All articles from July 3, 2018


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U.S. Senator Rand Paul
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Rand Paul thanks police for protecting his family from alleged ax murder attempt

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By Lisa Bourne

BOWLING Green, Kentucky, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — U.S. Senator Rand Paul expressed gratitude to the Capitol Hill Police for arresting a man who allegedly threatened to murder the Kentucky senator and his family with an ax.

Paul discussed the threat publicly at an event Monday in the western Kentucky town of Leitchfield.

"The Capitol Hill Police issued an arrest warrant,” he said. “This man had threatened to kill me and chop up my family with an ax."

Paul criticized the violent attacks upon Republican members of Congress in the last year.

"It's just horrendous that we’re having to deal with things like this," Paul stated.

“That on top of being attacked personally, and having a very serious, life-threatening attack on my person,” he added, “and then being shot at, I’ve had a year where it’s becoming more and more aware that we have these real threats out there.”

The man reportedly called the threats in to Paul's Bowling Green, Kentucky, office.

Capitol Police declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

Paul expressed thanks to the Capitol Police on Monday via Twitter, saying

The reported threat follows violence targeting Paul and other GOP members of Congress in the last year.

In November, Paul’s neighbor, Rene Boucher, tackled the Republican lawmaker while he was mowing the lawn at his Bowling Green home. Paul suffered six broken ribs and a pleural effusion, or a build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs.

Boucher, 59, a retired doctor and registered Democrat, has denied the attack was politically motivated, saying it was over a dispute involving lawn debris.

He pleaded guilty to the assault, paid a fine and was sentenced to 30 days in prison.

Paul is appealing the sentence in federal court and has filed a civil suit seeking medical costs and attorney fees relating to the attack. Boucher filed a motion to dismiss Paul’s civil suit and a countersuit. 

Paul was also on the diamond when James Hodgkinson opened fire last June and shot several Republican congressional staffers along with Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

The GOP lawmakers and staffers were at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, for the annual Congressional Baseball Game when Hodgkinson approached asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats out on the field.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-North Carolina, had told NBC that it seemed the gunman "was there to kill as many Republican members as possible." 

Police on the scene said it was a deliberate attack.

Hodgkinson was killed after being shot by a member of Scalise’ security detail.

He had a list of Republican lawmakers’ names in his pocket when he conducted the attack, suggesting they were potential targets.

Hodgkinson had posted violent sounding rhetoric against the Republican Party on social media, stating on Facebook, "It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co."

Members of an anti-Republican Facebook group of which he was a member and in which he regularly commented celebrated his violent attack against the Congressional Republicans.

While Paul was unhurt in the Hodgkinson attack, Scalise was gravely injured.

Scalise, sharing Paul’s tweet about the reported ax threat toward Paul’s family on Monday afternoon, tweeted:

The alleged murder threat against Paul and his family comes after Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, called for supporters to confront Trump officials wherever they go in public as part of recent backlash over immigration law enforcement.

Waters pressed people at a June 23 California protest where she also called for Trump’s impeachment to assemble a crowd when Trump cabinet members are sited, “push back” and tell them they’re not welcome anywhere.

“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up,” Waters said. “And if you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Waters was referencing earlier incidents where protesters drove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen from a Washington, D.C., restaurant and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Lexington, Virginia, restaurant by the owner because she worked for Trump.

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Austin Ruse LifeSiteNews
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Top LGBT group sics FBI on conservative columnist for tweet

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – When a conservative columnist got a visit from the FBI, he was surprised to discover it was because of a tongue-in-cheek message he had written on Twitter.

Austin Ruse had noticed that the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT lobby group that targets social conservatives and other dissidents, was running a campaign on Twitter asking business owners to place LGBT “rainbows” somewhere visible on their premises, preferably on their front windows. Reminded of protection rackets, Ruse called out the Human Rights Campaign on their invitation.

“That’s a nice business. Too bad if something happened to it,” he tweeted.

In response, the Human Rights Campaign made a civil rights complaint to the FBI. By law, the FBI had to follow up, and so Ruse found him having to explain his tweet over the phone to an FBI agent.

“I told him it was a reference to the mafia shaking down businesses for protection,” Ruse recalled. “Of course, he knew that. He chuckled when I told him. You could tell he was rather embarrassed at having to ask. He could not have been nicer.”

The federal agent said “I thought so” and “no problem” and that was the end of that, leaving Ruse chagrined that the Human Rights Campaign had wasted the FBI’s precious time over his tweet. The columnist called it akin to “swatting” – tricking law enforcement into sending a SWAT team to someone’s house – and to filing a false police report.

“It should be noted that this group [HRC] has been designated a hate group by the American Family Association for their attacks on Christians who stand up for traditional sexual morality,” Ruse wrote.

But of even more concern to Ruse is the potential for harassment of business owners who don’t agree to put rainbow sticker in their windows, which he repeats resembles a mafia shakedown. He accused the anti-Christian group of intimidating businesses into “accepting their propaganda.”

“It works like this,” he wrote. “A local restaurant is owned by a faithful Catholic who objects to the gay agenda. He does not want to put up the gay rainbow. He finds it offensive. So, he doesn’t put it up. Gays notice he doesn’t have the gay rainbow affixed to his window. ‘Why don’t you have the rainbow on your window?,’ they ask. ‘Are you homophobic? Do you really want the local community to know about you?’ You can see it spooling out from there. He is targeted by the local bully boys who proceed to make his life miserable, perhaps harming and even shuttering his business.”

He observed also that the group had stooped to using federal agents to harass its critics.

Ruse is the president of the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam) and the founding columnist at TheCatholicThing.org. He frequently appears on news programs to discuss Catholic issues, and has written two books, Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data (Regnery Publishing, 2017) and the award-winning Littlest Suffering Souls: Children Whose Short Lives Point Us to Christ (Tan Books, 2017).

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School shows teens LGBT propaganda videos, refuses to let parents see them

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By Calvin Freiburger

EMMAUS, Pennsylvania, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Pennsylvania school district is under fire for showing students pro-homosexual videos without parents’ consent and refusing to let parents see the videos for themselves afterward.

For the pro-LGBT National Day of Silence on April 27, the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Emmaus High School selected four videos that were played during morning announcements, the Morning Call reported. Two of the titles included "9 Questions Gay People Have About Straight People" and "Show your pride. Share your love.”

Those videos have since been identified. The BuzzFeed-produced “9 Questions” video features LGBT speakers mocking the description of homosexuality as a “lifestyle” rather than “just my life,” claiming gay couples not reproducing is a non-issue because “technically the world is overpopulated,” mocking straight people for being offended by assumptions that they’re gay, denigrating heterosexual marriage for high divorce rates, and more.

The YouTube-produced “Show your pride” is a compilation of videos of people “coming out” to their families and celebratory footage of same-sex “marriage,” set to Macklemore’s pro-homosexual anthem “Same Love.” A third video was dedicated to “educating students about gender fluidity – the idea there is no such thing as male or female,” according to conservative radio host Todd Starnes.

The videos, played without notifying parents in advance, provoked outrage among the community, with parents gathering to confront the East Penn School Board at a June 11 meeting.

