All articles from July 11, 2018


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Vatican: Consecrated virgins no longer have to be virgins

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Women seeking to join the Order of Consecrated Virgins will no longer have to be virgins, according to the new guidelines for the vocation.

The new Instruction for the Order of Virgins, “Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago” (“Image of  the Bride-Church”), released July 4 by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, says the call to perpetual chastity as a consecrated woman living in the world cannot be reduced to “the symbol of physical integrity.”

Therefore, the instruction continues, “ ... to have kept her body in perfect continence or to have practiced the virtue of chastity in an exemplary way, while of great importance with regard to the discernment, are not essential prerequisites in the absence of which consecration is not possible” (ESI, 88).  

Nevertheless, no woman who has ever been married is permitted to join the order.

Canon lawyer Ed Peters pointed out a paradox. “Now, according to the plain terms of ESI, the Blessed Virgin Mary, archetype of virginity consecrated to God, would not be eligible for admission to the order of virgins, but Mary Magdalene, model for women who, Deo gratias, set aside a promiscuous life, would be eligible.”

“Something, I suggest, is seriously wrong with such norms.”

In examining the guidelines’ exclusion of any married woman, including married virgins, Peters stated that “using a woman’s marital status as a circumlocution for whether she is a virgin obscures what is being consecrated.”

That is, her virginity.

Peters also pointed out that both the 1970 Rite that re-established the ancient order and ESI forbids women who have “violated chastity” in some notable way, confusing the virtue of chastity with the fact of virginity.

“Simply put, women can violate chastity in many ways, but in only one way do they lose their virginity,” Peters wrote.  

He observed, however, that ESI 93 clarifies that by “unchastity” it means that a woman has “never lived in public or open violation of chastity, that is, in a stable situation of cohabitation or in similar situations that would have been publicly known.”

In Peters’ opinion, this covers the majority of cases in which women have carried out unchaste acts “yet not acts destructive of their virginity” and may still be considered for admission to the Order of Consecrated Virgins.

‘Without virginity, there’s no vocation to the Order of Virgins’

But then there’s the problem that ESI has introduced: the novelty of non-virgins being allowed to join an order of virgins.

“Without virginity, there’s no vocation to the Order of Virgins anymore,” Therese Ivers told LifeSiteNews.

Ivers is a American canon lawyer recognized by the Vatican as an expert in consecrated life as well as a member of the OCV.

She believes that without virginity being a prerequisite for admission to her order, there is “no resemblance” and “no continuity” to the Order as it was in the past and has been since 1970.  

“Whatever the dicastery is conceiving of as the Order of Virgins now, it is not the entity existing prior to the Instruction,” she continued.

Ed Peters called the assertion of ESI, paragraph 88, which permits non-virgins to enter the order “simply stunning.”

“Under it, Mary Magdalene, extreme in her sins but outstanding in her repentance, seems eligible for consecration as a virgin,” Peters wrote. “More practically, many, many women, less obvious in sexual sin and likely less perfect in repentance, are now eligible for consecration precisely as virgins.”

The canon lawyer pointed out that the document also confuses the expressions “virginity,” “physical integrity” and “perfect continence”:  

“First, the straw man of ‘physical integrity’ (basically, an intact hymen) is cited as if that were proof of a woman’s virginity (which it obviously is not … ),” Peters stated. “But then, having rightly warned the reader not to focus on ‘physical integrity’ as if that were virginity, ESI immediately substitutes “perfect continence” — another unfamiliar term but one describing a situation that, if verified, would satisfy as proof of virginity! — and rejects it as being necessary for admission to the order of virgins.”

In other words, the quasi-mythical physical “sign” of the intact hymen (which can be lost without conscious choice) was rejected as a prerequisite, but so was the very real moral sign of virginity: never having consented to genital intercourse.

Peters said he knew of no other church document that denied that virginity was required for one’s consecration as a virgin. Hitherto, this has always been a requirement for the Order of Consecration of Virgins.

‘Virginity is lost only when there is willed genital activity’

Ivers told LifeSiteNews that there is a lot of confusion about what virginity really is.

“For Catholics, virginity is not defined as the ‘physical integrity’ of the (hymen),” she said. “Virginity is lost only when there is willed genital activity.”

Whether this willed genital activity is done alone or with another, then “virginity is irreparably lost.”

Ivers explained that “spiritual virginity” is also often misunderstood. Spiritual virginity is not the mere intention to live chastely or remain a virgin until marriage but “what happens when one intends to give one’s virginity to the Lord for the sake of the Kingdom.” This determination to remain a virgin for Christ — not for any other reason — is also known as the “virtue of virginity” when it is combined with the absence of the experience of genital activity.

Consecrated virginity is the mystical marriage of the virgin to Christ, involving an indissoluble bond.

‘We knew and feared the Italians would have the only significant input’

A source within the OCV who spoke only under condition of anonymity told LifeSiteNews that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith might not uphold the Instruction.  

“I’m not sure the CDF saw it,” the source said. “There’s an interesting little paragraph that says that in cases of grave necessity the Rite can be delegated. The CDF forbade delegation to non-bishops when the Rite was promulgated in 1970.”

This is because the bishop represents Christ in the consecration of the virgin as the Bride of Christ and always has.

“I know hundreds of consecrated virgins who weren’t consulted, but I also know the two who work in the Vatican who were presumably consulted and don’t believe virginity is possible,” the source said. “One wrote in Sequela Christi (a Vatican publication) that a one-night stand is acceptable (in the past of a candidate) as long as it’s not publicly known.”

“That’s why we knew and feared the Italians would have the only significant input.”

The source described the new guidelines as an attack on her order, on marriage, and on the Church itself. She was particularly anguished by a passage stating that a consecrated virgin can be dispensed from her obligations, which means that human marriage and sex remains on the table.  

“Consecrated virgins are living embodiments of the Church,” she said. “To be a consecrated virgin means to be a bride of Christ. This is the only vocation that claims to have an indissoluble nuptial bond with Christ. Now we are saying that Christ can have a divorce.”

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James Risdon

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‘GROPE’ t-shirts mock self-professed feminist Trudeau over groping allegations

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TORONTO, July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A t-shirt with a mugshot of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the word “GROPE” emblazoned underneath is the latest response to the Canadian politician’s alleged groping of a female reporter.

Toronto-based conservative news outlet The Rebel Media is selling the t-shirts for $25, plus shipping, through the website gropeshirt.com. The shirt is inspired by the iconic “HOPE” shirts from U.S. President Barack Obama’s first campaign. (During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, conservatives wore similar shirts with an image of Bill Clinton bearing the words “RAPE,” a reference to the rape and sexual misconduct allegations he has faced throughout his political career.)

“Justin Trudeau thinks he can get away with sexually groping a young female reporter. He thinks the public will forget all about it over the summer – and he might be right,” The Rebel co-founder Ezra Levant says in a promotional video.

“Trudeau thinks he can brazen it out. I’ve got a better idea. Let’s remind him of it every day,” he says.

The allegations against the Canadian prime minister have not been proven in a court of law.

