All articles from June 28, 2018

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This photo was rejected by Facebook because it was deemed to be "political." LifeSite needed to be approved for "political" ads before it could even be considered for approval.
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Baby pics ‘too strong for Facebook’: Social media giant targets pro-lifers in new ad rules

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By Calvin Freiburger
Here are examples of ads now labelled by Facebook to be "political" and required to be displayed in this special format.

June 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- Facebook says its latest rules for advertising what it calls “political” content will promote transparency, but after a month of operation they are effectively handicapping many publishers, including LifeSiteNews.

Last month, the social media giant began requiring publishers to submit identification and mailing addresses in order to run advertisements (promotions to lists) of a “political” nature in the United States. Among the initial list of subjects deemed by Facebook to be “political” and, which will expand over time, are “abortion,” “civil rights,” “health,” and “values.” Facebook says the change is meant to prevent foreign actors from interfering in American elections.

These verification requirements are however causing very lengthy delays for ad approvals and are far more extensive than what is summarized in the announcements. They have also caused many to complain about Facebook's labelling of reporting on non-political issues as "political" and therefore subject to Facebook's onerous new procedures and restrictions.

Rather than simply verifying a representative’s identity and a US-based headquarters or office, Facebook has requested a government-issued identification, personal address, and the last four Social Security Number digits for every member of an ad management team.

The company claims that all of this information is being handled by a third party and will be deleted after six weeks, though it has not provided LifeSiteNews with a means of verifying these assurances.

The new rules also place a special new “paid for” label at the top of "political" promotions, through which users can identify who is responsible for the ad, as well as the campaign budget behind it, the number of people who viewed it, and the age, location, and gender of its audience. Additionally, users will be able to report unlabeled ads they believe should be marked, after which the publisher (pending Facebook’s review of the complaint) will be banned from posting ads until it completes the verification process.

Most ads will be flagged through a combination of employee review and artificial intelligence. All “political” ads on Facebook or Instagram dated May 7, 2018 or later will be stored in a searchable archive for up to seven years.

Facebook product management director Rob Leathern claimed that the company “recognize[s] that news coverage of elections and important issues is distinct from advocacy or electoral ads, even if those news stories receive paid distribution on Facebook.” Despite such reassurances, however, the new system is already having consequences beyond its stated targets.

Facebook has already come under fire for blocking ads by LifeSiteNews and other pro-lifers, as well as other forms of discrimination against pro-life, Christian, and conservative voices. In recent months Facebook has delayed the average wait time to approve LifeSiteNews ads from 12 hours to 72, and doubled the cost per donation received from ads deemed “political” from an average of $5.95 to $12 per donation click. Even as little as a year ago, approval for ads (promotions of particular articles) usually took minutes to an hour or two. “Now,” says LifeSite President Steve Jalsevac, “Facebook has made everything ‘political’ whereas we are an entirely issues-focused news service rather than a political one.”

More significantly, starting the week of Ireland’s May 25 abortion referendum, Facebook has rejected most of LifeSiteNews’ ads entirely.

“Is Facebook really being ‘neutral’ by now prohibiting ads and articles of a type that we were able to post for years, enabling us to reach all the people who choose to receive our articles by following our Facebook pages?” Jalsevac asked. “Would any of them be offended by the ads and other articles? No. But I bet they are offended that Facebook is choosing what they can or can't read.”

“I believe what is causing the Ad Disapproval is the actual photo itself for the Ads you were wanting to run,” a Facebook representative told LifeSiteNews. “While you have access to be able to run political Ads, the Policy team did indicate that the images were not able to be used. Since that is still a hot topic for some users, it may be offensive for Facebook to show on their end, or allow to be shown.”

The photos in question do not depict political figures, imagery, or events; nor do they contain violent abortion imagery. They are photos of ultrasounds, pregnant mothers’ bellies, images of preborn babies, and even a simple photo of a mother holding an infant’s feet.

That was enough to cross the line, in Facebook’s eyes. “I do see that the Ad has a fetus and while it involves your Ad text and topic, it may be viewed too strong for Facebook to allow to show,” the representative said.

When pushed for additional information, Facebook suggested that LifeSiteNews “consider using different images.” If our ads continue to be rejected, it “may be that the topic of choice for your Ads is what is being disapproved.”

“I definitely understand what you are referring to, but more than likely the topic you are speaking of may offend some, or Facebook finds they would rather not allow that type of Advertising at this time,” Facebook’s reply read. “Perhaps Facebook would rather remain neutral as they would not want to offend either side. While you do have authorization to run Ads, perhaps this topic might be the cause of those disapproval."

Planned Parenthood gets to runs expressly-partisan political ads on Facebook

Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, has run a variety of political ads this month with expressly-partisan imagery, including graphics accusing politicians by name of “blocking access to health care.” The abortion giant has also run ads featuring pictures of condoms on bananas and declaring that “Sex is hot - bad sex ed is not,” a potential violation of Facebook’s rules stating that any promotion of condoms must be focused on their contraceptive function and cannot be targeted at audiences younger than age 18, and cannot focus on “sexual pleasure.”

Since these new regulations have been in place, one ad that finally received approval was a LifeSiteNews May 24 story highlighting a reader’s pregnancy announcement video. It required multiple appeals, as Facebook’s algorithm flagged it as a “political story,” we suspect because it mentions the husband’s military service.

In the last two days however, LifeSite has finally been receiving more consistent approvals for ads Facebook has deemed to be “political.” “But there is no guarantee that this will last,” says Jalsevac, given the many dramatic ups and downs with Facebook that LifeSite and many others have been experiencing.

“The rules and decisions seem to be constantly changing,” says Jalsevac. He adds that they have generally experienced a steep downward push against their efforts to promote articles and campaigns to the almost 1 million people who have chosen to follow LifeSite-maintained Facebook pages.

Facebook personnel have been polite and professional in their interactions, but have offered LifeSiteNews no alternative means of resolving the issue than filing individual appeals.

Other publishers have reported experiencing similar problems. The Verge reported on June 1 that it identified 85 news stories flagged in just the first week of the new system, with topics ranging from North Korea and the Supreme Court to “seemingly innocuous stories on graduation speeches or the British royal family.”

Several giants of the mainstream media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal, have come out against the new rules. Those four papers are among the outlets supporting a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, accusing the company of “dangerously blur[ring] the lines between real reporting and propaganda.”

“While we applaud Facebook’s efforts to introduce more transparency around the political ads that appear on its platform, we strenuously disagree with the notion that journalism on political issues should be equated with political ads,” USA Today publisher Maribel Wadsworth added in a statement last month.

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NY Times op-ed: Supreme Court decision on labour unions was ‘worst LGBT ruling’ this year

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- While most pro-homosexual activists fixate on the Supreme Court’s recent actions in favor of a Christian baker and florist as the objects of their ire, two writers argued in the New York Times this week that the court’s latest union ruling is the real danger.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court struck down an Illinois law forcing public-sector employees to pay union dues regardless of whether they wanted to join or opposed their unions’ positions and political spending.

“Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion. “Compelling a person to subsidize the speech of other private speakers raises similar First Amendment concerns.”

In an op-ed decrying the decision as “This Term’s Worst L.G.B.T. Ruling,” former New York University professor Miriam Frank and Harvard Law student Jared Odessky write that the 5-4 decision “will have immediate and lasting implications for the livelihoods of queer people.”

The authors first lay out how the decision is likely to “drain organized labor’s already diminished coffers,” noting that 22 states currently allow unions to collect fees, and that the ruling will also affect private-sector unions since so many unions in both spheres share the same parent organization.

“State and local governments employ an estimated one million people who identify as L.G.B.T.,” the authors write. Because 29 states do not have laws identifying LGBT as a specific category for nondiscrimination purposes, and because non-union workers in the states that do still have to sign arbitration clauses promising they won’t pursue certain grievances in court, unions are critical to advancing homosexual or transgender interests.