“I do not support a publicly funded school pushing any political or social views on children,” parent Mike Huff said of the “purposeful, planned, indoctrination videos, which he said made his son feel “bullied” for being straight.

“Our community deserves much better than this from the administration and the school board,” parent Michelle Blagbrough agreed, citing a section of the state school code that guarantees parents a “process for the review of instructional materials” and a “right to have their children excused from specific instruction that conflicts with their religious beliefs.”

Superintendent Michael Schilder responded by claiming that because the videos were part of student projects rather than “staff work,” they didn’t qualify as “curriculum” subject to parental review. He even went so far as to tell WFMZ that this particular work “needs to be protected from public scrutiny.”

“A parent or member of the public has no right to view or access a student's term paper, speech, or multimedia project just because he or she objects to the topic,” Schilder elaborated, though he did give parents the videos’ titles and descriptions.

The religious freedom law firm Liberty Counsel intervened in the case with a June 22 letter arguing that Schilder’s defense “does not pass the straight face test,” because the “links to the videos are public records” rather than student-generated content, and parents are not seeking any information about the students in the GSA.

Liberty Counsel’s Richard L. Mast Jr. called the district’s formulation a “convenient” way to “bypass all public records laws and parental notice and consent requirements for objectionable content” by simply “finding a willing ‘student group’ to ‘select’ the material for them.”

Mast noted that many GSAs are affiliates of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and that “GSA ‘advisers’ frequently plan and instigate the activities of the GSA, and pass them off as ‘student-led’ and initiated.”

“(R)egardless of whether the students of the GSA ‘selected’ the YouTube video links shown to the other students (against the will of many) and without their parents’ knowledge or permission, those video links must be provided to parents upon request,” the letter continued. “District Policy 815, Acceptable Use of Technology Resources, Electronic Communication, and Information Systems clearly states there is ‘no expectation of privacy’ in videos ‘sen(t)’ or ‘display(ed)’ with its technology resources.”

Mast requested that the district turn over by July 23 all 2018 emails containing the video links and all 2018 emails discussing the videos, the Day of Silence, and GLSEN, and threatened further action if the district does not comply.

“It is troubling that the school district intentionally hides its LGBT indoctrination from the parents,” Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver told Starnes. “The school district has harmed students with its radical LGBT propaganda.”

Schilder announced his retirement last December and stepped down on June 14.

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Four German bishops say they will allow some Protestants to receive Holy Communion

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By Maike Hickson

GERMANY, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As the German regional newspaper Das Westfalen-Blatt reported on June 30, the Archbishop of the Diocese of Paderborn, Hans-Josef Becker, decided to implement the recently published controversial German bishops’ intercommunion guide. It permits Protestant spouses of Catholics, in individual cases, to receive Holy Communion.

Then, Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg, Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg, and Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück all joined Archbishop Becker and announced that they will implement the new German pastoral handout in their respective dioceses.

The Diocese of Paderborn has told the Westfalen-Blatt that this orientation guide as published by the German bishops on June 27 is “valuable.” Archbishop Becker himself explained to his priests, after first presenting his decision on June 27, that he expects “all pastoral caretakers in the Archdiocese of Paderborn to get intensively acquainted with the orientation guide, and that they thus accordingly and responsibly act in their own pastoral care.”

His decision does not mean a “general admission to Communion.” Becker, according to a statement given to Germany’s Catholic News Agency, sees the German bishops’ orientation guide to be a “spiritual aide for the decision of conscience in individual cases of pastoral care” for couples.

The diocese was unable to tell CNA how many couples there are that are potentially candidates for this new approach. When CNA’s Anian Wimmer asked whether there will also be a ruling concerning the other Sacraments and whether, for example, it will be expected that these Protestant spouses of Catholics first make a confession before receiving Holy Communion, the diocese simply said that “in the Archdiocese of Paderborn, the general rules of the law of the Church are being applied.”

In the meantime, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, of Regensburg – who was one of the seven German bishops opposing the German bishops’ liberalizing intercommunion handout – gave an interview to CNA, in which he makes it clear that he still expects some clarifications from Rome.

Voderholzer sees that the final resolution of the conflict and especially the May 25 letter sent by Vatican doctrine chief Archbishop Luis Ladaria to Cardinal Reinhard Marx have confirmed the claim of the seven bishops that “the Eucharistic question is a question of the Universal Church and of doctrine.”

“Finally, we assume that the Roman dicasteries will continue to work in this matter,” he adds. When asked whether he will implement in his own diocese the new rules as set out in the German bishops’ intercommunion guide, Bishop Voderholzer points out that the letter sent by Ladaria still “has to be understood as the interpretative frame for the future procedure.”

That letter makes it clear, according to Voderholzer, that “the local bishop is referred back to the practice of the Universal Church.” Furthermore, says the bishop, Ladaria also announced in his letter that there will be “an authentic interpretation of canon 844 [which speaks about giving Holy Communion to non-Catholic Christians in cases of ‘grave necessity’].” Bishop Voderholzer makes it clear that, up to that future explanation and interpretation by Rome, the old rules will continue to exist in Regensburg.

In general, conservative Catholics have been indignant over the recent sudden publication of the German intercommunion guide, which had also been internationally criticized. Regina Einig, writing for the prominent Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, points out that Cardinal Reinhard Marx had gone himself, behind the backs of his fellow German bishops, to meet with Pope Francis (during the June 11-13 meeting of the Council of Nine Cardinals, of whom Marx is a member).

Einig calls it the “authoritarian decision of the President to go alone and without communication with his fellow bishops, to get the green light from Pope Francis for the publication of the controversial handout,” and she says that such conduct turns the matter into an “ecclesial-political power-game.” The “spirit of fraternity” has, under the leadership of Marx, “turned into a farce,” she adds. “The question about whom Pope Francis wishes to serve with his zig zag course which seems so disoriented, remains open.”

While this new German handout officially maintains the Church's teaching on the connection between Eucharistic and ecclesial unity, “this principle is being, de facto, at the same time omitted in practice,” Einig explains. She speaks here of a “travesty of a synodal Church.” Does “synodality” now mean taking a “separate path [‘Sonderweg’]?” she asks.

Paul Badde, a well-respected German Rome Correspondent for EWTN, also joins the debate and further defends the holiness of the Eucharist. In a passionate way, he declares that, even as a minority, he will remain loyal to the Church's teaching on intercommunion. Thus he says:

Even if I do not be here more papal than the Pope: If the Catholic Church in Germany, for the sake of her rapprochement with the Protestant churches, wants to split once more in such a way, as it is now the case with the German Bishops' Conference, then I remain happily with the minority which follows the guideline of St. Vincent of Lerins (d. 450) to whom we owe the motto: “to take heed in the Catholic Church, with the greatest care, that we hold what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.” That [St. Vincent of Lerins says] is really and truly Catholic.

Peter Winnemöller, commenting for the Austrian news service Kath.net, says with regard to the sudden papal turn and his giving his “F” signature under a note confirming his permission to publish the pastoral handout (or “guide,” as they now say): “The Pope […] has given his ‘F.’ The rock is shaking!”