The RCMP’s Creston detachment has not investigated the alleged sexual harassment or abuse because there was never a police complaint filed in connection with these allegations.

They first came to light in an editorial in the Creston Valley Advance, in early August 2000.

Trudeau, then a private citizen, was in that British Columbia community for a beer company-sponsored music festival where money was presented for avalanche safety in memory of Trudeau’s deceased brother.

Michel Trudeau, the youngest of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s sons, died in an avalanche in 1998 while skiing in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park.

Rose Knight, who was a young female reporter going by her maiden name of Rose Matjasic in 2000, penned an editorial for the Creston Valley Advance. In it, she alleged Trudeau inappropriately handled her and strongly suggested that this touching involved groping.

Knight was then also writing for the National Post and Vancouver Sun. According to her editorial, Trudeau apologized a day after the alleged groping.

“I‘m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national newspaper, I never would have been so forward,” she quotes him as saying in that editorial.

Earlier this year, those allegations resurfaced, apparently driven by the high standard Trudeau has set, as a self-professed male feminist, for sexual harassment and sexual abuse allegations. He has had a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to men behaving badly in his caucus.

When Liberal MP Kent Hehr, who is a quadriplegic and has limited muscular control and feeling in his arms, was hit with sexual harassment and sexual abuse allegations, for example, he resigned from cabinet.

Trudeau never invited the Calgary MP back.

When it comes to the allegations about his own behavior, through, the prime minister has steadfastly maintained – despite apologizing to Knight 18 years ago – that he did nothing wrong.

“I am confident I did not act inappropriately,” Trudeau has told news reporters. “I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently.”

Levant has come out swinging, saying those statements by the prime minister are tantamount to accusing Knight of lying about what happened.

“It’s pretty clear he’s saying she’s a liar,” Levant claims in a The Rebel report.

Not so, says Knight.

In a statement, the former reporter insists, “The incident referred to in the editorial did occur, as reported. Mr. Trudeau did apologize the next day.”

She is refusing to comment further on the incident.

The Rebel, though, wants to keep the allegations against Trudeau fresh in the public’s mind.

“I think thousands of Canadians should wear this new shirt, in public. To show Trudeau we know who he is,” reads a message below a video of Levant on The Rebel website.

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A scene from the vulgar New York City Planned Parenthood ad. YouTube
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Abortion giant Planned Parenthood resorts to F-bombs to bring in money

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July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Abortion juggernaut Planned Parenthood is running an F-bomb-laden video ad campaign to grab New Yorkers’ attention with encouragements to have all kinds of sex.

The abortion provider then hits them up with a request for a donation.

“F*** New Yorkers who love to complain,” says a young woman walking down a New York City street within seconds of the start of that video.

“F*** everyone about to get F’d by the L train,” says a young man.

Others quickly take up the mantra.

“F*** manspreaders!” “F*** subletters!” “F*** anyone who can afford their rent!” “F*** whoever has a washer/dryer in their F-ing apartment!”

As the F-bombs keep coming, the tone of the video shifts from one showing people apparently upset at their fellow New Yorkers to those expressing a more carnal interest.

As a bit of theatre, it’s a surreal blend of slavish adherence to the current politically-correct orthodoxy and a complete surrender to senseless vulgarity.

The ad shows people of several races, those who are overweight as well as those who are lean and lanky, both the young and the, ah, not-so-young. There’s a mature woman apparently on the prowl for a younger, male bartender. The LGBTQ community is well represented.

Two black men are shown in bed together as a narrator voices over: “F*** your loud-as-F*** upstairs neighbor.”

Based on figures from its annual reports, Planned Parenthood has aborted more than 7.6 million babies from 1973 through to 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans, though, include defunding Planned Parenthood, preventing it from using tax dollars to cover the cost of abortions.

Planned Parenthood New York City did not respond to a media request to comment on the latest media campaign.

The organization, though, is clearly fighting back against plans to defund its abortion operations.

In this marketing blitz clearly targeted at millennials, Planned Parenthood New York City is using the shock value of the gratuitous use of the F-word and the natural appeal of sex to raise money.

It might work.

Velocity, a content marketing and branding company with offices in New York City and London, England, has an explanation on its website of just why the use of vulgarity can be an effective tool for marketers.

“Swear words are surprising in a marketing context and surprising audiences is one of our most important and toughest challenges,” wrote Doug Kessler, Velocity’s creative director. “When people are marketed to, they put up that invisible, anti-spin force-field to resist the charms of the wicked hype-meisters (as, let’s face it, they have good reason to do).

“When marketing looks, smells and tastes like marketing, the force-field stays up,” Kessler wrote. “But when it doesn’t look, smell and taste like marketing – when it surprises – the force-field comes down and the reader leans forward just a bit.”

It is ironically the very taboo against vulgarity and swearing that can make it effective as a marketing tool.

“Swearing says, ‘We’re not rule-bound. We’re confident enough to break some rules and ignore taboos,’” Kessler explained.

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Canadian Jesuit asks order to make stopping abortion world-wide top priority

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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Canadian Jesuit who has fasted and prayed on Parliament Hill for nearly 30 years to end abortion has blasted his order for being silent on “the worldwide genocide of the preborn” for the same length of time.

Fr. Tony Van Hee, who will be 83 in September, also issued a heartfelt plea in a February letter to Jesuit superior general Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal that the Jesuits make ending abortion a top priority.

It was his personal response to Abascal’s request for proposals by January 2019 for new “universal apostolic preferences” to direct Jesuit missionary efforts worldwide for the next decade.

“Is there a need of the universal Church more pressing than ending the greatest destroyer of peace in the world today, and in my and others’ opinion, the single greatest evil in all human history, apart from the death of Christ?” wrote Van Hee.

“Is there not something dreadfully, dreadfully, dreadfully wrong with a discernment process that has not said a word about abortion for at least the past 34 years…?” he questioned.

He also slammed past general superiors Peter-Hans Kolvenbach and Adolfo Nicolas.

“Not once — and I stand to be corrected on this — not once did either of them ever mention abortion by written or spoken word to the whole Society,” Van Hee wrote.

Quo vadis, Jesuits?

The Society of Jesus has been regarded as an elite force in the Church since Basque soldier St. Ignatius of Loyola founded it in France in 1534 in the shattering aftermath of the Protestant Reformation.

Jesuits undergo an intellectually rigorous formation that is the longest of any religious order, and take a special vow of obedience to the Holy Father for direction in their work, which is mainly in education.

They also seem to have a penchant for arousing enmity against them.

The Society’s explosive growth, and apparent power and influence in New World colonies — including rumours it had there amassed piles of gold — aroused such envy, fear and suspicion in the courts of Spain, France, Portugal and Austria that Jesuits were persecuted and expelled from those countries in the 18th century.

Pope Clement XIV bowed to the will of the monarchs by issuing a bull in 1773 declaring the “name of the company shall be forever extinguished and suppressed” — an edict ignored by Cathering the Great in Russia allowing the Jesuits to survive until Pope Pius VII restored the order in 1814.