“Unions have long been ahead of the curve on L.G.B.T. issues,” Frank and Odessky write. “Through collective bargaining agreements with employers, union activists were pioneers of nondiscrimination protections, domestic partner benefits and transgender-inclusive health care coverage that became models for other contracts as well as public policy.”

The article goes on to detail how unionized LGBT activists won gains such as recognition for “spouse equivalents” in employee health plans and coverage and protection for sex-reassignment surgery. They also how labor unions themselves contributed significantly, through millions of dollars of campaign donations as well as amicus briefs in key legal fights, to the defeat of laws recognizing marriage as a man-woman union and protecting states’ right not to recognize same-sex “marriage.”

“For several years, the L.G.B.T. rights movement has felt almost unstoppable, as marriage equality became the law of the land and nondiscrimination efforts steadily progressed,” the authors conclude. “Masterpiece Cakeshop broke the winning streak, and with Janus we sustain another hard loss.”

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the losing side in this week’s ruling, has donated more than $5 million to Democratic candidates and left-wing groups in the 2018 election cycle, including For Our Future and American Bridge 21st Century.

The United Auto Workers (UAW), American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), AFSCME, and other top unions all endorsed same-sex “marriage” years before the Supreme Court mandated its recognition,

The National Education Association, which is also a heavy political spender, has passed a variety of resolutions endorsing transgender ideology, while the AFL-CIO pledged to organize for transgender workers and fought against North Carolina’s law allowing businesses to keep biological men out of women’s restrooms.

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Pope Francis meets with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Vatican on June 26, 2018. Vatican Media
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Pro-abortion French President Macron accepts papal honor in Rome

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By Doug Mainwaring

ROME, June 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  French President Emmanuel Macron has been named a Canon of the Basilica of St. John Lateran under the auspices of Pope Francis.  

Although Macron was baptized at age twelve, he now considers himself agnostic. Many of his views are strictly secular, including his support for abortion, so the offer of the honorary title and his acceptance of it may seem problematic to some.

The bestowing of the honorary title on French heads of state follows a longstanding tradition, dating back to 15th century French monarchy.

Not all recent French Presidents have made the trip to Rome to accept the honor.  

René Coty was the first to do so in 1957, followed by Charles de Gaulle, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy.  Georges Pompidou, François Mitterrand and François Hollande accepted the title without traveling to the Basilica of St. John Lateran to receive it.

France has traditionally been called the “eldest daughter of the Church” because of its deep Catholic devotion, but a law enacted in 1905 made it officially a secular state. While Catholicism remains the predominant religion, the country is highly secularized, increasingly untethered from its rich Catholic history and tradition.  

Macron evidently sees that as a problem.  “At a time of great social fragility . . . I consider it my responsibility to stop the erosion of confidence among Catholics with regard to politics and politicians.”  

Earlier in the day Macron met privately with Pope Francis for an hour.  

“There were many issues on the table such as the environment, a topic which concerns both men following the United States’ exit from the Paris agreement,” according to Rome Reports.  The two also discussed the migration crisis in the Mediterranean that is polarizing both Italy and France.

The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the oldest public church in Rome, the oldest and highest ranking of the four papal major basilicas, and is the ecclesiastical seat of the Pope.

The title, “first and only honorary canon of the Archbasilica of the Lateran,” was originally reserved for French kings nearly five centuries ago in response to the French monarchy’s generous support of the Lateran Basilica, aimed at securing a strong foothold in Roman geopolitics.  

The arrangement was not uncommon in the 15th century: Germany’s emperor was known as the canon of St. Peter and the King of Spain was canon of Sainte-Marie-Majeure.  Before the Reformation, the kings of England were known as the canon of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.

Since the end of the French monarchy, the honorary title has been awarded to French heads of state.

Cardinal Gerhard Muller
Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Diane Montagna/LifeSiteNews
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Faithful Catholics being ‘pushed out’ of Church: German Cardinal

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

SAN FRANCISCO, June 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) ― The former head of the Vatican’s doctrine office has accused fellow German bishops of giving up on the New Evangelization. Despairing of Christianity’s role in the contemporary world, they are watering down doctrine so the Church can survive. Those who disagree are punished.

“The faithful who take Catholic doctrine seriously are branded as conservative and pushed out of the Church, and exposed to the defamation campaign of the liberal and anti-Catholic media,” Cardinal Gerhardt Müller told Catholic World Report.  

Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, Müller was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before he was dismissed last July by Pope Francis. In a recent interview, he told CWR that there are German bishops who want to lead the Church into “modernity,” seeing St. John Paul II’s call to convert the world as a losing battle.

“One group of German bishops, with their president in the lead, see themselves as trendsetters of the Catholic Church on the march into modernity,” he said.

The president of the German Bishops Conference is Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

“[These bishops] consider the secularization and de-Christianization of Europe as an irreversible development,” Cardinal Müller continued. “For this reason the New Evangelization—the program of John Paul II and Benedict XVI—is in their view a battle against the objective course of history, resembling Don Quixote’s battle against the windmills.”

Their solution? Capitulation to the world.

“They are seeking for the Church a niche where it can survive in peace,” said Müller. “Therefore all the doctrines of the faith that are opposed to the “mainstream,” the societal consensus, must be reformed.”  

He explained that this is why some German bishops are demanding Holy Communion for non-Catholics and Catholics in mortal sin. Also on the agenda, Cardinal Müller revealed, are a host of other radical departures from the faith:

“... [A] blessing for homosexual couples, intercommunion with Protestants, relativizing the indissolubility of sacramental marriage, the introduction of viri probati and with it the abolition of priestly celibacy, approval for sexual relations before and outside of marriage,” he enumerated.

Calling these bishops’ agenda “a blatant process of Protestantizing,” the Cardinal said that doctrine  to them is secondary to their real love: power politics.

“To many bishops, the truth of revelation and of the Catholic profession of faith is just one more variable in intra-ecclesial power politics,” he told CWR.  

“Some of them cite individual agreements with Pope Francis and think that his statements in interviews with journalists and public figures who are far from Catholic offer justification even for ‘watering down’ defined, infallible truths of the faith.”  

The Cardinal observed that wanting to be loved by the media and the world goes against the spirit of the first apostles.

“Today, for many people, being accepted by the media is more important than the truth, for which we must also suffer,” he reminded his interviewer. “Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom for Christ in Rome, the center of power in their day. They were not celebrated by the rulers of this world as heroes, but rather mocked like Christ on the cross. We must never forget the martyrological dimension of the Petrine ministry and of the episcopal office.”

“Conversion to the world, instead of to God”

Asked about the condition of the faith in Germany, the Cardinal said that many felt “abandoned and betrayed” by pastors who court worldly popularity.

“Being popular in public opinion is nowadays the criterion for a supposedly good bishop or priest,” Müller mourned. “We are experiencing conversion to the world, instead of to God, contrary to the statements of the Apostle Paul: ‘Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of God’ (Gal 1:10).”

The Cardinal indicated that the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith is devalued today, for doctrine has been “subordinated to the requirements and conditions of earthly power plays.”  

Illustrating how dangerous obsessions with power and prestige are, Müller pointed out how they blind people to theological truths about priesthood and marriage.

“If priestly ministry is understood as a position of power, then this doctrine of the reservation of Holy Orders to Catholics of the male sex is a form of discrimination against women,” the Cardinal said.

“But this perspective of power and of social prestige is false. Only if we see all the doctrines of the faith and the sacraments with theological eyes, instead of in terms of power, will the doctrine of the faith regarding the natural prerequisites for the sacraments of Holy Orders and of marriage be evident to us also,” he continued. “Only a man can symbolize Christ the Bridegroom of the Church. Only one man and one woman can symbolically represent the relation of Christ to the Church.”