Winnemöller then adds: “It is confirmed that he who successfully now has the Pope’s ear at the right moment, also gets the 'F'ree pass under his own note [a reference to the June 12 note allowing the publication of the handout and written by Cardinal Marx and countersigned by Francis with his personal initial ‘F.’].”

“One really can say,” adds the commentator, “that the Pope is awfully wavering when it comes to coherent action.”

Winnemöller points out that Cardinal Luis Ladaria, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has been deeply humiliated by Pope Francis and Cardinal Marx with their sudden June 12 decision to publish the German controversial intercommunion handout.

“The cardinal from Munich won his game,” the author says, but it seems few are concerned “that the Pope at the same time put one [of] his own high-ranking curial members out into the pouring Roman monsoon rain.”

“The Pope anyway considers the Curia as a pestilence, so what does it matter,” Winnemöller continues. “Had Ladaria a Westphalian personality, he would take his newly received red hat and throw it before his [the Pope’s] feet and seek a nice country parish.” As the author explains, “the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith has been gravely damaged. Only a few days ago, he went before the press and explained with much substance and comprehensibility his [own earlier] decision to stop the publication of the handout.”

Another German source, Guido Horst of Die Tagespost, published a June 6 report that his sources at the Congregation for the Faith made it clear that they wished a stricter reading of can. 844 with regard to Communion for non-Catholic Christians in emergency situations, thus excluding Protestant spouses of Catholics as an option. Horst was confident, before the recent papal turn, that the CDF would help implement a more conservative line with regard to this question, and he wrote passages presenting the unofficial position of the CDF as gathered from his sources, a position which was to be negated only a few days later.

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Swiss Bishop of Chur, Bishop Vitus Huonder
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Swiss bishop: ‘Contraception is part of the culture of death’

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By Maike Hickson

July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Swiss bishop is praising Humanae Vitae’s “prophetic significance” and warning that contraception is “part of the culture of death.”

On June 29, Bishop Vitus Huonder, of Chur, Switzerland published a “Word of the Bishop” in light of the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae on questions of life.

The 75-year-old bishop says that this document is prophetic “because the fears which Paul VI then expressed have all come to hand.” The Pope was especially and rightly concerned about the “destabilization of marriage and family” as a result of contraceptive practices, and the “separation of sexuality from procreation.” Additionally, Huonder mentions here the papal concerns that “men would not any more respect women as persons, but, rather, look at them largely as objects for their own fulfillment”; there also would develop the danger of governmental intrusion into the freedom of parents, with contraception being used as a “tool of pressure with regard to [restrictive] population policies.” The bishop then concludes: “All of these predictions of the Pope have come to pass.”

The “separation of sexuality from procreation” has led, in this Swiss prelate's eyes, not only to a “sexuality without procreation,” but also to a “procreation without sexuality,” whereby “innumerable embryos are being discarded by the reproductive technologies.”

“They destroy the life of children in their first phase of life.”

Bishop Huonder adds, “Contraception is part of the culture of death about which St. Pope John Paul II again and again spoke.” Thus, Huonder sees a need “to show, with reference to the encyclical Humanae Vitae, how the Church sees the order of creation.”

The Swiss prelate sees that “the sexual licentiousness already in the youth prohibits their personal maturation.”

“The destabilization of marriages and, with it, of families has strongly increased,” he adds, saying that as a consequence, there is to be found “a fear of bonding and an incapacity to bind oneself.”

With regard to the killing of the unborn in the womb, Bishop Huonder makes it clear that “abortions cannot be effectively fought with the help of contraceptives,” adding that “the border between abortion and contraception has become fluid. Some contraceptives also have the effect of an early abortion [and thus are abortifacient].”

Moreover, Bishop Huonder warns that the effects of this contraceptive mentality and practice in Europe have led to a drastic demographic situation: “The demographic situation is meanwhile a matter of grave concern. The European people do not any more replace the generations. They have become dying people.”

With regard to natural family planning which is, under certain conditions, permitted by the Church, Bishop Huonder insists that, “in order to be permissible, there must be justified reasons. Also natural family planning can be abused by a contraceptive mentality.” For him, this matter has much to do with “self-discipline” and “character.” At the end of his pastoral guide, Bishop Huonder says:

Dear Brothers and Sisters! The Christian spirit can only develop in families if we learn in marriage and the family again to respect fully the order of creation. Let us take the truth seriously which the encyclical Humanae Vitae contains. That shall be a blessing for married couples and the families, yes for the Church as well as for our society.

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Trump: I ‘probably’ won’t ask Supreme Court picks about Roe, but they’ll be ‘conservative’

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump said he is unlikely to specifically ask potential Supreme Court nominees their position on Roe v. Wade, but suggested they will still be likely to return abortion policy to the states.

“I don’t think I’m going to be so specific in the questions...and I’m actually told that I shouldn’t be,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that aired Sunday. Modern Republican judicial nominees tend to stick to a self-imposed rule against answering questions about the validity of past rulings likely to be revisited in the future.

However, the president also stressed, “I’m putting conservative people on,” citing his “outstanding” pick last year of Justice Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Trump is currently interviewing potential nominees to replace pro-gay and sometimes pro-abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement last week. Trump says he will make his choice by July 9, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promises that the Senate will vote to confirm him or her this fall, presumably ahead of November’s already-contentious midterm elections.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump expressly promised that overturning Roe, which legalized abortion on demand in the U.S., “will happen” through his judicial nominees. This would cause abortion policy to “go back to the individual states.” Bartiromo reminded the president of those comments.

“Well, maybe someday it will be to the states, you never know how that’s gonna turn out, that’s a very complex question,” Trump answered. “Roe v. Wade is probably the one that people are talking about in terms of having an effect. But we’ll see what happens, but it very well could end up with states at some point.”

The president also predicted that the confirmation of his eventual pick was “going to go very quickly,” with a “lot of support” including from Democrats if “the right person” is nominated. At the same time, Trump predicted a “vicious” debate over the nominee.

“Because the other side, all they can do is obstruct and resist, the whole thing is ‘resist,’ but – and maybe someday we’ll be able to get along with the other side, I don’t know, but right now it’s only resist,” Trump lamented.

The president has reportedly interviewed four so far, and plans to meet with several more. The predominant speculation is that he will ultimately choose either 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett or District of Columbia Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, though Senator Mike Lee, R-UT, has confirmed that he spoke with Trump about the vacancy. Lee has been floated as a potential justice as well in the conservative press. It’s unknown whether the discussion was about Lee as a potential nominee.

Democrat lawmakers, liberal pundits, and pro-abortion activists are intensely opposing the still-anonymous pick over the potential abortion ramifications. Shortly after Kennedy’s resignation, liberal writer and abortion activist Robin Marty even penned a Huffington Post column titled, What To Do When – Not If – Roe Vanishes.

“It’s time to prepare for life without nationwide legal abortion,” she wrote. “With [Kennedy’s] departure, Roe v. Wade...is critically endangered and careening toward extinction.”

Pro-abortion GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have indicated they won’t approve a pro-life nominee, potentially jeopardizing the vote in the 50-49 Senate. However, one or both votes may potentially be replaced by the support of Sens. Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, and Heidi Heitkamp, three red-state Democrats who voted to confirm Gorsuch and are up for reelection this fall.