Following Vatican II, the Society of Jesus -- with some significant exceptions -- became synonymous with liberal views within the Church.

Moreover, its membership declined sharply, falling from 36,038 in 1965 to about half that in 2011, according to data from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. The total membership in 2016 was 16,378.

Van Hee recalls that in Canada in 1965 there were 475 Jesuits in the English province, and over 800 in the French province. Now, there are 130 in the English and 50 in the French, which are amalgamating this month, he told LifeSiteNews.

Still and all, the Society of Jesus remains the single largest religious congregation of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church, working in 122 countries on six continents, and arguably retains much of its almost uncanny mystique and prestige, as well as an ability to provoke censure, justified or not.

Notably, Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and the order’s superior general is traditionally dubbed the “Black Pope” because of his sway in the Church.

Moreover, the influential Rome-based Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, reviewed by the Vatican’s secretary of state before publication, is seen as reflecting the official views of the Holy See, and current editor is papal confidante and “mouthpiece,” Jesuit Antonio Spadaro.

Have Jesuits succumbed to “human respect”?

Van Hee has received no answer from Abascal, nor, at this point, does he expect one, he told LifeSiteNews.

A Venezuelan, Abascal stirred controversy since his 2017 election by opining Satan is a “symbolic figure” who doesn’t really exist, and Jesus’ words against divorce are “relative” and to be interpreted according to individual conscience.

As for Van Hee, he was arrested three times in the late 80s with Operation Rescue, a non-violent intervention to save mothers and children from the violence of abortion, the Catholic Register reported recently.

Since 1989, he has endured cold, wrath, vandalism, and more recently, pettifogging rules as he witnesses on Parliament Hill to Canada’s abortion victims when the House of Commons is sitting.

Van Hee fears the Jesuits have succumbed to the “sin of human respect.”

He pointed to a warning by Dr. Jeff Mirus in Catholic Culture against the temptation to be “respecters of persons” and influenced by “the prejudices of the dominant culture.”

Indeed, the “Modernist makes God Himself a victim of human culture,” Mirus writes, “denying even to Him the ability to transcend what those He has created have wrought.”

Despite this, Van Hee pleaded with Abascal in his letter to emulate the Society’s superiors who rallied Jesuits to enter Elizabethan England to minister to recusant Catholics, knowing their capture would mean a gruesome death.

He quoted former Anglican deacon St. Edmund Campion, who before he was captured, imprisoned in the Tower of London, racked at least twice before being hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, penned his apologia — disparagingly referred to as “Campion’s Brag”:

...be it known to you that we have made a league — all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England — cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons.

At the voice of our General, which is to me a warrant from heaven and oracle of Christ, I took my voyage from Prague to Rome…and from Rome to England, as I might and would have done joyously into any part of Christendom or heathenness, had I been thereto assigned.

“It seems to me that’s the way we should have handled” abortion, Van Hee said. “We should have been that concerned about it,” and had “that confidence, that with God’s help,” the Jesuits could play a major role in stopping the “worldwide genocide of the preborn.”

“I think it’s when we were at our best,” he said.

Here is Fr. Van Hee’s letter in full:

 

Dear Father General, Arturo Sosa,                          Feb 20/18

May the Peace of Christ be with you always!

As my participation in the discernment of universal apostolic preferences (Letter, 2017/13), I am recommending ending abortion as a new universal apostolic preference.

Under the title, “Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace”, on page 2, the letter says, “In order to enter into this discernment of preferences with great spirit and generosity, we will lay out the framework within which we propose to work.”

It was not clear to me exactly what that framework was so I chose three short statements which seemed to be prominent, namely, “Reconciliation is today the most heartrending cry of humanity”, secondly, “Our Faith proclaims that Reconciliation and Justice lead to Peace” p 2), and thirdly, “Peace is the defining gift of God” (p 3).

Ending abortion would then be part of Justice and part of Peace. Justice for the Unborn would be to give them their fundamental right, the right to life.

And according to St Teresa of Calcutta: “I have said often, and I am sure of it, that the greatest destroyer of peace in the world today is abortion. If a mother can kill her own child, what is there to stop you and me from killing each other?” (Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, September 9, 1994).  

So I place the mission of ending abortion under the overall framework of “Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace”, taking to heart the following words of the letter, especially in the light of the harsh criticism I am about to make of the Society’s present discernment process:

“Justice is possible when human beings are made just by God’s action. Justice becomes reality when human beings, responding to the action of the Holy Spirit, follow the path of reconciliation by a conversion of heart that leads us to recognize our errors and ask for and receive forgiveness for them” (p 3).

In support of my recommendation to make ending abortion a new universal apostolic preference, I ask:

“Is there not something dreadfully, dreadfully, dreadfully wrong with a discernment process which has been unable, up to the present, to identify worldwide abortion as a universal apostolic preference for the Society of Jesus?

“Is there not something dreadfully, dreadfully, dreadfully wrong with a discernment process that has not said a word about abortion for at least the past 34 years, that is, since September 13, 1983, in the face of almost universal acceptance and promotion of abortion by those in power in the Western World; in the United Kingdom since October 27, 1967, in Canada since May 14, 1969, in the U.S. since January 22, 1973?”

Such is the case of our past two Generals, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach (September 13, 1983-January 14, 2008) and Adolfo Nicolas (January19, 2008—October 3, 2016). Not once -- and I stand to be corrected on this – not once did either of them ever mention abortion by written or spoken word TO THE WHOLE SOCIETY.

In Decree 21 n. 28, of General Congregation 34 (January 5-March 22, 1995) it is mandated in regard to Priorities:

“Father General … will discern the greater needs of the universal Church and will establish global and regional priorities”.

Is there a need of the universal Church more pressing than ending the greatest destroyer of peace in the world today, and in my and others’ opinion, the single greatest evil in all of human history, apart from the death of Christ?

Please, Father General, rally the members of the Society as did Fathers General Everard Mercurian and Claudius Aquaviva in regard to a much lesser evil, the Faith in Elizabethan England, which led to Campion’s Brag:

And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league—all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England—cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.”

At the voice of our General”, Campion says, “which is to me a warrant from heaven and oracle of Christ, I took my voyage from Prague to Rome (where our General Father is always resident) and from Rome to England, as I might and would have done joyously into any part of Christendom or Heatheness, had I been thereto assigned.”

With all due respect, and with much gratitude for the Society of Jesus, and with prayers and God’s Blessing+,

Fr Tony Van Hee, S.J.,
Jesuits in English Canada

Copy to: Fr Provincial, Peter Bisson, S.J.

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Sarah Palin blasts Sacha Baron Cohen for mocking, impersonating vets in interview

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By Calvin Freiburger

July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen impersonated a disabled military veteran to trick Sarah Palin into an interview meant to be humiliating, the former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee claimed Tuesday.

