion argument that preborn ‘fetus’ isn’t a person

Anthony McCarthy
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Editor's note: London-based ethicist Dr. Anthony McCarthy is the editor of the newly released book Abortion Matters. The book provides clear, convincing answers to the most fundamental questions relating to abortion, not least: why abortion is always wrong. 

June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Brendan O’Neill, in his article The Moral Infantilism of the Pro-Life Lobby, tells us that pro-lifers “never say fetus.” 

This is not true: many pro-life authors are by no means averse to using the term, even if it happily coexists with ‘baby.’  Just a cursory look at recent pro-life literature, from Helen Watt’s The Ethics of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Abortion, to Christopher Kaczor’s The Ethics of Abortion, to my own Abortion Matters, to Alexander Pruss’s article “I Was Once A Fetus: That Is Why Abortion Is Wrong,” will uncover hundreds of references to the unborn as fetuses. And that’s before we get to grass-roots campaigners with ‘Former Fetus’ T-shirts.

So the problem for pro-lifers isn’t really with the term fetus - though it can’t be doubted that the word is somewhat clinical and hence the term of choice for many on the pro-choice side to avoid ‘humanising’ terms such as ‘baby’ or ‘unborn child.’ As so often, Latin trumps Anglo-Saxon for those wishing to glide over some embarrassingly vivid part of the human landscape. 

Reality is hard to ignore though, and pro-choicers in the lead-up to the Irish referendum were often quite prepared to use the terms ‘unborn child’ and ‘baby’ –  especially when referring to late-term disabled fetuses aborted in Britain and brought back to Ireland for burial or cremation (obscenely, abortion providers sometimes offer parents  footprints and handprints of what are agreed to be ‘babies’ - whose lives, however, have been first destroyed). 

The question whether I was indeed a fetus is one any thoughtful person will want to consider when reflecting on abortion. Am I the same living being as the fetus, and if so, did I always have my current moral right not to be deliberately killed?  All of the following is undeniable:  At the moment of my conception a sperm from my father fertilised an ovum of my mother. Although containing DNA from both my mother and my father, the new living being was genetically distinct and not a part of either parent, still less a part of both.  Nor did I behave like a part of either parent, but rather behaved like what I was: an entirely new living entity whose functioning was directed toward my own welfare and survival, interacting harmoniously with the support my mother provided until I was old enough to be born. If we watch the development of that living being, gradually forming into a fetus, neonate, toddler, adolescent and adult, we see a continuous development. There are no sudden breaks. 

In the words of Alexander Pruss, “If an organism that once existed has never died, then this organism still exists.” Given that the bodily being from conception did not disappear or die, and all of me came from that being, we can only conclude that the bodily being simply is me and always was. That being did not die, nor did I replace it (him) at any point.  

Now it seems that the only serious way to object to this argument is to say that I and my living body are two separate things – so the fetus who grew up to be my living body was not me, because my living body is not what I am. But this is plainly absurd. I am not a mere disembodied spirit. I am sitting here, right now, tapping at my laptop as an embodied human being. When I last made love it was not ‘my body’ which made love while my ‘real self’ stayed in the background. My body is not mere property I own. If you talk to me, smile at me or hit me, it is me you connect with, not a separate human body.

So there is the metaphysical argument:  one that directly addresses what, or rather who, the fetus is. O’Neill does not address this kind of argument at all, nor does he address the problems with seeing moral ‘personhood’ as something acquired and not innate to the human individual.   

Here is the eminent philosopher (and pro-choicer) the late Bernard Williams on the subject of personhood: 

… if the foetus is not yet a person, then neither is the newborn baby; nor again, if the requirements of personhood are made sophisticated enough, will small children be persons. What is more, the senile, and other adults in defective condition, will be, on this sort of showing, ex-persons or sub-persons … if failure to qualify in the person stakes is enough, as this argument would have it, to eliminate restrictions on killing the foetus, it is presumably enough to remove restrictions on killing those other non-persons as well, and the results of taking this line are wide-ranging indeed. There is a deep fault with the notion of a person, as used in these connections. It sounds like an all-or-nothing matter whether a given creature displays, to some extent – it seems, an arbitrary extent – some psychological and social characteristics which lie on a sliding scale.