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The pro-LGBT rainbow banner outside St. Paul Catholic Church in Lexington, Kentucky, as advertised on the parish's website.
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Diocese led by pro-gay bishop says it’s ‘up to each parish’ whether to promote homosexuality

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By Doug Mainwaring
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LEXINGTON, Kentucky, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic church in the heart of Appalachia has attracted media attention for the Gay Pride Month banner stretched across its front lawn. The local ordinary, Bishop John Stowe, has a record of collaborating with a group that rejects Catholic moral teaching, and his spokesperson says individual parishes may decide if they want to promote the homosexual cause.

The rainbow banner in front of St. Paul’s parish in Lexington, Kentucky proclaims:

LGBTQ+ CATHOLIC

FAMILY, FRIENDS & ALLIES

ALL ARE WELCOME

“Making this kind of statement is a decision a spokesperson for the Diocese of Lexington says is up to each parish,” according to a local TV news report.

The parish’s pastor, Father Chris Clay, sent an email to parishioners saying the banner showcasing the symbol of the homosexual cause is a “small way of counter-acting any experiences of hostility, rejection, and silent treatment that LGBTQ Catholics may have experienced from members of the church that have been deeply hurtful and painful.”  

“This banner, as any banner or any welcome we extend, is always done understanding that we adhere and affirm all that the Church teaches regarding faith and morals,” he alleged.

St. Paul’s website prominently features the photo of its rainbow banner on its homepage.

“This is a church that is open to all people and I hope this sign gets that across,” said parishioner Stan “JR” Zerkowski in the TV report. “I don’t think a Catholic Church has ever had a sign like this before in front of it during Pride Week or any other time. However, in other parts of the country we see this regularly.”

“Our LGBTQ sisters and brothers should not be afraid to come in here, will not feel judged, will not feel as though they’re trampling on territory that isn’t theirs,” added Zerkowski.  

As it turns out, this St. Paul’s parishioner’s jarring statement is actually unsurprising. There is a whole lot more to TV report than what first meets the eye.

Stan “JR” Zerkowski is no ordinary parishioner. He is the executive director of Fortunate Families, a pro-LGBT Catholic organization. According to his online bio, Zerkowski co-founded and co-leads “Together on the Bridge,” an pro-homosexual ministry, and he founded and leads “Together on the Journey,” an LGBT Family, Friends, and Allies Ministry. He also publishes a monthly faith-based article appears in LinQ, the Pride Community Services Organization of the Bluegrass LGBT magazine.

According to its own website, Fortunate Families’ application for a booth at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia was “denied because the committee overseeing the booth ... made the determination that Fortunate Families teaches that ‘if parents don't accept everything about their homosexual child's lifestyle the child will commit suicide.’”

In April, Fortunate Families, in partnership with Lexington Catholic LGBT Ministry and the University of Kentucky LGBTQ* Resource Center, hosted dissident Fr. Bryan Massingale who spoke about “LGBT Persons in the The Age of Pope Francis & Social Ethics.”

Fr. Massingale is a professor of theology at Fordham University who openly takes part in LGBT advocacy. In 2017 Massingale spoke at 8th National Symposium of New Ways Ministry, a “gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics,” according to the group’s website.

Photos and graphics posted on the Fortunate Families website and Facebook page tell the real story about this group’s actual beliefs.

Stowe is one of five bishops who endorsed Fr. James Martin, SJ’s book, “Building a Bridge,” and was also a featured speaker at last year at a conference for New Ways Ministry. The gathering was titled “Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis.”

New Ways Ministry was condemned in 2010 by then-president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, and in 2011 by Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, USCCB chairman of the Committee on Doctrine.

Additionally, in 1999 the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “permanently prohibited” the group’s co-founders, Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent, “from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons,” after ruling that their teaching was “erroneous and dangerous” and “doctrinally unacceptable.”

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From left to right: Julia Haag, Father Stephen Imbarrato, Joan McKee Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
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Priest: It was an ‘honor’ to be jailed for trying to save babies inside abortion center

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By Claire Chretien

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The first thing a Catholic priest jailed last week for refusing to leave an abortion center did upon being incarcerated was fashion a makeshift paper cross and miniature rosary from a plastic bag.

Going to jail for seven days “was a minimal sacrifice to make to have a greater voice for the babies,” Father Stephen Imbarrato told LifeSiteNews. District of Columbia Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin sentenced Imbarrato to a week in jail after finding him guilty of trespassing. The priest, known for his social media videos, had, along with two other pro-life activists, refused to leave a D.C. abortion facility on December 2, 2017. The pro-life activists were counseling the mothers inside to choose life, offering them red roses and alternatives to abortion.

This was a “Red Rose Rescue,” part of a growing movement inspired by Canadian pro-life activist and prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner.

Fr. Imbarrato isn’t like most priests. He’s a great-grandfather. He owned and operated a restaurant before being ordained at age 53. He is also post-abortive and received a special dispensation that allowed him to become a Catholic priest anyway (normally, canon law makes it difficult for those who have participated in an abortion to enter the priesthood). 

Upon arriving in the D.C. Detention Center, “they gave us a puzzle book, I tore off the cover, and the inside of the cover was completely white,” Imbarrato explained. “And I made it into a cross and I [wrote] different meditations on [it] that related to Christ’s crucifixion and also the slaughter of babies.”

“Then I fashioned a ten-bead rosary out of a strip of plastic that I took from the bag that they gave us to put all of our stuff in,” he said. “For the entire time I was there, I prayed countless rosaries, countless divine mercy chaplets, countless Angeluses, morning offerings, acts of contrition at night – the bookends of the day, right? –” and “sang hymns.”

The only other object of a religious nature the pro-life priest had were two Catholic devotional books a social worker gave to him and papers from a Bible study that a previous inmate left in his cell. He said he later found out through a handbook that he was allowed to bring a religious article of some kind, “so I could have brought my scapular in” and a rope rosary “if I knew about that ahead of time.”

He was in the intake block of the jail the whole time, and because his sentence was so short, wasn’t transferred to be with the “general population.”

Imbarrato had a total of three cell mates – all of whom he “evangelized” – and was without one for about half of his jail time. He spent 23 hours a day in his cell.

‘When do the babies get their day in court?’

On June 25, Imbarrato and the two women with whom he’d conducted the December Red Rose Rescue, Julia Haag and Joan McKee, were tried for it.

Morin allowed the pro-lifers to use a necessity defense, which permitted them to argue that they acted in a criminal manner to save babies’ lives. Rather than refuting the necessity defense, the prosecutor just focused on the trespassing charge, Imbarrato said, something he finds “telling.”

Imbarrato, Haag, and McKee all took the stand “to establish the fact that each of us were in there because we reasonably believed that these women were in danger and babies were going to die.”

However, the judge didn’t find the defense credible, and found them guilty.

Haag and McKee are scheduled to be sentenced on July 24. Imbarrato was sentenced right after the trial because he told the judge he wouldn’t abide by any probation or pay any fines. He told the judge if that meant he’d be incarcerated, he’d “consider it an honor to go to jail and that gives me a greater voice for the babies.”