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Pro-abortion GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine speaks at a Washington, DC, conference in 2013. Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women
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Pro-abortion GOP senators hint they may oppose Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- As pro-lifers enthusiastically anticipate President Donald Trump’s impending appointment of a new Supreme Court justice, questions have emerged about the Senate’s two pro-abortion Republicans backing a pro-life jurist.

Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, setting the political world ablaze with excitement from conservatives and fearful outrage from liberals. President Donald Trump announced that he would “immediately” begin the search for a successor, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that the Senate would vote on his choice this fall, presumably ahead of November’s already-contentious midterm elections.

The intensity of both sides’ reactions stems from speculation that Trump’s nominee could give the Supreme Court its first clear pro-life majority, leading to the long-awaited overturning of Roe v. Wade. But the Senate’s most liberal Republicans have already signaled that their “yes” vote is not guaranteed.

“I view Roe v. Wade as being settled law. It’s clearly precedent and I always look for judges who respect precedent,” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told reporters. As to whether the nominee’s abortion position would be a potential deal-breaker, she said “that obviously would be my preference, but what I'm most looking for is a Justice that will follow the law and the Constitution.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who also supports abortion, issued a statement hailing Kennedy for “h[olding] the court together and d[oing] right by the Constitution,” suggesting that she would like his replacement to rule similarly. “It is my longstanding practice to carefully scrutinize the qualifications of judicial nominees and to cast an independent vote.”

With Sen. John McCain’s absence from the Senate giving Republicans a razor-thin margin of 50-49, Democrats are placing their hopes in Collins and Murkowski, NBC News reports. Vice President Mike Pence could still break the tie with just one defection, but two would be enough to torpedo the nomination.

McCain has been absent from the Senate all year while undergoing brain cancer treatment, but has so far kept his seat, preventing Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey from appointing a replacement to vote in his place until the 2020 election. Alabama Democrat Doug Jones’ special election victory in December also narrowed the GOP majority that confirmed Gorsuch.

So far, Collins and Murkowski have voted for Trump’s judicial nominees, including Justice Neil Gorsuch, despite their pro-abortion stance. But while pro-lifers hope that trend will continue, the variables at stake leave it an open question.

Despite espousing a generally-conservative legal philosophy, Gorsuch did not have a record of previous rulings on abortion cases, and he testified during his confirmation hearings that Roe’s status as precedent would have to be considered in evaluating whether to overturn it.

Moreover, Gorsuch was replacing the pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia, meaning another anti-Roe vote would have merely preserved the court’s ideological status quo. But the next nominee is likely to shift the balance of power, which may change their incentives.

Others have expressed concern that Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona might derail the nomination, because he has previously threatened to block all of Trump’s lower nominees until the Senate votes on the administration’s trade policy. However, Flake confirmed Wednesday he will not extend that protest to a Supreme Court pick.

On the other side of the aisle, Andrew Prokop at the left-wing Vox notes that Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, and Heidi Heitkamp all crossed party lines to confirm Gorsuch, and all three face re-election this fall in deep red states. At the same time, the nomination’s greater stakes will intensify pressure on them to vote in accordance with their party.

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President Mauricio Macri
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Argentina schedules vote for abortion legalization amid pressure from World Bank, feminist groups

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By Calvin Freiburger

BUENOS AIRES, June 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Argentinian Senate has set August 8 as the date for a critical vote on whether to legalize abortion nationwide.

The chamber of deputies, the lower chamber of the country’s Congress, narrowly voted earlier this month to legalize abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy, as well as late-term abortions in cases of fetal deformity or to protect mothers’ “psychological” health. If successful, the legislation would erase Argentina’s constitutional protection for preborn babies except in cases of rape or threats to a mother’s life.

The date, decided on in a parliamentary meeting, comes sooner than anticipated, as the government faces intense pressure from both domestic and foreign influences.

“We demand action without delay in the Senate and that they [respect] the law to the letter by which it passed in the Lower House, and that a date for which the bill will be voted is agreed upon in the next parliamentary meeting,” the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion said in a statement.

The group organized 75 protests across the country Wednesday, adopting green scarves as symbols. Those gathering outside the capital brandished brooms labeled with the names of the cities they came from.

At issue is Vice President and President of the Senate Gabriela Michetti’s decision to send the legislation to four legislative commissions for review, two of which are headed by senators opposed to the bill. “Article 89 establishes that bills must be turned over to one Commission,” Sen. Fernanda Sagasti said.

The legislation is not expected to make it through the Senate, though Argentinian President Mauricio Macri has said he will not veto the bill if it reaches his desk (despite claiming to be pro-life), in deference to the will of the legislature. Should legalization win, it would be a sea change for the predominantly Catholic nation.

International groups pressuring Argentina to legalize abortion include Amnesty International and the World Bank. During March’s G20 summit in Argentina, the bank’s Margo Thomas reportedly pressured Macri to introduce the legislation. The World Bank, which actively promotes abortion and contraception, has given the financially-troubled Argentina millions of dollars in loans over the years.

Pro-abortion activists claim Argentina’s abortion laws fail to prevent half a million abortions a year, many of which lead to fatal complications and other life-altering harm to women. Therefore, they argue, banning abortion does nothing but make abortions happening anyway more dangerous.

Americans United for Life addressed these arguments in a 2012 report on the state of abortion in Latin America. Citing statistics from Argentina’s National Ministry of Health, it found that illegal abortions represent a small percentage of maternal deaths, 74 out of 306 in 2007.

Further, the report quoted the World Health Organization as acknowledging that “hospital structure” was the “most important variable” to determining maternal deaths. “The availability of essential obstetric care, active emergencies and experts” must be addressed to save women’s lives, AUL concluded, rather than legalizing abortion.

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Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to members of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, on June, 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images
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Hillary Clinton praises ‘inspiring, grassroots’ campaign to legalize abortion in Ireland

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By Calvin Freiburger

DUBLIN, Ireland, June 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- Failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gushed over the pro-abortion activists who repealed Ireland’s legal protection for unborn babies during remarks to Irish college students.

The former First Lady, New York senator, and Secretary of State was visiting Trinity College Dublin to receive an honorary doctorate in laws, the Irish Times reports. Clinton used the opportunity to recognize the “grassroots” pro-abortion movement, and went so far as to call abortion legalization "inspiring."

“Anyone who cares about preserving a democratic future must recognize that we need to do a better job of making democracy work for young people,” Clinton said. “I’ve also seen what’s possible when young people participate, and make your voices heard. The Irish abortion referendum was an inspiring sight.”

“Airports were mini-rallies with cheering and colourful banners greeting citizens who came as far away as from Japan, Australia and, of course, America,” she went on. “On the day of the vote one of the strictest laws in the world was overturned with nearly 87 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds voting ‘yes.’”

On May 25, the Irish people voted 66% to 33% to repeal the country’s 8th Amendment, which recognized a preborn right to life deserving of equal protection. Repeal did not directly legalize abortion, but cleared a path for a government proposal to legalize elective first-trimester abortions, with later abortions supposedly limited to medical emergencies or fatal fetal abnormalities.

Despite pro-abortion campaigners’ promises of a moderate abortion law, the government followed up repeal by announcing plans to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, force taxpayers to fund them, force general practitioners to provide abortion referrals, and block pro-lifers from praying, protesting, or counseling outside abortion facilities.

“We are living through an era when fundamental rights, civic virtue, even facts and reason are under assault like never before,” Clinton claimed, blasting President Donald Trump for the temporary separation of illegal alien parents from children at the southern border.

“Yet even in this dark hour we are witnessed an outpouring of moral conviction, civic engagement and lasting commitment to stand up for the most vulnerable among us,” added Clinton, who has previously called abortion a “human right” and voted against banning partial-birth abortions.