So, if we are going to talk about slippery terms, the term ‘personhood’ which O’Neill uses is indeed a “tactic of moral avoidance”.  Unlike some who use the term, O’Neill does take it as just obvious that infanticide, at any rate, is wrong. The reason being that, as he tells us, 

a child can be protected and looked after without interfering with a woman’s personal or moral autonomy, where a fetus cannot. There is nothing that can be done to a fetus that doesn’t involve interfering with the personhood of the woman…a fetus cannot exist independent of its mother’s biology…

But what of a woman living alone in a remote area who does not want her baby, but has no-one to give her baby to?  Why can’t she commit infanticide, if she can’t immediately give the baby away?  Her ‘autonomy’ and ‘personhood’ (in O’Neill’s atomistic conception of these) is surely hugely compromised in such circumstances, where she will need to use her body to feed and change and otherwise care for her child, given that no-one else can do this if she does not. 

After all, the justification for abortion is often understood (although perhaps not by O’Neill) as a desire not to be a parent, not merely the desire not to be pregnant.  In the future, if a woman doesn’t want her fetus, could she perhaps have it removed and placed in an artificial womb? Imagine an artificial womb that could take care of the fetus well before the current point of viability. Presumably now that the fetus is alive and outside of the womb of the woman, and does not depend on her in any other physical sense, she could not claim at this point that her ‘personhood’ was being interfered with in the way O’Neill seems to mean (i.e. physically).

So would O’Neill protect fetuses in artificial wombs from their mother’s (or for that matter, their father’s) choice to destroy them in order to avoid the burdens of parenthood?  Perhaps denying the mother the choice to destroy the fetus outside her body would also be unreasonable in O’Neill’s eyes, since this would mean that “fetal life is more important than a woman’s autonomy”. 

In that case, we would be entitled to kill the fetus in an artificial womb perhaps even at 9 months to avoid the burdens of parenthood and to do this precisely because we don’t want our offspring making demands on us, or being brought up by someone else.  Prohibiting the killing of fetuses in artificial wombs would perhaps also ‘enslave’ the woman in O’Neill’s view (though given O’Neill’s praise of the late Hugh Hefner, a man who literally imprisoned and enslaved women, it’s a little hard to take seriously O’Neill’s stress on women’s autonomy.)

We learn, in conclusion, that “Choice is the foundation stone of the moral life. To be forced to do something against your will...is not to be a moral being.” Perhaps O’Neill hasn’t realized that we do have laws which compel us not do certain things, including deliberately killing the innocent which abortion so clearly does. We even have laws that require us to do certain things, such as support our own dependent children.  Such laws have, generally, been regarded as morally necessary, as opposed to arbitrary and somehow opposed to reason. 

Indeed, such laws help us to realize that we are not animals, that we are human beings capable of great evil and injustice, and that morality is about making choices which respect the flourishing of all human beings and not just of some. O’Neill sees only “enforced imitation” in such laws, but such laws in fact reflect the moral and metaphysical reality of the human being and his or her inherent dignity.

Many people won’t see that reality for a number of reasons, not least the moral choices they themselves may have made and which may have helped (though not of course irreversibly) to form their character and opinions.  The moral law will appear to be nothing but oppressive to those who presume to make their own choices the ground of moral value. Yet to talk of the act of exercising moral choice, while praising mere choice as morally valuable, is not to talk about morality at all, any more than pointing at a compass needle without a compass is to engage in orienteering.

In reflecting on the Irish vote I suggested that sentimentality had played its part. By sentimentality, I mean that luxuriating in feelings which does not result in any serious positive engagement with the situation. The constant stories put out by the media of Irish women travelling to Britain for abortions were certainly designed to tug at the heartstrings. But where did the feelings generated go? Did they go towards helping women to have their babies – in a way O’Neill disparages but which some women in crisis gratefully accept?  Did they lead people to glimpse and accept reality as a whole, and desire to accompany their feeling with thought and vitality?  Or did they just lead them to a kneejerk reaction against abortion prohibition, while they refused to address what is actually at stake in pregnancy and what the choice of abortion amounts to?   