Via a request from a speakers bureau, “my daughter and I were asked to travel across the country where Cohen (I presume) had heavily disguised himself as a disabled U.S. veteran, fake wheelchair and all,” Palin explained on her website. “Out of respect for what I was led to believe would be a thoughtful discussion with someone who had served in uniform, I sat through a long ‘interview’ full of Hollywoodism’s disrespect and sarcasm – but finally had enough and literally, physically removed my mic and walked out, much to Cohen’s chagrin.”

The pro-life, pro-family mother of five accused Cohen, best known for HBO’s Da Ali G Show and his 2006 mockumentary Borat, of “disrespect(ing)” the U.S. military and middle-class Americans through “evil, exploitive, sick ‘humor.’”

In addition, Palin claimed that “after great costs on our part in time and resources,” Cohen’s production team “purposefully dropped my daughter and me off at the wrong Washington, D.C. airport after the fake interview, knowing we’d miss all flights back home to Alaska.” She added that they “refus(ed) to take our calls to help get us out of the bind they’d put us in for three days.”

Most of Cohen’s work consists of assuming fictitious personas and filming himself interacting with real people (including a range of public figures) who are unaware he’s playing a role, and capturing humorous or unintentionally-humiliating footage of them.

Palin’s accusation comes as Cohen released a trailer for his upcoming series Who Is America? that premieres July 15 on the CBS-owned Showtime. It teases former Vice President Dick Cheney as another unsuspecting interview subject.

The Drudge Report’s Matt Drudge issued a public warning Monday. “Both Republicans and Democrats are getting caught up in the madness. Sacha has finked Cheney, Palin, Howard Dean, Alberto Gonzales, Bernie, Trent Lott, Patraeus (sic, presumably Gen. David Petraeus), Ted Koppel, and more.”

Following Palin’s statements, conservative radio host and former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Illinois, said he “totally believe(d) Palin’s account, revealing that he too had once fallen prey to Cohen’s tactics. “Dressing up as a wounded veteran is absolutely stolen valor. His tactics are disguisting (sic),” Walsh said.

Cohen also has a history of bad blood with President Donald Trump, stemming from the former catching the latter in a prank interview in 2003, long before the real estate mogul’s reinvention as a Republican political figure.

Palin issued a challenge to Cohen, CBS, and Showtime to donate the show’s proceeds to a veterans’ charity.

“Mock politicians and innocent public personalities all you want, if that lets you sleep at night, but HOW DARE YOU mock those who have fought and served our country,” she declared.

“CBS and Showtime did not immediately comment on Palin's criticisms,” NBC News reported. Cohen has not publicly responded either.

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Franklin Graham: Jimmy Carter ‘absolutely wrong’ about Jesus backing abortion, gay ‘marriage’

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By Calvin Freiburger

BOONE, North Carolina, July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham took to social media on Tuesday to forcefully denounce former Democrat President Jimmy Carter’s claim that Jesus Christ would embrace same-sex “marriage” and at least some abortions.

Over the past few days, several websites have drawn attention to a 2015 interview Carter gave to HuffPost Live in which he discussed the tension between his professed Baptist faith and the left-wing dictates of his party.

Faith has “always been important in my life. Y’know, I’m a born-again Christian, so-called, I’m a Baptist. I taught Sunday school the day before yesterday, I’ll be teaching again next Sunday, I teach every Sunday that I’m home in Plains,” he told interviewer Marc Lamont Hill, claiming to have “never run across any really serious conflicts between my political obligations and my religious faith.”

However, he went on to claim that “Jesus would approve gay marriage,” admitting he didn’t “have any verse in Scripture” to substantiate that claim. He asserted, “Jesus would encourage any sort of love affair that was honest and sincere, and was not damaging to anyone else.”

Carter admitted that abortion “has been a long-time problem of mine” and that Jesus would not “approve” of it, although he made the unsupported claim that Jesus would make an exception if “it was because of a rape or incest or if the mother’s life was in danger.” As president he ultimately ducked the issue by claiming “my oath of office was to obey the Constitution and the laws of this country as interpreted by the Supreme Court.” (In fact, several pro-abortion legal scholars admit Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.)

In a July 9 Facebook post, Graham reminded the 93-year-old former president that “Jesus didn’t come to promote sin, He came to save us from sin. The Bible is very clear. God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality.”

Graham, the eldest son of the late Rev. Billy Graham and head of the globally-active religious charity Samaritan’s Purse, called the possibility of Graham’s comments misleading people “very troubling,” and stressed that sin is defined by God’s Word rather than popular opinion. 

“God loves us and gives us the truth in His Word,” he said. “He warns us of the serious consequences of sin.”

Graham went on to cite Romans 1:24-27, which states:

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

As for abortion, the Bible repeatedly condemns “murder” and “shed[ding] innocent blood” as “detestable to” the Lord, because “in the image of God has God made mankind.”

“What’s the conclusion, then, that pops out here?” pro-life apologist Scott Klusendorf has written. “Well, there’s really only one question left to ask. If the unborn are human, then the same commands that forbid the shedding of innocent blood in these other cases apply to them as well.” Long-settled biological criteria and mainstream medical textbooks establish that a whole, distinct, living human exists once fertilization has occurred.

Carter endorsed same-sex “marriage” in 2012, and has previously said it’s time for the United States to elect an openly-homosexual president. According to The Real Jimmy Carter author Steven Hayward, Carter’s abortion stance has always been defined more by political expediency than faith.

“In the [1976] Iowa caucuses, which Carter put on the map for the first time, Carter told Catholic audiences (and a gathering of bishops) that he opposed abortion and supported legislation to restrict it, thus cutting into Shriver’s support,” Hayward says. “But he told feminist groups at the same time that he supported abortion rights (indeed, he had done so as governor of Georgia).”

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Bishop Paprocki disagrees with US bishops’ support for unions that fund abortion, LGBT

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By Doug Mainwaring

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, July 11, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Hailed by free speech and religious liberty advocates alike, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that public sector employees can no longer be required to pay mandatory fees to support unions which promote causes and political activities – including abortion – to which they are opposed.  

The ruling has also exposed a significant rift among the nation’s Catholic bishops.

Despite public sector unions’ unabashed political and financial support for abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and transgenderism, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) sided with the union and against the free speech rights of the complainant.

After the case was decided against the union, Bishop Frank Dewane, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed the USCCB’s disappointment with the Supreme Court’s decision, citing “the long-held view of so many bishops” in support of unions.

The case, known as Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), was initiated by Mark Janus of Springfield, Illinois, the seat of Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s diocese.  

Bishop Paprocki, frequently outspoken regarding his orthodox views, disagreed with his brother bishops at the USCCB.  

Here is a portion of his remarks, delivered via video:  

I respectfully disagree. Let me explain why.

The long-held view of so many bishops in support of unions is generally understood to go back to the time of Pope Leo XIII, who issued an encyclical letter in 1891 on the rights and duties of capital and labor, entitled, Rerum Novarum.

While this encyclical voiced strong support for the workers, particularly the right to form unions, this support was never unconditional.  Rather, Pope Leo wrote in paragraph 57 that unions:

must pay special and chief attention to the duties of religion and morality, and that social betterment should have this chiefly in view; otherwise they would lose wholly their special character, and end by becoming little better than those societies which take no account whatever of religion.  What advantage can it be to a working man to obtain by means of a society material well-being, if he endangers his soul for lack of spiritual food?  ‘What doeth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?’ (Matthew 16:26).

