All articles from August 6, 2018


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Both Lives Matter's award-winning billboard
K.V. Turley

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Newly founded Both Lives Matter org fights to keep N. Ireland’s pro-life laws

K.V. Turley
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August 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In 2017, Dawn McAvoy, a Northern Ireland Christian, co-founded Both Lives Matter. A pro-life advocacy group, its aims are:

  • To re-frame the abortion debate in Northern Ireland and beyond
  • To advocate for better care in pregnancy crisis
  • To create a life-affirming culture that values each woman and her unborn child
  • To safeguard the current law which protects both women and unborn children

Wishing to remind the Northern Ireland public of the benefits of its strict abortion laws, in January 2017 Both Lives Matter conducted a billboard campaign with the headline: "100,000 people are alive today because of our laws on abortion. Why change that?"

In response to the placement of the billboards, 14 complaints were lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority. It found that: "On balance…the evidence indicated that there was a reasonable probability that around 100,000 people were alive in Northern Ireland today who would have otherwise been aborted had it been legal to do so."

The '100,000' billboard campaign went on to win the Northern Ireland Public Affairs Campaign of the Year for 2017.

Recently, Dawn McAvoy was part of a delegation of pro-life women from every section of Northern Ireland society who came to the Westminster Parliament to lobby against any change in the current laws pertaining to abortion in Northern Ireland. Currently those laws are under attack from an on-going campaign by British and Irish politicians from outside the jurisdiction.

LifeSiteNews interviewed McAvoy about Both Lives Matter and the campaign to protect Northern Ireland’s pro-life laws.

 

LifeSite: Why did you found Both Lives Matter?

Dawn McAvoy: Both Lives Matter was formed because both lives matter in every pregnancy crisis and this is not a story that was being told.  In 2015 Northern Ireland’s Department of Justice, launched a consultation looking at whether NI abortion law should be changed, specifically considering the very rare and tragic cases of a diagnosis of a fetal life limited condition and pregnancy through sexual crime.

In my role as a Researcher for Evangelical Alliance NI, I was meeting with politicians and encouraging them to defend our law, which recognizes, protects and balances the two lives that are in existence in every pregnancy, the woman and her preborn child. NI law already provides a defense of abortion when a mother’s life and health is at risk, as defined in law. Rather than introduce into law, a category of human being who was unworthy of that protection based on a perceived “fault”, instead we were asking for improved perinatal palliative services, better maternal antenatal care provision, and an expansion to existing pregnancy crises service provision.

In the public square it was predominantly male voices who were speaking out in defense of preborn life and they were regularly being criticized and portrayed as “old white men” who were anti-women. I decided to meet specifically with female legislators and ask them to speak up, as women, and for the many women who were and are supportive of existing legal protections. I realized that many of them were not in favor of more abortion, but, as with many members of the public, they were nervous about speaking out, because they would be labeled as anti-women and religious fundamentalists.

The toxicity of public debate is stifling genuine conversations about how best to respond to women facing pregnancy crisis. The language being used is polarizing, and the commonly used labels of “pro-choice”, and “pro-life”, contributed nothing beyond a way of caricaturing opposing voices.

We needed a way to expand the conversation and include a significant number of the public who just didn't want to get involved in the nastiness. The lack of engagement was only contributing to the perpetuation of misinformation and myth about the issues. Something needed to change.

As well as female legislators, I began to meet with female policy makers, community and church leaders. I wanted to create a space for conversation that was overtly pro-women but not focused on a religious defense of life and, being Northern Ireland, crossed the all too common religious and political divides.

Those meetings were extremely positive and revealed a real desire from women to show compassion to other women in crisis. Most people had a personal lived experience that they could refer to, either their own story, or a friend or family member. Abortion was commonly being presented as the compassionate “choice” and there was support for getting a different message out to the public and into the media. As women met other women who felt similarly, courage grew and a willingness to get involved was evident.

So in January 2017 the Both Lives Matter campaign was launched.

What is its aim?

We are speaking up in defense of current law, speaking for better services for women facing pregnancy crisis and standing with them to demand a culture that affirms and enables life.

Fifty years ago abortion law in the rest of the United Kingdom was changed as the 1967 Abortion Act was introduced. Fifty years later there have been nearly 9 million abortions in Great Britain, 98% of abortions there are carried out in healthy women and on healthy babies. In contrast, because we in Northern Ireland did not enact that law, 100 thousand people are alive today.  

However as much as we celebrate that fact, we recognize that law on its own does not suffice. Saying no to abortion isn't enough.  Women facing pregnancy crises need to be enabled and empowered to give life. This is why it is vital for us as a campaign that one of our key partners is LIFE (Northern Ireland) – a pregnancy care charity with over 30 years of experience in helping women in pregnancy crisis.