“I said, ‘judge, let me ask you a question: when do the babies get their day in court?’” he recalled. “‘When do the babies get a voice in a courtroom like this about what’s going on? The government is sanctioning the mass murder every single day of thousands of babies, the government is protecting it through the courts and judge, today was the perfect example of that. And the government is funding, with our tax dollars, the mass murder of pre-born babies.’”

Life in jail

All of the inmates Fr. Imbarrato encountered in the D.C. Detention Center were very respectful of his pro-life convictions, he said. As soon as they found out he’s a Catholic priest, they all were very curious about what he’d done.

“I did not have one person confront me” in a negative way about being pro-life. “I won’t use their colorful language,” but several told him they are strongly against abortion.

“I did quite a bit of fasting,” he said, but “most of it was not voluntary because the food was not edible for the most part.”

He wasn’t able to offer or attend Mass during his week in jail, but availed himself to the other inmates and did “as much ministry as I could.”

“The first thing that I told everybody [in jail], and they all got a laugh out of it, [was] ‘I’ve never been anywhere in my life where they tell you nothing and expect you to know everything,’” the priest recalled. “The single biggest problem that the people – the inmates – had there was connecting with their loved ones.”

Since his release, Imbarrato has set up and placed money into four inmates’ commissary accounts, which will allow them to more easily connect with their loved ones.

Something about life in jail that stuck out to Fr. Imbarrato was the manner in which inmates needed to ask for things in order to get them. He said correctional officers ignored him when he politely asked, “excuse me, sir, can I ask you a question?”

“Immediately, a number of guys, if they wanted something, they would scream ‘CO, CO!’” he recalled. The guards and inmates would yell back and forth until the shouting settled into a conversation and the correction officer responded to the request of the “loudest voice.”

The learned behavior is to “be the loudest, most annoying voice,” he said. “Is Our Lord telling me something about the pro-life movement? If we are respectful and docile, our voice is not going to be heard by the people who have the power.”

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Ryan Bomberger Ryan Bomberger Follow Ryan

Opinion,

News flash: Good Christians don’t defend Roe v. Wade

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By Ryan Bomberger

July 3, 2018 (Radiance Foundation) – So if you repeat the exact same propaganda as Planned Parenthood, are you really #prolife? 

Author, and former evangelical, Rachel Held Evans seems to think so. The liberal, who identifies as a Christian, decided to tweet a long diatribe defending Roe in light of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement. 

It didn't go well (see my video takedown here). Her eugenics-laden, screed of pro-abortion talking points resorted to calling pro-lifers, who support Trump, racists who oppress people of color. 

Yawn. Doesn't it get tiring using the same lame accusations?

She is the typical liberal abortion apologist. They love their "complex nuances". Yet their lies are simple to identify. So I'll highlight her top 5 pathetic defenses of keeping the violence of Roe legal.

1. Conviction Versus Condition

Evans first claims that "I'm prolife by conviction, though my views on the legalities of abortion are complex, ever-evolving, and detailed elsewhere." Convictions rooted in immutable truths don't shift with every political wind or triggered feeling. Of course we've never heard this line before – "I'm personally against ________, but I don't think it should be legislated." If slavery abolitionists chose to embrace that same chasm between morality and political action, the 13th Amendment wouldn't exist. 

Roe is not freedom, for anyone. It is oppression, no matter what nuance you try to spin.

2. Clueless about Prolife Movement

Evans reveals her complete ignorance about the prolife movement by charging us with only valuing hypothetical "white, blue-eyed, motherless babies". Eugenicists idealize certain babies ("wanted", wealthy, mostly white). The Pro-life movement defends and values all unborn human children and the parents who procreate them. The prolife movement, not the eugenic abortion industry, cares for mother and child…and father (which Evans never mentions in her entire thread). I guess her own child deserves a father, but others…not so much. She clearly hasn't been tuned into anything going on in the Pro-life movement. Have you seen any of our campaigns? TooManyAborted.comWhatAbortionReallyIs.com?

More evidence of this is her bizarre assertion that pregnancy care centers merely "give out free diapers". These donor-funded pregnancy help centers provide far more care than Planned Parenthood does for mothers. And all of their services are free, which include free pregnancy tests, parenting classes, material assistance (furniture, maternity/baby clothes, toys, and yes diapers, which are a huge expense). Many run maternity homes (Planned Parenthood operates none of them). Some offer life coachingSTD testing/treatmentmentors for fathersGED completion classesfree prenatal caregynecological servicesadoption services, even marriage support and job training. Many partner with local resources that, together, help provide a holistic approach to meeting needs. 

3. Lack of Access…to the Truth. 

Evans is just empty on facts. Although she acknowledges abortion rates are up to 5 times higher in the black community, she blames this on pro-lifers, you know, because conservative oppression. She doesn't call out an industry that kills millions and disproportionately targets poor minorities – but the people that fight an evil industry. What's more systemic and more racist than more black babies being aborted than born alive? In 2014, for every 1,000 black babies born alive, there were 1,101 aborted (currently 1,039 are aborted). Contrary to Evans' claims, Hispanics are more impoverished than Blacks in NYC (24% versus 21.5%) and are less insured (17% versus 10.5%) yet have half the abortion rate. When Planned Parenthood tweetsthat black women are better off having an abortionist kill there child than giving birth – yes, real systemic racism

4. Bogus Charges of Oppression

I've worked in poor black communities many of my adult years as a community volunteer, a mentor, and leader. People from across the political spectrum work with the broken, the hurting, the poor. I'm so tired of those who regurgitate this easy and unoriginal lie that "prolifers/conservatives don't care about people after they're born". Many of just don't happen to think that welfare is an effective solution to communities ravaged by poverty, violence, drugs, and fatherlessness. "Safety net" programs often don't make situations safe. Evans – who is a white married woman with a father for their child – apparently thinks that government is a good substitute for actual fathers. 

The welfare state couldn't exist, by the way, if both political parties didn't legislate it into existence and continually vote to sustain it. Our government is to provide for the general welfare of its people, not excessively provide welfare. Political power requires dependency, just like liberalism requires an abundance of victimhood. Newsflash – the War on Poverty and its billions haven't ended poverty. On the 50th anniversary of the "unconditional" War on Poverty, $22 trillion spent hasn't resulted in the change that progressives claimed America would see. Welfare shouldn't be a destination but a temporary place for those in need to get the necessary support in order to help better their current situation and be freed from a life of dependency. 

5. Elevation, Not Elimination

Evans deleted her thread on defending Roe. She claims others have misrepresented her views. No. We haven't misrepresented her views. She misrepresented Christianity. 

As a pro-life factivist, it is not my job to tackle every issue of (real) injustice. It's not feasibly possible. As Christians, who are part of the body of Christ that specialize in different areas, we are called to work collectively to "speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensure justice for those being crushed" and to "speak up for the poor and the helpless and see that they get justice". It doesn't say repeat the lies of an industry that kills the image of God 2,500 times a day in our country. It doesn't say stand with those who celebrate the shedding of innocent blood as a "right". 

What the Bible I know says about any circumstance, humanly planned or unplanned, is that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Truth. It's immutable. It's not that complex. And it's the only thing that brings freedom.

Published with permission from the Radiance Foundation.