Throughout her speech, Clinton made it a recurring point to stoke millennials’ self-image as principled idealists, declaring that “no demographic is better positioned to be a force on the side of democracy, progress, and equality,” and assuring them she is “filled with confidence that you will be able to answer these questions and build a better world than the one we’re leaving in your lap.”

While the pro-abortion side’s margin of victory revealed an undeniable depth of popular support for repeal, Clinton’s depiction of the campaign as a grassroots movement downplays the support abortion enjoyed from powerful organizations and elite public figures.

Repeal supporters included Bono and his rock band U2 and numerous film and TV stars including Liam Neeson, Saoirse Ronan, Liam Cunningham, Cillian Murphy, Aisling Bea, and more; as well as mainstream media organizations and international organizations funded by George Soros. Additionally, Google banned all ads pertaining to the amendment, a move pro-lifers said gave pro-abortion activists an unfair advantage.

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Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider respond to Pope Francis’ inflight intercommunion comments

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, June 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church — even in exceptional cases — by a Protestant or other non-Catholic constitutes a “lie” that betrays the Apostolic tradition and the Church’s constant practice for over two thousand years. 

According to Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary of Astana, Kazakhstan, the reception of Holy Communion by a non-Catholic would be a falsehood because Eucharistic Communion is meant to manifest the “perfect union” of the Church’s members. Admitting a non-Catholic who does not accept the integrity of the Catholic Faith (e.g. the papacy, the Marian dogmas, etc) and who continues visibly to adhere to his own community’s beliefs, therefore contradicts the “visible unity of the Church” and the “interior sacramental reality” of the Eucharist.

Bishop Schneider also said canon 844 of the Code of Canon Law (on the administration of certain sacraments to non-Catholic Christians in situations of emergency or danger of death) contains a “problematic and contradictory principle.” He added that the problems being created by the German bishops through their intercommunion proposal are “only the logical consequence of the problematic concessions formulated by canon 844.”

His comments were echoed by those of  U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Order of Malta, who told LifeSiteNews: “Receiving Holy Communion means that you accept all that the Catholic Church teaches. That is why it is a contradiction to permit non-Catholics to receive Holy Communion on a general basis.”

Burke said canon 844, paragraph 4, “needs to be revised because of its lack of clarity which has led to many contradictory practices in the matter of ‘intercommunion.’”

More machinations from the German bishops

Their comments come a day after the German bishops’ published their controversial pastoral handout on allowing some Protestant spouses to receive Holy Communion, despite concerns about the text from both within the German episcopate and senior Vatican officials. 

In a statement on Wednesday the permanent council of the German bishops said they discussed the matter this week at a June 25-26 meeting and described the handout as an “orientation” aid to individual bishops rather than an official document of the bishops’ conference (despite having its origins in the conference where it was overwhelmingly approved).

In their statement yesterday, the German bishops expressed their wish “to provide spiritual assistance for those facing questions of conscience in individual cases who receive pastoral care for inter-denominational married couples who have a grave spiritual need to receive the Eucharist.

They add that such couples “have a very close mutual bond resulting from baptism, faith and the sacrament of marriage, and they share their entire lives.” 

On his return flight from Geneva last week (see video here), Pope Francis said the difficulty he has with the handout is “not so much the content,” but that if approved but the bishops’ conference, it “immediately becomes universal.” He said it falls to the diocesan bishop to ascertain whether a Protestant spouse who is married to a Catholic may receive the Holy Eucharist. 

Francis also said he thought a “guiding document” would be formulated to help diocesan bishops “handle particular cases.”

The Pope’s comments seem to contradict a May 25 letter sent by Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to the German bishops. In the letter, Ladaria said the proposed handout is not ready to be published because it “raises a number of significant issues,” “touches on the faith of the Church,” and effects both ecumenical relations and the interpretation of Church law.

Earlier today, respected Vatican journalist Edward Pentin summed up the machinations of the German bishops over the last month, tweeting:

Here below are the full texts of Cardinal Burke’s and Bishop Schneider’s comments on  Pope Francis’ inflight remarks regarding the German bishops’ intercommunion proposal.

Cardinal Raymond Burke  

“The question of giving Holy Communion to a non-Catholic is a question of faith, in fact, a question regarding a central article of the faith. In 1 Cor 27-29, Saint Paul makes clear the gravity of the matter. Canon law safeguards and promotes the reality of faith involved, namely the Eucharistic species which is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. As Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches us, the Holy Eucharist contains the entire good of our salvation. 

Canon 844, paragraph 4, provides for the giving of Holy Communion to a non-Catholic who has no access to his own minister and who manifests the Catholic faith, if he is in danger of death or, in the judgment of the Diocesan Bishop or Conference of Bishops, another grave necessity warrants it. Both conditions on the part of the person who is to receive Holy Communion must be verified, and there must be a grave necessity such as the danger of death, judged to be present by the Diocesan Bishop or Conference of Bishops. 

In the end, what must be remembered is that the reception of Holy Communion constitutes the fullest expression of the Catholic faith. Apart from some true emergency for a non-Catholic who believes that the Sacred Host is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, not just an occasion when sentimental considerations would lead one to want to receive Holy Communion, even though he is not in the full communion of the Catholic Church, Holy Communion may not be administered to those who are not in the full communion of the Catholic Church. 

Of course, the person approaching to receive Holy Communion must be properly disposed, that is, must be in the state of grace and must have observed the Eucharistic fast.

 One is only admitted to the Sacrament of Holy Communion, when one is in the full communion of the Catholic faith. Receiving Holy Communion means that you accept all that the Catholic Church teaches. That is why it is a contradiction to permit non-Catholics to receive Holy Communion on a general basis.  The present legislation refers to some emergency situation, for example, the danger of death for a person who has the Catholic faith in the Holy Eucharist and does not have access to the minister of his ecclesial communion. In such a case, once the emergency has passed, the question is why has the person not entered into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

Can. 844, paragraph 4, needs to be revised because of its lack of clarity which has led to many contradictory practices in the matter of “intercommunion.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider  

Since the times of the Apostles (cf. Acts 2:42) the integrity of the Faith (doctrina Apostolorum), the Hierarchical Communion (communicatio) and the Eucharistic Communion (fractio panis) are inseparably connected with one another. In admitting a baptized person to Holy Communion, the Church should never dispense him from professing the integrity of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. 

It is insufficient to demand from him only the Catholic belief in the sacrament of the Eucharist (or in the sacrament of Penance and of the Anointing of the sick). Admitting a baptized person to Holy Communion, and not demanding from him as an indispensable prerequisite the acceptance of all other Catholic truths (e.g., the dogmas of the hierarchical and visible character of the Church, the jurisdictional primacy of the Roman Pontiff, the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, of the Ecumenical Councils and of the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium, the Marian dogmas etc.) signifies a contradiction to the necessarily visible unity of the Church and to the nature of the Eucharistic sacrament itself. 

The proper effect of the Eucharistic Communion is namely the manifestation of the perfect union of the members of the Church in the sacramental sign of the Eucharist. Hence, the very reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church – even in exceptional cases –  by a Protestant or by an Orthodox Christian constitutes, ultimately, a lie. It contradicts the sacramental sign and the interior sacramental reality, inasmuch as they, the non-Catholics admitted to Holy Communion, willingly continue to adhere visibly to the other beliefs of their Protestant or respectively Orthodox communities. 

We can discover in this context also the problematic and contradictory principle of canon 844 of the Code of the Canon Law (about the administration of certain sacraments such as the Holy Eucharist to non-Catholic Christians in situations of emergency or danger of death). This principle contradicts the Apostolic Tradition and the constant practice of the Catholic Church throughout two thousand years. Already in the sub-apostolic time of the second century, the Roman Church observed this rule as Saint Justin witnessed it: “This food is called among us the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true” (Apol. I, 66). 