In this regard then, unions should not expect the unquestioning support of the Church, when their objectives are contrary to the duties of religion and morality.

Today a number of unions actively promote abortion rights.  Three of the nation’s biggest unions, including AFSCME, contributed $435,000 to the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, in 2014.  

As a matter of policy, the delegates to the AFSCME national convention meeting in Chicago in 2014 complained that, “healthcare laws have restricted the places where abortions can be performed,” and voted to “oppose legislation that restricts a woman’s basic right to health care and reproductive rights,” by which they mean, of course, abortion.

Forcing public employees to subsidize unions that promote such immoral policies and activities is just not right.  

It is encouraging  that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME upholds the right to be free from coercion in speech.  As Pope St. John Paul II said, “God’s law does not reduce, much less do away with human freedom; rather, it protects and promotes that freedom,” (Veritas Splendor, n. 35).

No longer will public sector employees be required to pay mandatory dues to support unions that promote abortion and other political issues with which they disagree.

May God give us this grace. Amen.

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BREAKING: Ontario Ford Tories to repeal Wynne sex ed by September

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By Lianne Laurence

Send a THANK YOU to Doug Ford now for protecting our children! Click here

TORONTO, July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives are repealing former Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s controversial sex-ed curriculum by September.

Education Minister Lisa Thompson told reporters Wednesday Ontario’s schools will revert to the 1998 sex-ed curriculum, which was in place before the Liberals rolled out their reviled sex-ed program in 2015 in the face of unprecedented and massive parental backlash.

“The sex-ed component is going to be reverted back to the manner in which it was prior to the changes that were introduced by the Liberal government,” Thompson told reporters, as quoted in the Toronto Star.

Thompson said ministry staff are working to let school boards know to revert to the 1998 sex-ed curriculum by the fall, and that her ministry will move swiftly to begin broad consultations with parents on a sex-ed update, reported Canadian Press.

The news came on the first day of a rare summer session Ford’s majority government called at Queen’s Park just a month after the landslide Tory victory in the general election.

MPPs also elected PC Party Ted Arnott (Wellington-Halton Hills) as speaker. The speech from the throne to officially kick off the new session is scheduled for Thursday.

Tanya Granic Allen, president of parents’ rights group Parents As First Educators, was elated at Thompson’s announcement.

"The parents of Ontario deserve credit for this", she told LifeSiteNews. "Since election night, we have been demanding the Wynne sex-ed be repealed by September. Thank you Minister Lisa Thompson for listening to the parents."

Campaign Life Coalition, which launched a petition signed by almost 16,000 people to date to repeal the Wynne sex-ed by September, also welcomed the news.  

"We are very happy to see the radical sex curriculum repealed," said CLC National President Jim Hughes in a Wednesday press release. "We look forward to the genuine consultations with parents and hope that Wynne's ideological agenda will be scrapped completely."

Send a THANK YOU to Doug Ford now for protecting our children! Click here

CLC vice president Jeff Gunnarson echoed the need for proper consultation.

"Wynne had fake consultations with one carefully selected parent representative from a mere 1638 schools answering a vague questionnaire with motherhood statements that everybody would agree with," said Gunnarson. 

"The Ford government needs to consult all the parents across Ontario who care deeply about the facts and values their children learn in their early, formative years as young kids and pre-teens," he said. "Furthermore, that consultation should enable feedback in multiple languages, so that parents in ethnic communities, who speak Chinese, Arabic, Punjabi and others, are actually able to participate."

“We are overjoyed by this announcement!  Doug Ford has listened to the pleas of parents and kept his promise,” CLC senior political strategist Jack Fonseca told LifeSiteNews.

“Our vulnerable little children won’t have to suffer the Liberal indoctrination and programmatic sexual confusion for one more day.  When our kids start school in September, the classroom will be much less dangerous, praise be to God,” he said.

“We encourage all parents and grandparents to send Doug Ford a note of thanks.”

PAFE and CLC were among the foremost critics of the Liberal sex-ed curriculum, warning it prematurely sexualizes children by introducing them to sexual concepts at too early an age.

The Wynne sex-ed curriculum introduces homosexuality and gender identity in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6, and oral and anal sex in Grade 7. It advises Grade 7 children to carry a condom in case they engage in sexual activity, and Grade 8 children to think up a sexual plan. It teaches there are six genders rather than the two biological sexes of male and female.

PAFE and CLC also pointed out that former deputy minister of education Ben Levin was the architect of the 2010 sex-ed curriculum, which is virtually identical to the 2015 version and which was shelved by Premier Dalton McGuinty after huge parental outcry.

Levin was convicted in 2015 of three child pornography-related offences — including counselling to commit rape, in this case, of a minor — and sentenced to three years in prison.

Fonseca says the work is far from over.

“The next step now for the parental rights and anti-child sexualization movement is to ensure that the consultation process to write a new sex ed curriculum is truly informed by the parents of Ontario,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“We need to ensure that the same left-wing radicals who helped Wynne & Levin write the repealed curriculum – groups like Planned Parenthood Toronto, OPHEA and Queer Ontario – are no longer consulted as so-called ‘sexual education experts’,” he observed.

“Planned Parenthood encourages unhealthy practices like anal ‘fisting’ and the viewing of pornography by children. OPHEA publishes radical sex ed resources like ‘The Guide to Getting it On” book. Queer Ontario advocates for the normalization of sexual bondage and group sex,” Fonseca warned.

“None of them should ever have been consulted as experts, and parents need to respectfully lobby the Minister Thompson to ensure she stays far away from these far-left activists groups,” he said.

Granic Allen also emphasized that the Tories must ensure schools give parents advance notification and opt-out.

“There must be a very clear, uniform, across-the-board advance notification of when these lessons are taught, and parents can opt out,” she told LifeSiteNews in an earlier interview.

The mother of four ran for the PC Party leadership on a platform of repealing the Wynne sex-ed curriculum and replacing it with one developed with parental consultation, and emerged as kingmaker when her supporters backed Ford as their second choice on the ranked ballot.

Ford adopted Granic Allen’s position during his campaign, promising to revert to the 1998 sex-ed curriculum, and consult with parents on an update.

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YouTube announces plan to fund news orgs it deems ‘authoritative’

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By Calvin Freiburger

July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The world’s largest video platform announced this week that it’s becoming the latest tech giant to attempt to define what constitutes “trusted journalis[m]” for its users, in this case by spending money to promote “authoritative” news sources.

Search giant Google, which owns YouTube, announced Monday that it plans to spend $25 million on a broad-ranging initiative to support news publishers worldwide in the various technical aspects of publishing, help news organizations build “sustainable video operations” in 20 global markets, and form a working group with various news organizations and experts.

The working group’s stated objective will be to help “develop new product features, improve the news experience on YouTube, and tackle emerging challenges.” Its membership will be expanded in the coming weeks, but early members include the Brazil-based Jovem Pan News, India Today, and the left-wing Vox Media.