Had the Irish Yes voters got over their sentimentality (and its flip side, cynicism), they might have understood that whatever the “lines” (in fact smooth gradations) between stages of human life, that life is in every sense the life of a human being. Once we realize that, we get a better sense of what kind of life should go with that recognition. The kind of life two-thirds of Irish voters seek to bury along with the fetuses their vote has just condemned.  

Dr. Anthony McCarthy is an ethicist based in London at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, and a visiting scholar at the International Theological Institute in Trumau, Austria.  He is the editor of Abortion Matters and of Ethical Sex.

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K.V. Turley

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Pro-lifers in N. Ireland can rejoice…for now, but must prepare for abortion fight

K.V. Turley
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June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United Kingdom's Supreme Court has dismissed the Northern Ireland abortion case that sought to overturn the Province's current abortion laws. In so doing, however, Supreme Court judges have been openly critical about the existing laws on abortion in that part of the UK – adding weight to the current campaign being waged by some to bring abortion to Northern Ireland.

The case was brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC). It had failed at the Court of Appeal in June 2017 to convince judges that victims of sexual assault and women with unborn children who had fatal foetal abnormalities are discriminated against on account of the lack of abortion provision in Northern Ireland, where abortion remains illegal in almost all circumstances. It was the first time an organization as opposed to an individual had been given leave to take a case to the UK's Supreme Court. The court began hearing the case in October 2017.

On 7 June 2018, Supreme Court judges delivered their judgment. By a majority of four judges to three the court found it had no jurisdiction to consider the latest legal challenge to Northern Ireland's abortion laws on the grounds that there was no victim – actual or potential – of an unlawful act involved in the case.

So, a pro-life victory? Not quite.

The case may have involved "no one" but the organization that brought it had a point to prove. The NIHRC was keen to demonstrate that the abortion laws in Northern Ireland are incompatible with various international conventions on human rights. On this point, those who brought the case have won a victory.

Now, on public record, they have some of the most senior judges in the UK openly criticizing the current legislative framework for abortion in Northern Ireland. Not only that, but, to the glee of pro-abortionists, the same judges have quoted a number of international conventions, which, in their opinion, are being breached by the ongoing arrangements. In addition, a majority of judges have gone on to state that in their opinion Ulster's abortion laws were incompatible with the right to private and family life as guaranteed by the Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The judges, however, did make it clear that the case they were hearing had been dismissed. In other words, it failed. The abortion laws in Northern Ireland have not been overturned or ruled illegal by the UK's Supreme Court. That is not what the UK media is reporting, however, nor is it what the various pro-abortion groups and their political allies are focusing on. In making their judgment, the Supreme Court judges have made comments about matters not strictly before the court, albeit matters germane to the arguments that they had been listening to for the last months.

So although the court's decision is not a declaration of incompatibility – because the case has technically been dismissed – the comments from judges around that judgment have been seized upon by pro-abortion groups as yet more fuel for their never-ending campaign to scrap the current legal framework around abortion in Northern Ireland.

The judgment also comes at a time when, after the Emergency Debate in the House of Commons on 5 June, there is intense political and media attention on Northern Ireland's pro-life politicians and the community they represent. Many of the former spoke forthrightly in defense of the rights of the unborn during the 5 June debate. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Democratic Unionist Member for Lagan Valley, said: "My party has been from its very inception a pro-life party. We believe that law and policy in Northern Ireland should affirm and uphold the rights of both mothers and unborn children." He went on to explain that his party's position was by no means isolated: "In upholding that [pro-life] stance, politicians across the political divide and religious spectrum in Northern Ireland have, and continue to hold, a similar view to the DUP. This includes both unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland, and people of all faiths and none".