The problem created recently by the German Bishops’ Conference is, – to be honest – only the logical consequence of the problematic concessions formulated by canon 844 of the Code of the Canon Law.

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Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark, NJ, addresses the U.S. Bishops June 2018 meeting. Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
Elizabeth Yore

Opinion ,

Bishops admit they knew Cardinal McCarrick was an abuser but stayed silent

Elizabeth Yore
By Elizabeth Yore

June 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Now-disgraced retired cardinal of Washington, DC Theodore McCarrick was permitted to live out his role as a bishop over the past thirty years despite the fact that some bishops knew him to be guilty of sexually abusing seminarians.

Since this past week’s McCarrick revelations by the Archdioceses of New York and Newark, that McCarrick was found to have credible allegations of sexual predation against a minor, and two adult males, there can be little doubt that the American hierarchy was aware of allegations of his past salacious and sexually exploitative misconduct.

Why did Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin and Bishop James F. Checchio, of Metuchen, New Jersey, not release the decades-old McCarrick settlement information immediately to protect potential victims? Joseph Tobin has been Cardinal of Newark since January 2017, and Bishop Checchio has been Bishop of Metuchen since May 2016. The first obligation of a Cardinal and bishop is to review the clergy abuse settlements and claims to ensure the safety of Catholics. Surely, complaints against Cardinal McCarrick would have drawn their immediate attention!

Yet, Cardinal Ted McCarrick rose to the highest levels of the Catholic hierarchy and, apparently none of his brother Bishops or Cardinals stepped forward as a whistleblower to protect unsuspecting boys and young males.

During the day, as Cardinal of the powerful Washington, D.C. archdiocese, Cardinal McCarrick rubbed shoulders with the political power elite. He celebrated the prestigious Red Mass where members of the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress, and political elites attended every year. Cardinal Ted McCarrick concelebrated funeral masses for the rich and politically famous, like Sen. Ted Kennedy and Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s son. He was the go-to Cardinal for the rich and powerful.

His days were busy cultivating contacts, doing favors for the rich and powerful of business, government and politics. He traveled around the world for Catholic Relief Services. “Uncle Ted” McCarrick was the ultimate insider Prince of the Church. It’s no wonder that an “influential Italian gentleman” urged him to lobby for Pope Francis' election, as McCarrick himself related in an October 2013 talk at Villanova University.

For years, the McCarrick misconduct stories surfaced and, then, seemingly retreated into oblivion. Yet, one theme prevailed in the persistent allegations: prelates and people were informed, and no one in power did anything. The DC power brokers, New York elite, and mainstream media colluded with the Catholic hierarchy in a conspiracy of silence to protect McCarrick for nearly half a century. No one spoke about the credible findings and settlements with McCarrick victims.

Despite his abuse of seminarians, Cardinal McCarrick continued to have regular access to them, even staying in the seminary while visiting Rome. In his Villanova speech, Cardinal McCarrick reveals that during the conclave he stayed at the North American College (NAC) Seminary in Rome.

McCarrick residing at the seminary dormitory is like the fox guarding the chicken coup. Rod Dreher highlights McCarrick’s risk to seminarians and that the Vatican was repeatedly warned about him. In his article, "Cardinal McCarrick is a Molester", Dreher describes the allegations surrounding McCarrick’s sexual predatory modus operandi:

It had been rumored at the time that Theodore McCarrick, the Archbishop of Newark, was going to be moved to Washington, DC, and to be made a cardinal. This group traveled to Rome to warn the Vatican that McCarrick was a sexual harasser of seminarians. The story this priest shared with me was that McCarrick had a habit of compelling seminarians to share his bed for cuddling. These allegations did not involve sexual molestation, but were clearly about unwanted sexual harassment.

Over the decades, many others alleged and warned about McCarrick’s predatory predilection for seminarians. The prominent sociologist and clergy abuse expert and author, Richard Sipe, wrote a passionate plea to Pope Benedict about McCarrick’s alleged predatory sexual conduct. Read Richard Sipe's April 24, 2008 letter to Pope Benedict which the Vatican acknowledged receipt of in a letter by the Papal Nuncio Pietro Sambi on May 5, 2008.  Sambi acknowledged that Sipe’s letter was delivered to the Vatican via the papal diplomatic pouch. The Vatican knew full well about the danger of McCarrick to young seminarians.

Sipe wrote the following to Pope Benedict:

While I was Adjunct Professor at a Pontifical Seminary, St. Mary’s Baltimore (1972-1984) a number of seminarians came to me with concerns about the behavior of Theodore E. McCarrick, then bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey. It has been widely known for several decades that Bishop/Archbishop now Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick took seminarians and young priests to a shore home in New Jersey, sites in New York, and other places and slept with some of them. He established a coterie of young seminarians and priests that he encouraged to call him “Uncle Ted.” I have his correspondence where he referred to these men as being “cousins” with each other.

Clergy sex abuse investigative researcher, Randy Engel describes in her important tome, The Rite of Sodomy, that “New York insiders glibly refer to McCarrick by his feminine name 'Blanche' and Vatican officials have long been aware of his penchant for young handsome seminarians” (page 758).

Did any Church official bar him from their seminaries?

Did any Church officials report him to law enforcement?

Why would the rector of the North American College (NAC) Seminary even permit Cardinal McCarrick to stay there and subject his seminarian students to his possible predation in light of the Metuchen settlements?

Why didn’t Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the present Archbishop of Washington, D.C. restrict McCarrick’s access to young males and altar boys while residing in his Archdiocese? After all, Wuerl is the spiritual shepherd of the diocese and has authority over the care and protection of his spiritual flock.

Elizabeth Yore is an international child advocate attorney who has investigated numerous clerical child sex abuse cases.

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Archbishop John Wester
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Dissident priest spouting heresy with local bishop’s ‘protection’

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By Michael Hichborn

June 28, 2018 (Lepanto Institute) – Yesterday, Archbishop Wester celebrated Mass for the members of this year's Association of US Catholic Priests (AUSCP) Assembly. It is likely no coincidence that the Gospel reading was Matthew 7:15-20, which begins, "Jesus said to his disciples: 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.'" Sadly, His Excellency gave no such warning Tuesday night as gnostic-leaning Franciscan, Fr. Richard Rohr, denied the inerrancy of Scripture, denied the doctrine of infallibility, denied that the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of the Truth, and proclaimed the evolution of doctrine. Abp. Wester was in the conference hall for Fr. Rohr's talk, as the picture below is of him entering the conference hall.

Gnosticism is an ancient heresy that denied the Incarnation because it professed the false belief that all matter was evil. While Fr. Rohr doesn't profess this belief, much of his ideas are sprinkled with gnostic teachings. For instance, the gnostics didn't deal with sin so much as ignorance. This is a theme that runs throughout Fr. Rohr's speech. Another gnostic idea is that one must obtain secret knowledge in order to achieve salvation, and again, this theme is heard all through his talk.

In a previous article, the Lepanto Institute profiled many of the serious issues with Fr. Rohr, some of which are the following:

  • Fr. Rohr violated Pope John Paul II's encyclical Ecclesia De Eucharistia, #30 by receiving and distributing "communion" at a Protestant service.
  • Fr. Rohr co-presided at a "commitment ceremony" between two lesbians.
  • Fr. Rohr's Center for Action and Contemplation hosted a workshop inspired by Starhawk, a self-proclaimed witch and neo-pagan practitioner of goddess-worship.
  • Fr. Rohr was identified as having prayed to "Mother God" in Mass.

Despite Fr. Rohr's documented history of violating Church teaching, he is still a priest "in good standing" and currently has faculties in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.  In fact, during his speech to the AUSCP, Fr. Rohr specifically mentioned that he had always had "Cardinal-bishop protectors wherever [he] has been, including our wonderful Archbishop Wester, here."