The company also detailed a handful of other features to showcase breaking and local news, its investment in “digital literacy” education, and features to provide “context” to news videos, such as attaching to videos links to related videos “from third parties, including Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica.”

These are meant to both help users “choose and make their own judgments about the information they consume along with context to inform their judgments,” YouTube says, as well as address “well-established historical and scientific topics that have often been subject to misinformation, like the moon landing and the Oklahoma City Bombing.”

But the detail receiving the most attention is YouTube’s announcement that it is spending money on new features that would “prominently surface authoritative sources,” citing the importance of “[a]uthoritativeness” during “fast-moving, breaking news events.” It did not provide examples of what sources it considers authoritative, or explain its criteria for choosing them.

Apple and Facebook have previously announced similar plans to define for their users what constitutes trustworthy news.

“We remain committed to working with the journalism community to build a more sustainable video ecosystem for news organizations,” Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan and Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl said. “We know there is a lot of work to do, but we’re eager to provide a better experience to users who come to YouTube every day to learn more about what is happening in the world from a diversity of sources.”

Concerns remain that the outcome will be anything but “better” and “diverse,” however.

“By directly funding news content which it will then deliberately privilege on its platform, YouTube, like other Silicon Valley companies, is moving away from its former status as a neutral platform,” Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari writes. He notes that the news follows Google’s earlier $300 million pledge to fund “quality journalism,” which was similarly vague on how “quality” is determined.

Distrust also comes from numerous accusations that YouTube, like other leading social media platforms and tech companies, censors conservative content and biases its ostensibly neutral content review processes to benefit liberals.

According to an April report from the conservative Media Research Center, YouTube has either deleted or demonetized videos from conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, pro-Donald Trump video bloggers Diamond and Silk, and several pro-gun channels, as well as entirely terminated the accounts of the conservative blog Legal Insurrection and foreign policy commentator Pamela Geller.

Last month, YouTube apologized to the pro-life Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) video channel for temporarily deleting it on the grounds that it distributed “harmful or dangerous content.” Pro-abortion activists claim abortion pill reversal is “junk science” despite having a 68 percent success rate in a recent study, raising questions as to whether YouTube’s planned “misinformation” countermeasures could improperly target videos about accurate information or valid scientific debates.

YouTube has since reversed itself in most of the above cases (except for PragerU and Diamond and Silk), but conservatives also criticize YouTube for empowering the left-wing Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which have both falsely labeled mainstream conservative organizations as “hate groups,” to flag “hateful content” for restriction.

Notably, even several leading figures in the mainstream media have cautioned against the current trend of ostensibly-neutral platforms judging acceptable and reliable content for their users. In May, a coalition of media outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and more condemned Facebook’s new practice of treating ads for political news and analysis the same as ads for political advocacy.

“Democracy depends in part on unbounded competition between different journalistic perspectives and the clash of different judgements and opinions,” New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said in a June speech on journalism and free speech. “History suggests that mainstream news organizations frequently get it right, but also that, not infrequently, it is the outliers who should be listened to,” because public assumptions on who to trust are not always correct.

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Male ‘feminist’ clothing CEO fires female employees after they learn he’d admitted to abusing women

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By Claire Chretien

July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Employees of Feminist Apparel “thought they were creating tools for the resistance” against Trump, but then learned their CEO was accused of rape and had admitted to sexually assaulting and harassing women. The employees were subsequently fired after asking him to resign in what they are calling “the patriarchy and toxic masculinity at its...finest.”

Feminist Apparel creates clothing and accessories that say things like, “riots not diets,” “trans rights are human rights,” “reproductive rights are human rights,” and “destroy gender roles [and] the gender binary.”

What led the employees to call for CEO Alan Martofel to leave was a 2013 Facebook post about how he, among other things, put a sleeping woman’s hand on his genitalia and “grinded up” on women without their consent. The post was written in the context of denouncing “rape culture” and harassment.

The fired employees spoke to Refinery29 about their disappointment with Martofel’s decidedly unfeminist way of handling things. Meanwhile, he wrote on Facebook that it became apparent his former employees “do not share my views on either business or feminism” and so will continue the company without them.

Former employees are particularly upset that Martofel was ignorant about “what it means to be an ally” and because he was “putting his opinions first and ignoring the requests and advice of people of color, queer people, and survivors, including in campaigns geared towards those groups.”

Pro-life activists often point out that supporting abortion on demand does not tend to incline men to respect women.

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Pro-abortion New York attorney general resigns after assault allegations

Radical feminist topless protest group Femen masterminded by man ‘to get girls’: documentary

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There’s a ‘better faithful alternative’ to the Vatican World Meeting of Families in Ireland

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By Lisa Bourne

DUBLIN, Ireland, July 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A “better, faithful alternative” to the World Meeting of Families will offer Catholics an opportunity to celebrate and share Christ’s vision for marriage and family life based on actual magisterial Church teachings.

A Conference of Catholic Families,” presented by the Lumen Fidei Institute, will be held August 22-23 in Dublin, Ireland, where the Vatican’s World Meeting of Families is taking place.

Conference organizers felt compelled to coordinate the conference, which will feature speakers who are uncompromising on Catholic doctrine, after witnessing the flagrant LGBT push associated with the Vatican’s meeting which will include a visit by Pope Francis.

Where the World Meeting of Families pre-event promotion has signaled that the event favours homosexuality promotion and other deviation from Catholic teaching, coordinators for “A Conference of Catholic Families” have pledged that their simultaneous conference will promote the constant and unchanging teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage and family Life.

Unflagging leaders in Catholic orthodoxy presenting for “A Conference of Catholic Families,” such as Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, will offset unorthodox voices appearing at the WMOF such as Cardinals Blasé Cupich and Christophe Schonborn.

Cardinal Raymond Burke will speak via live video feed about “Restoring a Pro Family Culture,” along with Bishop Athanasius Schneider, also giving a video address on “The situation in the Church and the Secrets of Fatima.”

Catholic concern over the troubling pro-LGBT signals sent throughout the run-up to the WMOF reached a crescendo earlier this month with the announcement that the WMOF will give fervent LGBT lobbyist and editor-at-large for “America” Magazine Father James Martin a platform to disseminate his inexorable LGBT-affirming message.

In its latest awareness raising message “A Conference of Catholic Families” censures the Vatican’s WMOF for “promoting a false anti-Catholic LGBT ideology.”

Mentioning Martin as an official speaker for the event, it terms the controversial Vatican communications consultant as “chief LGBT ideology propagandist within the Catholic Church.”

Countering the Jesuit’s pro-LGBT message in Dublin at “A Conference of Catholic Families” will be LifeSiteNews co-founder and editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen.

Westen’s talk is titled “It's hate not to tell LGBT Catholics gay sex leads to Hell.”