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Jonathan Abbamonte

Opinion,

Kennedy vacancy on the Supreme Court provides historic opportunity

Jonathan Abbamonte
By

July 3, 2018 (Population Research Institute) –Two score and five years ago, seven Supreme Court justices, in a brazen act of judicial activism, read into the Constitution an invented right to abortion on demand. In Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the Court wiped away laws protecting the right to life for the unborn child that were in place in a majority of states. Since then, more than 60 million unborn children have been terminated through abortion in America. And the death toll continues to rise.

With the announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the Supreme Court, we have a unique opportunity to right this tragic decision. We have a unique opportunity to once again ensure that the fundamental and inherent right to life for everyone is protected in our nation’s judicial system.

Although Justice Kennedy sided with the Court’s conservative bloc in upholding limited restrictions on abortion, but switched sides and voted with the Court’s liberal bloc in upholding and preserving Roe v. Wade, in saving “Obamacare,” and in inventing a right to “gay marriage.”

If swing voter Kennedy can be replaced with a solidly pro-life justice, it would be the first time since Roe v. Wade was decided that the Supreme Court would have a majority of justices that lean pro-life. This would provide a unique opportunity, the first in a generation, to significantly roll back Roe—or perhaps even overturn it entirely.

President Trump has indicated that he will select a nominee to replace Justice Kennedy from the list of judges he began compiling during the 2016 campaign. The President told reporters on Friday that he has narrowed that list down to about five to seven judges, at least two of which are women. The President has also indicated that he plans on announcing his pick for the Supreme Court next Monday.

At the final debate of the 2016 election, the President Trump promised “I will be appointing pro-life judges” and that as a result, “If we put another two or perhaps three justices on” overturning Roe v. Wade “would happen automatically in my opinion.”

It is anticipated that the confirmation process for whoever the President appoints to replace Justice Kennedy will face intense opposition. Pro-abortion advocates are keenly aware that with the prospect of a majority of pro-life justices occupying the bench, the Roe decision may very well be on the ropes.

Republicans (as Democrats under the helm of Sen. Harry Reid had done before them) were able to change the Senate rules last year to allow Justice Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed to the Supreme Court on a simple majority vote and will likely do so again for Kennedy’s replacement. But Republicans can only afford to lose one vote if no Democrats join them. Republicans hold a razor thin 51-49 majority in the Senate. The GOP’s majority was cut down to only 51 members late last year after losing in a special election to replace the Senate seat of now-Attorney General Jeff Session.

Sen. John McCain is currently undergoing cancer treatment and has been away from the Senate floor since December, effectively reducing the GOP’s majority to a mere 50-49. Vice President Mike Pence would be able to cast the deciding vote in the event of a 49-49 tie.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) often side with liberals on abortion and voted against a bill last year that would have repealed much of Obamacare and defunded Planned Parenthood.

Sen. Susan Collins, Republican Senator from Maine, has already come out and stated that she will not vote for a Supreme Court nominee that would overturn Roe v. Wade. “I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade,” Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union” over the weekend.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) face tough re-election campaigns later this year in states comfortably won by Trump during the 2016 election. It is conceivable that if these Senators receive considerable pressure from their constituent base that they could vote with Republicans to approve the President’s nominee. But it remains to be seen how hard pro-life citizens in these states will press their Senators on this point.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski appears to remains undecided. According to the New York Times, Murkowski has indicated that “she will consider a nominee’s view on the abortion rights case, but that it alone would not be a litmus test for her choice.”

Even so, Murkowski has taken a defensive stance to any potential appointee, stating in a press release last week that “There is no doubt that the President’s nominee to succeed Justice Kennedy can expect exacting scrutiny from the Senate and that is the standard I will apply in evaluating the nominee.” According to Murkowski’s official released statement, Justice Kennedy “did right by the Constitution.” It is thanks to Justice Kennedy in part that Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land. When the Supreme Court had the opportunity to overturn Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court instead opted to uphold Roe.

Although the President Trump promised during the campaign to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court, the President has indicated that he would “probably not” be asking potential nominees about whether they would vote to overturn Roe. “They’re all saying don’t do that, you don’t do that, you shouldn’t do that” Trump told Fox News on Friday, “but I’m putting conservative people on.”

In the past, presidents from both parties have refrained from publicly asking potential nominees about their opinions on the Roe v. Wade decision. And while it would not be proper for judges to predict on how they might rule on similar cases in the future, whether they will respect the fundamental and universal right to life is absolutely essential to their qualifications as a Supreme Court justice.

Republican presidents have not been nearly as good as Democratic presidents in vetting Supreme Court nominees. Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy were both Reagan appointees and Justice David Souter was appointed by George H. W. Bush. O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter all voted to uphold Roe v. Wade in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, an unpleasant surprise to pro-lifers at the time who had been hopeful that with six new Republican-appointed justices to the bench (Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas were the other three Republican appointees who voted to strike down Roe), that Roewould be overturned. Instead, Roe was persevered and millions more unborn lives have been lost since.

More recently, in 2016 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, Kennedy provided the crucial tie-breaking vote to overturn a Texas law that required abortion clinics to comply with state standards for ambulatory surgical centers and required abortionists to have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital in the event of a medical emergency.

Many conservative commentators have openly accepted and lauded all 25 of President Trump’s potential nominees. However, not all of his picks are good candidates.

Diane Sykes, for one, voted against defunding Planned Parenthood in Indiana in a 2012 case she heard while on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. And while Sykes in her opinion defended the right for states not to fund abortion, nevertheless, she denied the state of Indiana the ability to defund Planned Parenthood. Apparently, Planned Parenthood’s alleged refusal to report cases of rape and sex traffickingand their participation in terminating hundreds of thousands of unborn lives every year was not sufficient basis to disqualify Planned Parenthood from Medicaid funding as they were considered as “be[ing] capable of performing the needed medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal, and ethical manner.” 

With some of the other possible candidates, such as Raymond Kethledge, Thomas Hardiman, and Amul Thapar, we know very little or next to nothing about their judicial reasoning on abortion issues. It is not enough that a justice is conservative on other issues. A judge’s commitment to textualism may not in and of itself signal how they would rule on Roe. Those involved in the vetting process and in advising the President must ensure that nominees would overturn Roe v. Wade if presented with a case that challenges Roe. As the case of Justice Kennedy makes abundantly clear, judges who may be conservative on other issues including immigration or corporate law may not be in favor of striking down Roe.

And let us be careful not to jump to conclusions by equating any and all past judgements that seem pro-life with actually being pro-life. Let us not forget that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, prior to taking up her appointment to the Supreme Court, had upheld the Bush administration’s Mexico City Policy against a legal challenge brought against it in 2002 when she was on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Indeed, sometimes even rulings that favor the right to life in certain cases are not indications in and of themselves that the issuing judges would roll back Roe v. Wade.

Whoever the President nominates will shape the course of the Supreme Court for decades to come. The next appointee will undoubtedly hear at least one direct challenge to the Roe. It needs to be made abundantly clear to those involved in the vetting process that whoever the eventually nominee is that he or she will defend the fundamental and inherent right to life of the unborn child without compromise and regardless of what previous Supreme Court precedent has dictated in the past on the matter.