Fr. Rohr's speech was a meandering conglomeration of gnostic ideologies and political rhetoric. Amidst his insults to traditional Catholics, political conservatives, the Trump administration, and those who believe in the fullness of the Church's absolute teachings, he calls for those in attendance not to take sides, not allowing themselves to humiliate 'the other side,' and not to demonize or scapegoat 'the other side.'

We'll post the speech in full at the bottom of this article, so you can hear it for yourself, but specific highlights from the speech include the following:

  • Beginning at 19:15 of the video, Fr. Rohr claims that it was Protestants who "decided that the Bible was inerrant." He goes on to say that, "The Bible might be inerrant spiritually, but historically, scientifically, culturally … it's a mass of contradictions from beginning to end. Now, I won't offend Catholic by that because Catholics don't know very much about Scripture."
  • Shortly after this, beginning at 19:53, Fr. Rohr denies the doctrine of infallibility of the pope, claiming that it was an "invention" of Church hierarchs. He said, "Around the same period that they declared the Bible to be inerrant, INERRANT! We declare the pope to be infallible." NOTE: This statement elicits laughs throughout the audience. He continues: "We both went on nineteen hundred years without an inerrant bible … So, they said 'sola scriptura,' with a very limited understanding of how a Sacred Story is communicated, and we decided that all truth could be found by making the pope infallible. Might they say, 'well, what did we do for the first nineteen hundred years? Were none of those people Christians? Were none of them Catholics because they didn't have an infallible pope?"
  • At 26:15, Fr. Rohr claims that Christianity, including Catholicism, is a "religion of white privilege."
  • At 33:40, Fr. Rohr twists the writings of the mystics and Scripture to assert that true knowledge of God comes from an "awakened spirit"
  • At 38:48, Fr. Rohr claims that people on the right are united, not because of what they believe, but because of what they're against, and he suggests that it is a unity against people like himself, those in the room that he is talking to, and that the right holds together in order to bring in "funds."
  • At 39:25, Fr. Rohr claims that the "sin of the world" that Our Blessed Lord came to reveal is "ignorant killing; ignorant attacking anybody else."
  • After spending over 40 minutes telling the audience that they can't know anything that is true except by an interior experience, Fr. Rohr proposes a slippery idea that truth can come from many sources, such as Hindus, Buddhists, or Protestants, suggesting that Catholics should be comfortable reading false sources in search of Truth.

Here is the entire talk for those who can stomach it.

Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.

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Taylor Lewis

Opinion , ,

Experts: Too many African babies, must resort to population control

Taylor Lewis
By Taylor Lewis

June 28, 2018 (American Thinker) – Africa's burgeoning birth rate is expected to touch off more migration to its northern continental neighbor, as globalization and rising global temperatures both push desperate people to a place less ravished by crime and intolerable clime. European countries, in turn, have revolted against current migration trends and their expected increase by electing populist leaders who promise to stem the flow of foreigners to their land.

Out of this demographic upheaval, three policy experts want to revive an unfashionable doctrine: top-down population control.

Frances Kissling, president of the Center for Health, Ethics, and Social Policy; Jotham Musinguzi, director general of Uganda's National Population Council; and Peter Singer, famed promoter of eugenics and infanticide, teamed up in The Washington Post to endorse an "ethical" means for hindering Africa's robust fertility rate. Citing Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb, they readily acknowledge the taboo nature of considering population control as a humane device.

But Africa's population growth can't be denied, nor can Europe's slow suicide, with its birth rate falling below replacement level. So, bucking conventional wisdom, they grasp firmly the discomfiting notion of widespread population restriction, attempting to break the informal prohibition on even discussing the topic.

Their icebreaker statistic: 26 African countries are expected to double their population by 2050. More so, by 2100, "Angola, Burundi, Niger, Somalia, Tanzania and Zambia are expected to have five times as many people as they do today."

It would be wise to consider what effect such an enormous population explosion will cause on global resources, particularly the laundry list of rights that the United Nations attests belong to all people. The trio's solution isn't all that radical once you get over the queasy idea of deliberate population curtailment: increase access to contraceptives and abortion. In other words, a Malthus-inspired abortion-on-demand initiative.

"We should not shy away from discussing what actions are ethically permissible to facilitate a stable level of population growth, nor should we leave this discussion in the hands of the affluent," they write, imploring others from outside the upper strata of the world's developed nations to take part in the dialogue. "The conversation about ethics, population and reproduction needs to shift from the perspective of white donor countries to the places and people most affected by poverty, climate change and environmental degradation."

This is a curious proposition. It is only decadent societies that entertain the idea of curbing population growth. Poor but growing nations rely on high fertility rates to combat high levels of infant mortality. The few exceptions are communist countries like China, where central planning absorbs all facets of private life.

It's no coincidence that the one-child policy – the quintessential model of population control – originated in Red China. As Robert Nisbet wrote in The Quest for Community, thinking in terms of "the masses" is not something a free people does. "The masses are fundamental to the establishment of a totalitarian society," he observed. It is the totalitarian impulse that inspires the notion that reproduction must be controlled.

Similarly, population control advocates often make their case by atomizing individuals down to lifeless statistics. Rather than real flesh-and-blood people with hopes, dreams, desires, and fears, they become integers of utility, slaves to the god of gross domestic product. In what is the most vivid argument ever lodged against population control, L. Brent Bozell condemned the "sin of head counts" in the New York Times back in 1971. He starts by describing an impoverished boy in Bombay whose "stomach is swollen," with only a single rag hanging "about his loins." To God, he is loved as anyone else. But to social demographers, he is a net loss. Bozell writes:

There is a greater supply of him than there is demand. He disturbs the ecological balance. He is socially inconvenient. The demographic mind eyes him and observes it would be better had his father been sterilized, or his mother aborted him – or, better still, had he never been conceived.

The devaluing of human life in the future leads to the devaluing of human life in the present. And there is a difference between a personal decision to put off having children and a national campaign to delay procreation or discourage it completely. The former is an ineradicable part of spousal relations; the latter is license for a small band of bureaucrats to make that choice on behalf of millions.

Here's a simple idea on how best to combat Africa's explosive increase in births: control borders, not population. Better police the Mediterranean Sea for migrant flotillas. Apply strict criteria for those seeking asylum. Send migrants home who don't qualify for sanctuary.

That doesn't mean we turn a blind eye to Africa's expected birth trends. Food and medical aid should still be provided. Missionaries should continue to bring the Christian word to the continent. Philanthropists and charitable corporations should continue to finance new endeavors, providing a path to a legal livelihood for many who want to escape poverty.

Surely, those are a more moral means to enable prosperity than devising and implementing a plan to de-incentivize the creation of human life. Africa's fecundity doesn't have to mean the future foretold in Camp of the Saints.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Matthew Hanley

Opinion ,

What happens when transgenderism and pedophilia become a ‘condition’

Matthew Hanley
By Matthew Hanley

June 28, 2018 (The Catholic Thing) – In the spiritual life, there is no standing still. You are either advancing or retreating. Like many other true things, this is necessarily taxing, especially when just treading water seems like a triumph.

There is no standing still on the societal front either. Look how quickly the transgender movement followed Obergefell.  It would be folly to imagine that this "achievement" would placate progressives – as if transgenderism were the goal to end all goals.  So one logical question is: what comes next?

It seems there are only two general options.  We might recover a saner appreciation of reality and tradition, or we will continue to degenerate in yet other destructive ways. My guess, unfortunately, is that the latter is more likely.

Polygamy is a somewhat obvious candidate for the next wave to crash ashore. As predicted, Muslims in the West have begun advocating for its acceptance based upon legal precedent sanctioning "gay marriage." Why should "love" lose in a polygamous context?

The point is not hard to appreciate: they got theirs by throwing reason out the window, why shouldn't we get ours? There is also now a special term for incest – "Genetic Sexual Attraction" – designed to give it a scientific aura and thus a kind of respectability; well, if that is what we are calling it now, it's ok then.