Fellow DUP MP for East Antrim, Sammy Wilson, had this to say when the subject of the United Nations Charter was brought up: "We have heard much about the United Nations committee's view on what is happening to women in Northern Ireland. If we want to look at what the United Nations says, the UN charter talks about the protection of the rights of the child, including the unborn child. It indicates that those rights are of equal importance". He went on to state boldly: "This is why I am not embarrassed about the laws that we have, and why I do not believe that we have turned the clock back: as a result of not introducing the legislation that exists in the rest of the United Kingdom, thereby reflecting the views of the people of Northern Ireland, and of making both lives matter—that of the child and that of the parent—100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland today who would otherwise have been killed before they were even born."

Such Parliamentarians are not fearful of the fight presently or in the future, but what is becoming clear is that the UK's pro-life MPs, especially those from Northern Ireland, are outnumbered, with few friends in the media, and now today with the words of the Supreme Court judges giving yet more succor to their opponents in Parliament and beyond.

Ulster says "no" to abortion – for now.

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Michael Hichborn Michael Hichborn Follow Michael

Opinion,

The day I was trapped in an airplane that showed graphic sex-scenes for ‘entertainment’

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By Michael Hichborn

June 7, 2018 (Lepanto Institute) – This past May, I traveled to Rome to participate in the Rome Life Forum, the John Pail II Academy for Human Life and the Family, and the Rome March for Life.  While I was there, I made a pilgrimage to Norcia to visit the birthplace of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica.  It was a fantastic trip, and a good opportunity to pray for the intentions of our readers and supporters while continuing to fight against the encroaching Culture of Death.

Unfortunately, my flight to and from Rome was terribly marred by the decision of Aer Lingus to include pornographic "entertainment" on the seat-back video screens.  Two programs readily available to all passengers on the flight included nudity and graphic sex-scenes that were visible to anyone and everyone (including young children) sitting in the rows behind those viewing them.  The two programs were "Game of Thrones" and "The Handmaid's Tale."

Having never watched either of these programs, I didn't really understand why lengthy scenes of nudity, sexual intercourse, and graphic rape were popping up on screens all around me.  And truth be told, I'm not sure what shocked me more ... that these scenes were being played on screens easily viewable by young children, or that the viewers (mostly women) didn't seem to be ashamed by the graphic nature of the scenes played before their eyes in a public space.

When I got home from my trip, I contacted Aer Lingus's Press Office to complain about the shows and let them know that I planned on writing an article about my experience.  Here is what I wrote:

To whom it may concern,
I am a journalist for a number of pro-life, pro-family websites, and I just finished a 6.5 hour flight from Dublin to NYC and I am very upset about the pornographic material being played on the entertainment screens during the flight. The material to which I am referring is the series, "The Handmaiden's Tale."

I had never heard of this series until flying on Aer Lingus, and because of the number of people watching this show around me during the flight, it was impossible for me to completely shield my eyes from the graphic and lengthy sex scenes that clearly ran rampant through each episode of that show. The scenes were so graphic and so prolific it was a near constant bombardment on my eyes anytime I glanced up from my seat.

I am very upset about this, not only for my own desire to keep my eyes away from such filth, but because any children on the flight could very easily have seen those scenes as well.

I have also made note that the extremely sexually graphic series, Game of Thrones is readily available as well.

Before I write an article complaining about the graphic nudity and sexual content of the entertainment provided by Aer Lingus, I would like to give Aer Lingus an opportunity to provide a statement about its content selection guidelines, it's consideration for young audiences, and justification for providing graphic nudity and sexual content in its programs.

Sincerely,
Michael Hichborn

Since that email, I did a little research on what The Handmaid's Tale was all about.  Apparently, the series is based on a book originally published in 1985.  In an article by LifeSiteNews last year on The Handmaid's Tale, Claire Chretien described it this way:

The Handmaid's Tale takes place in a post-modern, fundamentalist America called Gilead. Men run the deeply misogynist society, which is plagued by a fertility problem.