An unjust law is no law at all and ought to be overturned. Even pro-abortion legal scholars recognize the that Roe v. Wade decision has no basis in the Constitution. Edward Lazarus, former clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun, the very judge who wrote the Roe decision, once said “As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible. I say this as someone utterly committed to the right to choose…and as someone who loved Roe’s author like a grandfather.”

Pro-life conservatives have been deceived in the past with nominees that did not turn out as expected by continuing to uphold the tragic Roe decision. We cannot—we dare not—squander this opportunity again. Truly the lives of countless of the unborn are on the line. This present moment represents a unique opportunity to ensure that right to life for all is respected and protected through law. The President must make good on his promise to appoint solidly pro-life justices to the Supreme Court.

This article was originally published by the Population Research Institute and is re-published with permission.

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K.V. Turley

Opinion

The abortion industry wants to make public prayer illegal. Here’s why

K.V. Turley
By

July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Yesterday’s High Court ruling on the case involving the Ealing abortion center “buffer zone” comes as no surprise.

It would have been a surprise indeed in today’s Britain if the court had recognised the right of a few to carry on with their prayerful vigil against the legal killing of so many.

If the decision had gone against the United Kingdom’s multi-million pound abortion industry and its never-ending need for new business, then a more fundamental question would have been posed about what was taking place inside such places as the abortion center at Ealing.

That was never going to be allowed.  

Remember, this was the same court that earlier this year refused the parents of Alfie Evans when they begged to take their child to be cared for in Rome.

No, the few visible witnesses outside an abortion facility are an uncomfortable reminder of what we all know – even those who had organised a noisy counter-demonstration against Ealing’s 23-year-old peaceful pro-life vigil – namely that abortion involves the ending of an innocent life.

Marie Stopes International (MSI) operates the abortion facility in Ealing. That abortion center is one of the busiest in the UK. In 2016, 6,484 abortions took place there, 110 after 20 weeks gestation.

A 2017 U.K. government report found evidence of nearly 400 botched abortions at MSI facilities nationwide over a two-month period. In March 2017, an undercover reporter for The Daily Mail found doctors at MSI facilities approving thousands of abortions without meeting women and with some consultation discussions lasting just 22 seconds.

In October 2017, another Care Quality Commission report revealed that MSI staff felt “encouraged” to ensure women went through with abortions because it was “linked to their performance bonus.” Government Inspectors found evidence of a policy – in place across all 70 U.K. MSI facilities – whereby staff were told to call women who had decided not to have an abortion and offer them a new appointment. 

Just this year, the same facility in Ealing hit the headlines for different reasons.  

On May 1, 2018, a London coroner criticized repeated failures there following the death of a woman. This occurred in 2012 when a woman died in a taxi after having an abortion at the Ealing facility. Subsequent to the death, a doctor and two nurses attached to the Ealing facility were charged and then later acquitted of manslaughter. The previous year, in 2011,  a doctor was struck off the U.K.’s General Medical Register after having performing a botched abortion in Ealing. As well as a perforated uterus, the doctor had left parts of the foetus inside a woman. Subsequently, she was hospitalized in critical condition for two months.

The coroner’s remarks in the above case came just one week after Ealing Council became the first U.K. Local Authority to approve and then enforce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for the area around the Ealing abortuary. The purpose of the order being issued was so as “to protect women from distress and intimidation.”

Ealing council had unanimously approved the PSPO. Abortion providers and their supporters convinced local government officials that such “buffer zones” were necessary. These groups painted a picture of “groups” approaching women as they entered the facility and then either showing them explicit pictures of aborted babies or calling them names. Some even claimed that the very act of peaceful protest outside an abortion facility was an act of intimidation. Ealing council’s politicians seemed to have listened to only one side of the story.

Seemingly irrelevant was the incontrovertible fact that at the Ealing vigil there had not been a single arrest or a prosecution for any offence in its 23 years.

One can only surmise that the council officials were unclear as to what the vigil actually was. Having been there I can confirm that it consisted of a handful of mostly elderly people praying. Some, one or two, would offer leaflets to those women entering the facility. Most of those on their way in refused to accept the leaflet, which, of course, was their right.

At no time did I see any attempt to “force” anyone to take a leaflet. In any event, such coercive behaviour would be wholly counterproductive given what was being offered. The leaflet simply outlined the mostly practical help available for women who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy.

There were some images of unborn babies outside the facility, mostly displayed on the grass in front of it, and, if anything, easy to miss. They were standard medical illustrations of the kind seen after a scan or on a pregnancy app. I saw nothing other than images of healthy babies in the womb.

Due to groups such as Good Counsel Network and 40 Days for Life, these vigils have borne fruit. Some women did decide to carry on with their pregnancy. Having had the pleasure of meeting some of them, I can confirm that today they are, without exception, all proud mothers.

As the news from the High Court filtered through today, the various abortion providers expressed their “delight” at the court’s finding. They also talked of “Ealing today, the rest of the U.K. next.” Sadly, this is what this is all about. These abortion providers are running a business. Every mother who keeps her baby is a financial cost to an abortion center if they have booked that mother in for an abortion.

Behind a smoke screen of “rights” and talk of “fear and intimidation,” there is a grubby lobbying campaign underway to convince Ealing and other local authorities to ban freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and even the right to pray on a British street for the sake of abortion centers, their profit margins, and the trade they ply.

This is but the start of a new front opening in the coming battle ahead. It is one aimed at silencing and side lining the pro-life movement using courts and local politicians. The push for this comes from the abortion industry. It is yet another example of the increasing power, both political and financial, of such groups. According to the U.K.’s Charity Commission, in the financial year ending in 2016, the income for Marie Stopes International alone was £290 million/ $400 million.

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Blogs,

Facebook does it again, this time to a band’s patriotic music video

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By Steve Jalsevac

July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSite and thousands of other users of Facebook are continuing to have their ads disallowed by Facebook because of what Facebook now calls "political" content in the ads. As we have explained, anything even alluding to abortion is deemed to be "political". Now, the country music Wes Cook Band's promotion of its patriotic music video, "I Stand for the Flag," was at first approved and then disapproved by Facebook because it too was deemed to be "political".

Fox News reports the band's front man Wes Cook, stated,

 "Our song bleeds unity and love of country. It doesn’t see race, color, religion, or political affiliation. ’I Stand for the Flag’ means I am thankful for the freedoms and opportunities this country gives all citizens, and shows how dependent we all are on each other for the success of our individual American Dream. I believe patriotism is not political."

Facebook is decimating the Internet reach of most conservative organizations' and persons' because of its new policy classifying all kinds of clearly unpolitical posts as somehow being an attempt to specifically influence the political situation in the United States.  There are increasing ongoing efforts of groups joining together to fight back against this unjust discrimination by the Internet giant.

RELATED:

Baby pics ‘too strong for Facebook’: Social media giant targets pro-lifers in new ad rules

Confirmed: Facebook’s Recent Algorithm Change Is Crushing Conservative Sites, Boosting Liberals

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Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

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Trappist beer returns to England, a hopeful sign for Catholics

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

COALVILLE, Leicestershire, England, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Good news for beer-drinkers and monastery enthusiasts: a community of English Trappists have given up dairy farming and taken up brewing instead.