But we may also have to contend with an attempt to normalize pedophilia.  I hate to even write this, but you tell me what is beyond the pale nowadays – and why?  Providing a reason it should be singled out as verboten is not so easy, given the justifications we now accept for other transgressions.

A few months ago, I saw an episode of Chicago Med – a hospital-based TV drama – in which one of the patients facing a life-threatening medical emergency happened to be a pedophile. He did not want to continue being an offender and thus chose to forego treatment in order to ensure his death.

While cast in this sympathetic light, his medical team was eager to find explanations for his "condition": there was talk about new "scientific" indications that pedophilia could be classified as a disease – traced back to a gene or some neurological trigger. This explains the title of that episode: "Born This Way."

Pope Francis seems comfortable with that mindset if, as per media accounts, he really did tell a "gay" person – a victim of clerical sexual abuse! – he was born that way. Whatever Francis' actual view, the impression remains that he might have actually confirmed him in that lifestyle; if so, why could he theoretically not say the same for a polygamist or even a pedophile?

And why does this justification only pertain to sexuality: was Bernie Madoff born to defraud the unsuspecting out of their life savings?

The Chicago Med program aired on NBC, an indication they suspect the public may be prepared to accept the concept that pedophiles (like gays) simply act as their biology determines them to act. You see, biology is unalterable (LGB), except, of course, when it is alterable (T).

Biology is what we say it is, when we say what it is. Got the reasoning there? Good, then you see the attempt to classify pedophilia as a disease for what it is: the first step towards normalization. Disease can become benign just as bad can become good – when we say so.

Netflix is streaming a drag queen superhero cartoon, and some public libraries have hosted drag queen story time – yet further indications that some want sexualizing children to go mainstream. UC Santa Barbara also apparently sees this stance as permissible. Are we really going to let the standard "argument" for the gay-rights lifestyle expand to include "access" to kids as a right?

In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Pope Francis spoke strongly against pedophilia – and yet had an unfortunate lapse in so doing. Perhaps it was another case of a poor word choice, but he said:

Towards pedophilia, zero tolerance! And the Church must punish such priests who have that problem, and bishops must remove from their priestly functions anyone with that disease, that tendency to pedophilia, and that includes to support the legal action by the parents before the civil courts.

That disease?  This is the linguistic opening through which zero tolerance morphs into exculpation.

If it is an enfermedad, why would we be talking about zero tolerance? Should a priest with arthritis or diabetes be shown "zero tolerance" when manifestations of those diseases resurface? Trying to reclassify the act of abusing an innocent person as a "disease" should be met with resounding repudiation.

But what do we really repudiate anymore? When there is no objective truth to defend, everything else becomes defensible. Perennial Catholic teaching may be difficult, but it is coherent and its truths fit together as a whole. Take away a seemingly small part of it, and the whole is bound to unravel.

Notice how children are viewed in our post-truth era: unwelcome (contraception), out of the equation (gay), malleable innocents to be steered towards destruction (LGBT indoctrination), and unworthy even of protection from violence (abortion).

Children can also become, through technology, objects engineered to suit the wishes of adults. If we accept these "reasons" to treat children in such a disinterested and ruthless manner, why cannot they also be used as sex objects?

Pushing the envelope in that direction may be packaged by some radical Westerners as "progress." Yet the practice of abusing boys is already entrenched in Afghanistan.  Take PBS' word for it.

Such is our mental landscape. Nihilistic willfulness is in charge; humane regard for others is on the chopping block. Appeals to reason are as welcome as appeals to religion. Maybe, after all, there is something to categorizing sin – as the Catechism does – as an offense against reason and truth.

We are so estranged from reason nowadays that we are poorly positioned to resist even greater harms lurking ahead.

Published with permission from  The Catholic Thing.

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Katie Yoder


Horror story of abortionist ‘Gosnell’ set for release in 750 theaters

Katie Yoder
By Katie Yoder

June 28, 2018 (NewsBusters) – After facing challenges in the media, the legal system, and Hollywood, a movie revealing the story of "America's biggest serial killer" is set to hit theaters.

On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter (THR) broke the news that distributor GVN Releasing will open a film about infamous Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell to as many as 750 theaters in October. According to the filmmakers, the creation and release of Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer hasn't happened without overcoming hurdles – including in the media.

In an exclusive statement to MRC Culture, producer Ann McElhinney stressed that "finally the Gosnell story will be exposed."

"Most Americans have never heard the name Dr. Kermit Gosnell because the mainstream journalists chose not to cover the trail," she stressed, because "the left don't want the truth about abortion to be known."

But the Hat Tip Films movie, produced by herself and husband Phelim McAleer, "will do that and a lot more."

"The movie is as much as exposé of the media as it is of abortion," she added. "The media who ignored the story will have to explain to millions of people who will see the movie why they censored this story."

She's right.

Among other things, Gosnell was convicted May 2013 of first-degree murder of three babies (while the Grand Jury report, THR has noted, "alleges Gosnell killed hundreds of infants by sticking scissors into their necks").

But the trial, in which witnesses described baby abortion survivors "swimming" in toilets "to get out," attracted a mere 12 – 15 reporters. Only after 56 days, multiple letters from members of the House of Representatives and a public outcry, did all three broadcast networks report on Gosnell.

The filming of the movie itself, sponsored by a crowd-funding campaign, faced censorship. But after raising $2.3 million, Gosnell became the most successful crowdfunded movie on Indiegogo.

And with big names involved, the film promises to also be a success.

Directed by Nick Searcy (The Shape of Water), Gosnell was filmed in Oklahoma and stars Dean Cain (Lois & Clark). McAleer and McElhinney are experts on the story after interviewing Gosnell, and have even written a best-selling book on the abortionist, published by Regnery. Former employees have confirmed what the filmmakers say: Gosnell's abortion clinic was a house of horrors.

"This is the story Hollywood and the mainstream media didn't want you to see because it shines a harsh spotlight on abortion," the filmmakers urged in a Tuesday press release.

GVN expressed excitement in the statement too.

"I'm privileged and honored to introduce Gosnell into the marketplace," said CEO Geno Taylor. "As [motivational speaker] Denis Waitley once said; 'Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.'"

Searcy added that "No matter what your stance is on abortion, you will have a more informed opinion after you see Gosnell."

According to THR, the distribution deal came after Judge Jeffrey Minehart, presiding at Gosnell's trial, "sued to block the release of the film, fearing he was portrayed as part of 'Philadelphia's liberal corrupt government.'"

That has since been resolved, THR added.

"I've been on hard films before, but this one was particularly difficult," said executive director John Sullivan, THR reported. "Hollywood is afraid of this content. It's a true story the media tried to ignore from the very beginning, so I wasn't surprised to see Hollywood ignore us."

Published with permission from NewsBusters.

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Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy
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Will Anthony Kennedy’s replacement really end Roe v. Wade?

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Wednesday’s bombshell news that a pro-life president will finally get to replace the atrocious Anthony Kennedy with a Supreme Court justice committed to the Constitution has supercharged pro-life imaginations, and rightly so. After four decades and 60 million dead babies, overturning Roe v. Wade is long overdue.

But as we prepare for the fight of our political lives over President Donald Trump’s next nominee, it’s critical that pro-lifers keep in mind not only the pitfalls lurking in the confirmation process, but also the uncomfortable truth that the future justice might not be the one we have to worry about.

If there’s one thing that should be seared into every pro-lifer’s consciousness by now -- after pro-abortion GOP nominees Kennedy, Sandra Day O’Connor, John Paul Stevens, or David Souter – it’s to never settle for “stealth nominees,” ostensibly-qualified jurists without a paper trail on hot-button issues that could invite controversy during confirmation hearings.