The international roster of Catholic professionals, authors and other speakers for “A Conference for Catholic families” also has Dr. Thomas Ward, president of the National Association of Catholic Families and member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family; Dr. Gerard van den Aardweg, prominent Dutch Catholic psychologist and psychoanalyst and expert on homosexuality; Dr. Robert Royal, Catholic author and the president of the Faith & Reason Institute; author Dr. José Antonio Ureta, founding member of Fundacion Roman, the leading pro-life and family organization in Chile, and John Smeaton, president of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and co-founder of Voice of the Family.

It also includes Professor Stephane Mercier, the professor fired by the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium for asking his students to consider arguments against abortion and gender ideology, and also Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, the theologian asked to resign last fall by the USCCB as its doctrine consultant after telling Pope Francis in a letter his papacy is marked by “chronic confusion,” and that the pope teaches with “a seemingly intentional lack of clarity.”

In the months since the WMOF’s troubling “catechesis and faith education” period began last fall several red flags have arisen surrounding the event convened by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, headed by Cardinal Kevin Farrell. 

Hard copy promotional material released for the WMOF contained explicit portrayal of a lesbian couple in an intimate embrace as an appropriate form of Christian family. After uproar ensued, the material was reissued minus the images of the lesbian couple.

Further, a video promoting the event has contained obvious pro-LGBT undertones.

And a subsequent call for WMOF volunteers contains language that signal LGBT advocacy.

Registration information for “A Conference of Catholic Families” is available HERE.

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Pennsylvania DA announces he won’t prosecute abortions after Roe v. Wade falls

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By Calvin Freiburger

PITTSBURGH, July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Democrat prosecutor in Pennsylvania has announced that he has no intention of prosecuting abortions if and when the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that forced states to allow abortion-on-demand.

“I am pro-choice and do not feel that it is appropriate for government to legislate the choices that women make regarding their own bodies,” Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said Tuesday, WPXI reports. “Therefore, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, I will not prosecute any women, medical professionals or providers for the administration of safe abortion services.”

“I am honored to continue that work on behalf of our mothers and daughters in service to the communities of Allegheny County,” he continued. Zappala, who has served as DA for 20 years, faces re-election in 2019.

The statement comes in light of President Donald Trump’s announcement of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Speculation is currently running rampant on both sides as to whether Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe, in what may be the first clear pro-life majority the court has ever had.

It’s unclear what purpose Zappala’s declaration serves beyond signaling his pro-abortion stance. Pennsylvania is not among the ten states with a pre-Roe abortion ban still on the books, and pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf has said he would veto a new ban, so there is currently no abortion prohibition Zappala would be called to enforce.

A spokeswoman told the Associated Press that as a pro-abortion officeholder, Zappala wanted voters in his district to “know how he would handle the situation.” The statements did not clarify whether Zappala was referring solely to Roe, or if he would enforce or defy a duly-enacted, state-level abortion ban.

The abortion lobby is currently taking action to insulate abortion-on-demand from a hypothetical case overturning it. Democrats in Massachusetts recently moved to repeal the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban, New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for codifying Roe’s requirements in state law, and pro-life activist Rebecca Kiessling warns that pro-abortion groups in states like Iowa, North Dakota, and Minnesota are filing lawsuits claiming a “right” to abortion rooted in state constitutions rather than Roe v. Wade.

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We’re feeding our kids to cannibals: the nightmarish state of education today

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By Jonathon van Maren

July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- Across North America, the debate surrounding sex education continues to swirl through the schools. Parental protests are popping up in British Columbia to voice disagreement with the SOGI curriculum, Parents as First Educators are pushing the Doug Ford government to roll back the radical sex-ed of the previous Liberal government, and private religious schools are battling the provincial government of Alberta in court to keep them from forcing their LGBT agenda into the independent sphere, as well. Across the United States, small pockets of parents are also doing battle with the powerful LGBT lobby that is steamrolling its way through the school system, demanding that their ideology be taught to other people’s children—and usually succeeding.

It is disturbing to stop and realize what is now considered too controversial for children, and conversely what is considered appropriate for children. Laura Ingalls Wilder, for example, has just had her name stripped from a prestigious award for children’s literature because there are passages in her books that our politically correct elites consider to be racist, or at least culturally insensitive. Interestingly, Wilder was herself a teacher, obtaining her teaching certificate in 1882 and signing on to teach a one-room schoolhouse full of children in the Dakota Territory at the age of only fifteen years old. Her mother, Caroline Quiner, was also a schoolteacher when she met and married Charles Ingalls (known to generations of children simply as “Pa”) in 1860.

It is hard to fathom the teenage Laura Ingalls or Caroline Quiner teaching the pioneer children in their little schoolhouses the sorts of things that are being forced into the curriculum by radical activists these days, but in 2018 the pioneers are out and the drag queens are in. It made me recall a thought experiment conducted by Anthony Esolen in his seminal culture war manifesto Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, where he detailed the level of education children once received in such schoolhouses: Poetry, Scripture, history, and even some Greek and Latin. (This was real history, he emphasized, not the sort of grievance-mongering that makes up much of today’s watery social studies classes.)

To illustrate the difference between then and now, Esolen asked his readers to imagine L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, who became a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse on Prince Edward Island, where “the rich red clay was good for growing potatoes and serious Presbyterians,” being asked by some Ottawa bureaucrat to begin teaching the theories of gender fluidity to her young charges. If she protested informing the little girls in the class that they could become little boys (if they decided to be) and vice versa, Anne Shirley could find herself called a bigot, abruptly dismissed, and replaced by a teacher Esolen dubs “Susie of the Sex Shop,” who is altogether too enthusiastic about teaching these sorts of things to children. Just imagine, Esolen writes, a decent and common-sensical people being faced with such teachers:

Try to imagine explaining to the old farmers of Prince Edward Island the need to teach small children how to insert, safely of course, antiseptically of course, their fingers or tongues or other protuberances into the orifice of another kid of ambiguous sex, including the anus. It is not that they would disagree with you. It is not that they would have an alternative opinion about behavior that makes old-fashioned sodomy look like a peck on the cheek. It is that they would think you had lost your mind. They would believe that you were suffering a terrifying moral and psychological illness, nigh unto demonic possession, perhaps well past it. Would they let you speak to their children? They would not want you to speak to their parents or friends or anybody, not because they would be afraid that you might persuade or entice one of them, but merely to spare their loved ones the experience of something so gross, so wicked, so repulsive, so sad. They themselves, in future years, would let the memory of it drop into the darkness and the silence. You do not make scrapbooks of slime. 

Esolen’s magnificent contempt may be jarring to some, but only because we have been lulled into forgetting a simpler time when schools sought to educate children rather than indoctrinate them. I collect antiquarian books, and I have a number of old school readers from the late 1800s and early 1900s. A brief perusal of these books will reveal children reading things before adolescence that now often do not get introduced these days until university-level English classes, if they get introduced at all. Those children often only went to school for a few years, but learned more in those few years than those who leave our bleak public institutions thoroughly steeped in the ideologies of the moment but utterly disconnected from and unaware of the great canon and history of Western Civilization.