The Cistercian monks of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey blessed their new brewery, appropriately enough, on April 23, the feast day of the great patron of England, Saint George. They brew a lager they have named “Tynt Meadow” in honor of the plot of land on which their monastic life was re-founded in 1835.

According to the monks, their beer is “mahogany-coloured, with a subtle, warm red hue, and a lasting beige head. Its aroma carries hints of dark chocolate, liquorice, and rich fruit flavours...full-bodied, gently balancing the taste of dark chocolate, pepper, and fig. It leaves a warm and dry finish on the palate.”

Yes, I want some, too.

Trappist beer has a long history, its roots dating back to the founding of the Cistercian order in 1198 in Citeaux, France. Itself a reform of a Benedictine life that had grown too wordly, the Cistercian order was reformed again at the French monastery of La Trappe in 1664. Monks who accepted the strictures of La Trappe were known as Cistercians of the Strict Observance, or Trappists.

La Trappe already had its own brewery by 1664, for monastery beer-brewing had flourished during the Middle Ages. In that period, beer was one of Europe’s most commonly consumed drinks, often drunk at every meal. Water was not always safe to drink; weak or “small” beer was consumed even by children.   

Cistercians first came to England in 1128 when Waverley Abbey was founded by William Giffard, the Bishop of Winchester. Eventually 75 other Cistercian monasteries were founded in the British Isles. They were suppressed by King Henry VIII during the infamous “dissolution of the monasteries,” which took place between 1536 and 1541. Many monasteries, Waverley Abbey among them, were destroyed. Others were given to Henry’s friends as country estates.

Catholicism itself was outlawed until the reign of Henry’s daughter Mary, and then again with the reign of her sister Elizabeth until the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829. Shortly thereafter, Ambrose de Lisle donated land for the first monastery to be built in England since the Reformation. Filled with zeal to reseed Catholicism in Britain, he was disappointed to discover that Trappists don’t travel hither and thither as missionaries.  

Although the Mount Saint Bernard Abbey monks have supported themselves through the years at a number of handicrafts, their primary occupation – after prayer – has been farming. However, as the monks explain on their website, this no longer sustains even their simple way of life:

“At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it became increasingly apparent that farming was no longer viable at Mount Saint Bernard. Developments in modern agriculture, combined with the consistently low price of milk, made it hard to run our dairy farm profitably. In 2013, we reached a point where it seemed irresponsible to continue.”

The solution was to be found at the bottom of a glass – that is, the monks decided it was time for the community to start making beer again. They knew their community had been good at this in the nineteenth century – past visitors had recorded their happy memories of it – and after trying out home brewing kits, got some training from more experienced brewery brothers, including the Benedictine monks of Norcia.

Also helpful was their connection with the Trappist tradition as a whole, for Trappist beer is celebrated by beer aficionados around the world. So popular was it, that the Trappist orders went to court to stop commercial breweries from appropriating their name. Only Trappists may sell products labelled Trappist, and there are now twelve Trappists abbeys that produce beer: one in Austria (Engelszell), six in Belgium (Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, and Westvleteren), one in Germany (Mariawald), one in Holland (Koningshoeven), one in Italy (Tre Fontane), one in the USA (St Joseph’s), and, of course, Mount Saint Bernard in England.    

“We’ve received invaluable advice from the eleven other Trappist breweries, and from the International Trappist Association,” the English monks posted. “We’ve also benefited from the kindness and counsel of several local brewers.”

Tynt Meadow beer is brewed with English hops and barley, using English yeast, and twice-fermented, once in the tank and then in the bottle. Sales begin on July 9 in the Mount Saint Bernard Abbey shop and in “selected stores and bottle shops.” I certainly hope one of those lucky establishments is in Edinburgh.

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A Rembrandt painting that teaches us about the nature of married love

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski
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Rembrandt's "The Jewish Bride"

July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Many are the great painters, but Rembrandt—whose full name is Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606–1669)—is among the very few who have become household names. This painting of ca. 1667, dubbed “The Jewish Bride” in the 19th century, shows us why he is so admired and popular.

Another famous painter, Vincent Van Gogh, sat before “The Jewish Bride” for several hours. When it was time to go, he said: “I would give ten years of my life if I could sit here for a fortnight with only a crust of dry bread to sustain me.”

Closer examination has revealed that this is a painting of the Biblical characters Isaac and Rebecca (Genesis 26). In a preparatory sketch, Abimelek, king of the Philistines, stands at a window, looking with surprise at the intimacy of Isaac and Rebecca, who were pretending to be brother and sister. Some art historians think it may be a portrait of a real particular couple, posing as Isaac and Rebecca.

The story in Genesis 26 ends with Abimelek saying: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” As with every story in Genesis, this one too carries the theological weight of being a demonstration of Divine Providence; God is watching over this couple, who have been chosen to be members of the genealogy of the Messiah.

The husband and wife are so deeply united that they don’t need to gaze into each other’s eyes. They are looking elsewhere, possessed of their own thoughts, but there is no doubt in the viewer’s mind that they are united. Their gaze is not the over-eager mutual preoccupation of puppy-dog love, but the trusting interior gaze of a man and woman who have committed their lives, their bodies, their futures, their progeny, to one another, “for keeps,” for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do them part.

The man’s sleeve (what a magnificent sleeve of shimmering gold!) leads to the hands joined together, his right hand gently on her bosom, her left hand softly covering his. There is a combination here of great strength and immense tenderness that makes one feel the rightness of this relationship, the permanence of affection in spite of trial and hardship. The other two hands—his left, circled around her shoulder, and her right, resting peacefully on her bosom, suggest protection, stability, and, discreetly, modestly, hopefully, the promise of children in the womb. The parallelism of the male and female hands, which seem to echo one another, lends balance and rhythm to the composition, in keeping with Rembrandt’s impeccable sense of order in motion.

A definite hierarchy is portrayed, whereby the man is over the woman as her head (the man is literally taller than his bride, larger, stronger); and yet his headship takes the form of a kindly inclination towards her, obviously seeking her good, and in awe of her dignity and beauty, of which he is unworthy, even if God has placed him in charge of her. It is as if his very touch is reverent and respectful, not voracious, presumptuous, or rough.

The colors of gold and red suggest kingliness, majesty, riches. They are wearing their brightest and best. But gold is valuable in the eye of the beholder, and red is the color of blood. He is valuable because she values him in her heart. He is ready to bestow what he can upon her, in body and soul, and she is ready to make sacrifices for his sake and for the family he will beget with her.

All this, and far more, Rembrandt magically and masterfully portrays, all from the tip of his brush dipped in oil paints, guided by a heart that has known love, tragedy, remorse, success, and struggle. We see in his work realism taken to another level. It is poetic realism, whereby what is seen on the outside is a manifestation of the inner reality of the characters in their relationship. Their souls are more real than their bodies, their souls give life and meaning to their bodies, and yet we see all this only through their physical appearance. From this painting it is but a single step to John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

“The Jewish Bride” is today in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which also contains masterpieces by Vermeer, whose work we will take a look at in time to come.

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