Conventional wisdom holds that we’re supposed to settle for inferring their positions from their general legal philosophy, that we’re not supposed to ask potential justices how they would rule in specific cases because it would “politicize” them, or amount to prejudging future cases. Which is absurd; in what other field would job interviewers refuse to verify an applicant’s credentials by testing them against examples?

In the coming weeks it will be up to professional pro-life organizations to carefully evaluate the rumoured shortlist and eventual pick, and demand that Republican senators thoroughly grill him on not only his legal philosophy, but how he applies it to precedent such as Roe. And if the Senate’s two pro-abortion Republicans do end up opposing a reliable pro-life nominee, it will be Trump and Mitch McConnell’s responsibility to either bring them back in line or ensure they are held accountable.

Unfortunately, even if all goes well, our mystery judge might not be enough. Clarence Thomas is as close to a constitutional gold standard as it gets, and Samuel Alito has earned pro-lifers’ confidence, but the other two members of the Supreme Court’s “conservative wing” remain question marks on life.

SCOTUS newbie Neil Gorsuch has largely satisfied constitutionalists during his first year on the court, he ruled the right way on this month’s big culture-war wins, and it’s entirely possible he’ll deliver on Roe. But he doesn’t have much of a paper trail specifically on abortion, and unaddressed red flags still linger from his confirmation hearings.

Gorsuch refused to commit to ruling either way on Roe, but he argued that the mere fact of a ruling being precedent “has lots of value,” because it “adds to the determinacy of law.” He even boasted that he “would have walked out the door” if Trump had directly asked him to overturn Roe. While he didn’t say he’d never rule against precedent, he also testified that judges should start every case with a “heavy, heavy presumption in favor of precedent,” which they should only overturn in “a very few cases.”

This overwrought bias toward the deadly and overrated legal doctrine of stare decisis should have deeply alarmed pro-life groups, but most rushed to endorse him instead -- forgetting how another stare decisis fan, John Roberts, has turned out so far.

Roberts did vote to uphold the partial-birth abortion ban in Gonzales v. Carhart, but in doing so he declined to join Thomas and Scalia’s concurring opinion that called for overturning Roe, and during his confirmation hearings he called Roe not only the “settled law of the land,” but “a little more than settled.”

In practice, giving so much weight to a factor other than “does the Constitution’s text allow or require this?” means something that inarguably violates the Constitution should keep violating the Constitution, just because it’s been around a long time and gotten rubber-stamped a lot -- pure madness.

But most importantly, Roberts has already demonstrated his willingness to do far worse to the law than that. In 2012, he cast the deciding vote to save Obamacare by basically rewriting its fines (which he admitted were unconstitutional if defined as the penalty they actually were) to make them into taxes instead (which still exceeded Congress’ enumerated powers anyway, but he ignored that little detail). He saved Obamacare again in 2015, using similarly preposterous logic.

It’s been theorized that Roberts was driven not out of any particular understanding of the Constitution, but out of some perverse sense of stewardship for the Supreme Court’s “institutional integrity” that makes him reluctant to do anything that would dramatically change the political status quo in either direction. Take it all together, and it’s hard not to conclude that he’s most likely to find a similarly convoluted way to save Roe.

Now’s the time for pro-lifers to prepare to rigorously evaluate our next candidate for the Supreme Court, and to fight tooth and nail if he or she passes muster. But if past nominations where we failed to do due diligence come back to bite us, our task will shift to taking a look at new legislative strategies to defang Roe v. Wade and restrain the unchecked power that infuses court vacancies with such nerve-wracking importance in the first place.

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The overturning of Roe v. Wade and the possibility of cultural change

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By Dr. Michael Brown

June 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Within hours of Justice Kennedy announcing his imminent retirement, voices on the left began announcing the imminent overturning of Roe v. Wade.

David Cole, national legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, said, "If Donald Trump, who has promised to overturn Roe v. Wade, picks someone who is anti-choice, the future of Roe v. Wade is very much in question."

More emphatically, Slate magazine ran a story with the headline "The End of Roe," declaring, "Anthony Kennedy's retirement ensures the Supreme Court will allow states to outlaw abortion."

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin tweeted, "Anthony Kennedy is retiring. Abortion will be illegal in twenty states in 18 months. #SCOTUS."

During his appearance on CNN, he added that there was "just no doubt" that Roe v. Wade would be overturned, stating, "Roe v. Wade is doomed. It is gone because Donald Trump won the election and because he's going to have the chance to appoint two Supreme Court justices."

As stated succinctly in a tweet from Planned Parenthood Action, "With Kennedy retiring, the right to access abortion in this country is on the line. #SaveSCOTUS."

May all these fears and warnings prove true! May we see Roe v. Wade overturned speedily, in our time. And may the many women who struggle with their pregnancies find new hope and learn that there are good alternatives to abortion.

Of course, it is too early to proclaim the end of Roe v. Wade. And for more than 55 million babies who have already lost their lives, this is too little, too late.

But, based on his performance to date, it is highly likely, if not almost certain, that President Trump will nominate a solid pro-life justice. And it is then very likely that Roe v. Wade would be overturned in the years ahead.

This would be beyond historic. It would be unprecedented. It would mark the first time that the court made a radical, anti-life turn only to reverse course decades later. And it would mark a major turning point in the cultural life of our nation, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade seemed like an impossible dream for years.

Although I was almost entirely unaware of the battle for life in 1973 (I was 18 at the time and I don't remember hearing a word about abortion in my church), older colleagues have told me how bleak things appeared at that time. They have even related that pro-lifers were more despised back than those who hold to traditional family values are today. That's saying something!

Back in 1973, after the Roe v. Wade ruling, pro-life forces were in disarray. Yet, Nina Martin reported in the New Republic in 2014, they quickly mounted "a push for a constitutional amendment affirming that life begins at conception." But, she explains, "that first effort fizzled, and it's only in recent years that a new wave of pro-life activists – many of them born after Roe and educated in fundamentalist Christian settings – have once again seized on personhood as a way not just of weakening Roe, but of overturning it. In state after state, they have been pushing to have their beliefs enshrined in policy."

So, according to Martin, a lot of the recent success in opposing Roe v. Wade is due to the efforts of conservative Christians born after 1973. In other words, they were born after abortion on demand was considered a settled issue in America. After the battle for the unborn was apparently lost. After our side was told to throw in the towel.

But that was not the end of the story. As Austin Ruse noted, "Social conservatives point out that the number of young people opposed to abortion used to be equally bleak among the young but is now trending their way."

What makes Ruse's point especially poignant is that he made this comment in a short article documenting the rising acceptance of same-sex relationships among young Republicans. In light of that, he suggested that, "All this leaves open the possibility that Republican opposition to same-sex marriage may fade with time."

That's exactly what was expected with regard to the battle for life in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade. The die has been cast. The verdict has been rendered. The older, conservative opposition will soon die out. As for the generations that follow, abortion on demand will be the law of the land, unopposed and largely, if not universally, embraced.

And this, of course, is what we are told unceasingly with regard to same-sex "marriage," almost word for word. Why couldn't we see a cultural reversal there as well?

Today, we stand on the precipice of undoing the monstrous injustice of Roe v. Wade. Who's to say we won't live to see the reversal of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court's overreaching decision to redefine marriage?

It is for good reason that CNN is already writing about "What Anthony Kennedy's retirement means for abortion, same-sex marriage, affirmative action and the future of the Supreme Court."

And Vox opines that "a Court without Kennedy is substantially more likely to: Overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states (and maybe the federal government too) to ban most or all abortions. ... Rule in favor of religious challenges to anti-discrimination law, and perhaps, in an extreme case, reverse some past Supreme Court rulings on gay rights."

All this sounds totally within reach today. And it could hinge on the next appointee to the Court. Let's pray for God's mercy on our nation, for the continuing turning of hearts toward life, and for righteous justices to adjudicate in our courts.

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