Progress is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Laura Ingalls Wilder and her lovely family are racists, Anne Shirley an unforgivably heteronormative and backwards teacher (this is why the progressives are attempting to rehabilitate her by claiming that she’s a lesbian), and teachers who are enthused about teaching little boys that they can be little girls instead of equipping them to be men are winning all sorts of inclusivity awards and being hailed as heroes for successfully warping the minds of the upcoming generation. As Esolen put it: “There are only two things wrong with our schools: Everything that our children don’t learn there and everything they do. These public schools, with their vast political and bureaucratic machinery, are beyond reform. That does not mean that persons of good will should not offer themselves up as missionaries of truth and goodness and beauty, to teach there… But we would be quite mad to send our children there. We send missionaries to cannibals. We do not serve the cannibals our boys and girls.”

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Justice Kennedy is gone. Let’s stop writing challenges to Roe with him in mind

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By Claire Chretien

July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – “The mental relief that one will never again have to read an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy is enough to satisfy for weeks,” Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote after the pro-gay, pro-abortion justice announced his retirement.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s departure from the Supreme Court should also be a relief to all who want to end abortion. How Kennedy would rule on abortion was always a bit of a “mystery” until decision day, and those in conservative circles would often craft legal strategy around how he might rule.

Not anymore!

As Rep. Steve King, R-IA, has explained, some have argued against passing his Heartbeat Protection Act – federal legislation banning abortions on babies with beating hearts, including those conceived in rape – on the basis that the Supreme Court (with Kennedy being the swing vote) wouldn’t uphold it.

But as Rep. King predicted, President Trump has been able to make a second Supreme Court nomination. Kennedy’s resignation changes everything. Just listen to liberal commentators and abortion activists – one of their main, panicked talking points about Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is that there’s actually a good chance he could be the deciding vote against Roe v. Wade.  

With Kennedy gone, we can change from a “we might lose so let’s water the message down so even our enemies might like it” mindset to a truly pro-life approach that doesn't compromise with the truth.

Pro-lifers should no longer approach potential Supreme Court cases with the timidity of the Kennedy years. One of the biggest “strategic” arguments against the Heartbeat Bill – Kennedy won’t go for it – is now baseless.

President Trump has kept his promises to the pro-life movement. His administration has done more to protect babies from being unjustly killed, both in the U.S. and abroad, than any other administration has.

Now, it’s time for us to present the fullness of the truth. Perhaps the justices will do what they always seem to do and choose to compromise and aim for the middle. But wouldn’t it be better for that middle point to be between pure, pro-life truth and death rather than between a compromised position and death? 

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Looking for a new examination of conscience? Try the Rule of St. Benedict

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

July 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Today is the summer feast of St. Benedict (his winter feast is March 21), and I offer this article in his honor.

Catholics are encouraged to prepare themselves for the Sacrament of Penance by prayerfully reviewing an examination of conscience. A multitude of formats for such examinations can be found. Most commonly they are based on the Ten Commandments, but sometimes one will find reference to the Beatitudes, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, the virtues and vices, or categories of people.

As a Benedictine oblate, I like to read commentaries on the Holy Rule. One such commentary made the suggestion, new to me, that I should examine my conscience based on what the Patriarch of Western Monasticism says in his magnificent fourth chapter. As I looked at the chapter afresh, I realized that St. Benedict had indeed offered a complete “picture” of Christian sanctity and all the ways, obvious and subtle, in which we can depart from it. He held a mirror up to Christ and asked us to see ourselves in that mirror, or rather, to see where the reflection was blurred, distorted, or non-existent.

In the end, I decided to compile a series of questions based on chapter 4 of the Rule, to serve as a guide for me in preparing for Confession. When I shared my guide with others, the reaction was so positive that I felt encouraged to make it more widely available.

In honor of St. Benedict, whose summertime feast the Catholic Church celebrates today, July 11th, I offer to LifeSite readers this new examination of conscience, based on a very old monastic rule.

Veni, Sancte Spiritus, veni per Mariam.

General

  • Have I neglected to love the Lord God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength, and my neighbor as myself? If so, in what specific ways?
  • In deed or in thought, have I killed, committed adultery, stolen, coveted, or borne false witness?
  • Have I failed to honor all men?
  • Did I do to another what I would not have had done to me?
  • Did I prefer anything, whether great or small, to the love of Christ?

Self-denial

  • Have I been self-indulgent instead of denying myself in order to follow Christ?
  • Have I pampered my body or sought after delicate living, rather than chastising my body?
  • Have I neglected fasting or abstinence?
  • Have I overindulged in wine or other beverages, or verged on gluttony?
  • Have I been drowsy or slothful?
  • Did I immerse myself in worldly affairs rather than keeping aloof from them?
  • Did I fulfill the desires of the flesh rather than hating my own will?
  • Have I sinned against chastity, modesty, or purity?

Charity towards neighbor

  • Have I neglected, when it was possible, to relieve the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick, bury the dead, help in affliction, or console the sorrowing?
  • Have I gratified anger or harbored a desire of revenge?
  • Have I fostered guile in my heart or made a feigned peace?
  • Have I failed to utter truth from heart and mouth?
  • Have I rendered evil for evil or done wrong to anyone?
  • Did I feel or exhibit impatience when wronged?
  • Have I hated my enemies or any man?
  • Did I neglect to pray for my enemies in the love of Christ?
  • Have I avoided making peace with any adversary before the setting of the sun?
  • Have I fled persecution for justice’s sake?
  • Have I rendered cursing for cursing, rather than a blessing?
  • Have I been guilty of murmuring or detraction?
  • Have I avoided much speaking, vain words, and needless or excessive laughter?
  • Have I uttered evil and wicked words?
  • Have I been jealous or given way to envy?
  • Have I loved strife?
  • Did I give in to vanity?
  • Have I been proud?
  • Did I fail to reverence my elders in Christ?
  • Did I fail to love those who are my brothers, juniors, dependents, or pupils?
  • Have I, in any other way, forsaken charity?

Seek first God’s kingdom

  • Did I neglect in my prayer the daily confessing of past sins?
  • Have I faltered in putting my hope in God?
  • Have I subtly or openly attributed the good that I see in myself to myself rather than to God?
  • Have I run away from acknowledging the evil I have done, or tried to blame it on someone else?
  • Have I delayed taking the steps necessary to amend my sins, negligences, and failings?
  • Have I been remiss in smashing my evil thoughts on the rock of Christ the instant they came into my heart?
  • Have I been lax in applying myself to frequent prayer or lectio divina?
  • Did I fail to keep death daily before my eyes, with fear of the Day of Judgment and dread of hell?
  • Have I not been desiring everlasting life with all spiritual longing?
  • Have failed to keep guard over the actions of my life by bearing in mind that God sees me everywhere?
  • Have I not sought the counsel of my spiritual father when I should have done so?
  • Have I hidden evil thoughts from him?
  • Have I shown poor obedience to the commands of those who are placed in authority over me?
  • Did I seek a reputation for holiness rather than holiness itself?
  • Have I been lax in fulfilling each day the commandments of God?
  • Have I ever despaired of God’s mercy?
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