Think The Scarlet Letter meets Brave New World meets 1984 meets a little bit of North Korea.

Infertile women are either wives of powerful men or their servants. Fertile women are "handmaids," forced to undergo ritualized rape in the hopes that they will bear children for the ruling class. When they do, the father and the wife take the child from them. The handmaids are then assigned to live with another couple and do the same thing all over again, producing children who are biologically theirs for the privileged, infertile women and their husbands.

To say that Gilead "misinterprets" the Bible or just takes Christianity too far would be more than an understatement. Rape, adultery, surrogacy, and the subversion of parental rights are deeply embedded in Gilead's society.

Chretien pointed out in her article that The Handmaid's Tale was becoming "iconic in the feminist world and has inspired advocacy against the pro-life movement. Pro-abortion rhetoric suggests opposition to abortion means one wants the world to be like the dystopia in The Handmaid's Tale, where women are brutally abused, the totalitarian government cuts off hands, arms, fingers, eyes, and regularly hangs people."

The point is, it is absolutely unconscionable to air such filth in a contained space where its imagery cannot be escaped.

Five days after my email to Aer Lingus' Press Office, I received the following response:

Hi Michael,

Thank you for sharing your feedback on Aer Lingus' infight entertainment.

We offer complimentary inflight entertainment on board all our transatlantic flights in the form of a Video On Demand service. All guests are in charge of their own personal screen and choose the content they wish to watch. The content on offer comprises a very broad selection – everything from the latest blockbuster movies to TV box sets, games, music and a dedicated 'Kidszone' for all our younger travellers.

Content is selected very carefully and tailored based on current trends and popularity from a terrestrial perspective. We carry out regular surveys among our guests to ensure we are showing content we know they want to see. Recognising our rich Irish talent we also offer a strong selection of short films and documentaries that were filmed and produced here in Ireland.

We rate our content accordingly so guests are aware of its suitability and this is visible in our CARA magazine as well as on the screen itself. To protect children against any unsuitable content we have a parental lock feature on the system where parents / adults can automatically make any content unavailable should they wish. There is also ample kids content ready in our 'Kidzone' which includes a number of kids movies and TV shows.

Our content offering is in keeping with other European and North American airlines' inflight entertainment offering.

Regards,
Paula
Paula Donaghy, Head of Consumer PR

The response is woefully inadequate.

  1. While guests may be in charge of their own personal screens, Aer Lingus is in charge of what content they provide.  Programs that depict graphic sexuality and rape simply aren't suitable viewing for anyone.
  2. Selecting content based upon popularity and trends without any guidelines on suitability is irresponsible.
  3. Merely rating the content of the programs and providing parental lock features does nothing to protect other guests (especially children) from the extremely offensive material being broadcast on multiple other screens.
  4. Just because other airlines are doing it, it doesn't mean you have to.

As I was preparing this article for publication, I took a final look at Aer Lingus' currently listed entertainment content and am happy to note that neither Game of Thrones nor The Handmaid's Tale are on the list.  While there's no accounting for any of the other selections made available by Aer Lingus, it's nice to think that perhaps the fact that these highly offensive programs are no longer listed is an indication that Aer Lingus got the message and acted accordingly.

Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.

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U.S. Supreme Court ruling against Masterpiece Cakes would’ve signaled end of religious liberty

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By Jonathon van Maren

June 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The reactions to Monday’s Supreme Court decision for Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshops have been coming fast and furious from both sides of the political spectrum. The consensus developing on the Right seems to be suspicious celebration—the Court, after all, did not protect all religious liberty, but specifically ruled that this particular Colorado baker had been the victim of anti-religious discrimination. Thus, the precedent did not go nearly as far as most of us had hoped, and LGBT activists are surely gearing up to fight another day. Perhaps an elderly florist will make a better target.

That being said, I do think that those who are determined to find a black cloud on every silver lining are also underestimating the significance of this ruling. For starters, it must be noted that Christians needed to win this one. The ruling might not have been everything we hoped for, but a loss would have signaled the end of religious liberty in the United States, and a campaign to force opponents of gay “marriage” to involve themselves in celebrations of gay "weddings" would have commenced. Those who are harrumphing about the limits of the victory should pause to remember what would have happened had Phillips lost his case. 

Additionally, this victory is more significant than some might think. As David French put it over at the National Review:

All bakers — regardless of religion — have the same rights and obligations. At the same time, gay and religious customers enjoy equal rights under state public-accommodation statutes. Any ruling the commission imposes will have to apply on the same basis to different litigants, regardless of faith and regardless of the subjective “offensiveness” of the message.

This is a severe blow to the state. It hoped for a ruling declaring that the cake wasn’t protected expression and a free-exercise analysis that simply ratified the public-accommodation law as a “neutral law of general applicability.” Such a ruling would have permitted the favoritism on display in this case. It would have granted state authorities broad discretion to elevate favored messages and suppress dissent, all while operating under the fiction that they weren’t suppressing protected expression or religious exercise.

Instead, civil-rights commissions now have to understand that restrictions on religious bakers will carry with them the same implied restrictions on secular bakers, and the protections given gay customers will extend on an equal basis to religious customers. In other words, the Court not only prohibited favoritism, it imposed a high cost on censorship.

Despite the fact that many smart conservatives have bemoaned the decision as a delay of the inevitable, French responded further by pointing out that many of the cases coming down the pipe are actually more favorable to us than the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, and that we may be looking at a very different Supreme Court soon. Essentially, Justice Anthony Kennedy rebuked the LGBT movement by stating, in no uncertain terms, that religious liberty was not just some pretext for bigotry and hatred as gay activists like to claim.

It’s important to remember the significance of having the Supreme Court of the United States affirm the concept of religious liberty. Most LGBT activists dismiss religious liberty as a valid concept, and claim that Christians with moral objections to same-sex "marriage" are no different than KKK segregationists in the 1950s or even Nazis in the 1940s (language that Kennedy condemned in his decision.) Before Trump’s election, when a Clinton presidency still appeared inevitable, Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet mused about “how to deal with the losers” of the Sexual Revolution, and concluded that a “hard line”—such as had been implemented against the Nazis following World War II—would be appropriate. This is the sort of fellow that hoped for a Clinton presidency, and Tushent is a good example of the type of people who lost on Monday.

Lest anyone should think I’m simply pulling one extreme example out of a hat to prove my point—he is a Harvard professor, after all—a quick scan of the reactions from LGBT activists to their loss at the Supreme Court tells you everything you need to know about how they view dissenters. George Takei approvingly posted a speech by lesbian country star Chely Wright at an event to celebrate the Stonewall Riots, where she exploded that, “today, the United States Supreme Court decision about a cake maker and his ‘religious freedom’ will serve as a roadmap and instruction manual for every bigot in America to discriminate.” Notice how she put “religious freedom” in scare quotes?

Wright followed that up by comparing America to A Handmaid’s Tale, where gay people get executed (that would be the Middle East, actually, but that’s a topic for another day), and then jumps right into the Nazi comparisons: “In 1938, an article published in the New York Times quoted well-known Yale Divinity Professor Halford E. Luccock as saying this: ‘When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled ‘made in Germany;’ it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism.'”

In other words, a baker not being compelled by the state to create a piece of art that conflicts with his conscience symbolizes, in the minds of many LGBT activists, that de-facto Nazis are running the show. On the other hand, if the highest Court in the land had ordered Phillips to 'bake the cake, bigot!' they would have been thrilled at this victory for tolerance, even if Phillips and others were forced out of business and into poverty over their decision. Again, this is no exaggeration—a quick scan of the Twitter reactions of LGBT activists will tell you everything you need to know about how they view anyone who disagrees with them—and their firm belief that the state should intervene and force dissenters into line.

This victory was not only important, it was essential. Naysayers are correct in noting that it did not go as far as we would like. But they seem to be forgetting where we would be had Phillips lost his case on Monday—and who would have won.

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