So Both Lives Matter was formed to reframe and re-humanize the conversation around pregnancy crises and abortion. We are focused on and based in Northern Ireland. There is a lot of ignorance and misinformation within society about our law, about preborn life, about what abortion does. Facts are key, so looking at biology, medicine, law and policy, we strive to bring truth to a sensitive debate in a reasoned and reasonable manner.

Does Northern Ireland need another pro-life group?

We describe ourselves as pro-woman and pro-life. We are not interested in replicating what is already happening – some of which is brilliant.

The fact that so many members of the public were not willing to engage with such an important issue was evidence that something needed to change. The initial idea had been simply to provide a space for mutual engagement but, yes, we quickly realized that our distinct voice was emerging and was very welcome. We’ve had lots of people contact us to say that the language and tone of our campaign was exactly what they were waiting for.

Both Lives Matter is a collaborative campaign, we speak collectively but the groups and individuals who support us and partner with us also speak from their own unique position. The strength of that approach was seen just recently when we took eight women from NI to Westminster, and that cross community delegation showed that this issue is a bridge that unites us all, crossing every political and religious divide.

So you draw support from across the sectarian divide?

Yes, very much so. One of the most encouraging things about the campaign has been the people who have drawn alongside us, from every sector of society. Personally speaking, I am working with and have built strong friendships with women and men who I would probably never otherwise have met, because of the sectarian and divided nature of our communities.

How much political support do you have?

We know that we have support from within most political parties.

Our politicians are representative of our community and culture. Law shapes culture and because abortion is restricted here it is not commonplace. There are 100 thousand people alive today directly because abortion is our default solution. It has impacted our politicians as much as wider society. We all know someone who is alive today because of our law. We may be that person. That person may be our local politician.

What has been the media reaction?

It has been varied. Initially and still, there was uncertainty as to who we were and what our message was. It seemed that some journalists didn't know what box to put us in: “pro-choice” or “anti-choice”, or the anti-woman, “religious nut” caricature. This meant that our cross community, female led, “pro-both” and secular voice was confusing.

Our research, independently and robustly tested by the Advertising Standards Authority, estimates that over 100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland because we didn’t implement the 1967 Abortion Act. This fact is shaping the public conversation.

We have worked hard to build a reputation of having a credible, reasoned and compassionate voice. The issue is what's important; facts matter because lives matter. So under the banner of Both Lives Matter we are known for providing the right spokesperson for the particular circumstance, whether the situation requires a legal, medical, or policy expert, a service provider or a commentator we will provide the best person, who may also represent another organization.

Has the Republic’s Abortion Referendum not made the liberalization of abortion in Northern Ireland inevitable?

There is nothing inevitable about liberalizing abortion. That said there is no doubt that the result in the South is concerning and will have an effect on Northern Ireland. There is a threat of liberalization through unconstitutional action from Westminster, a change by the legislative assembly or via the courts. They key thing is that we don't have to vote for abortion, we don’t have to follow the path that others have taken. We can choose to protect and empower both women and their children.

Many Westminster MPs want to change Northern Ireland’s current abortion laws – what is your reaction to that?

Abortion is a devolved issue to the Northern Ireland Assembly. However we have seen moves by some MPs at Westminster to attempt to override and take advantage of this. We are dismayed that some democratically elected politicians from outside of our jurisdiction would seek to impose laws on Northern Ireland. If they do so, it is a subversion of democracy.

In seeking to impose abortion on NI over the heads of the people who live there, these politicians display contempt for and ignorance of the laws, culture and people of NI. They also disrespect their political peers who are at Westminster representing the will of the people in NI, who elected them on a pro-life mandate.

We have been shocked at the ignorance of some British MPs who seem to be unaware of what NI abortion law actually is, the outworking of that law in the lives saved, and the life affirming policies, care and services which underpin it. They also seem oblivious, even unconcerned as to the implications of the change they propose, which could bring in abortion on request up to viability or even beyond.

We are asking them to not just listen to the pro-abortion campaigners who portray NI as backward, misogynistic and discriminatory. We appeal to them to listen to other voices from NI, voices proud of our law, while not being blind to the need for even better services for women and family pre and post birth. We are seeking policy change but not law change for NI.

But we also respectfully encourage them to look to their own constituents and listen to their wishes. Polling done in May 2017, showed that a majority of men and women in GB, expressed a desire that Westminster look again at GB abortion law and lower the time limit for abortion there, from 24 weeks, in line with medical advances. In fact only 1% of the British public supported the rallying cry of the abortion lobby.

So what is the Both Lives Matter strategy going forward?

We will continue to pursue opportunities to share our message that Both Lives Matter, both here in NI and elsewhere, in recognition of the significant pressure we face from outside of our jurisdiction.

We will continue to stand for law, services and culture that affirm and enable life. We know that women in NI deserve better than the cheapened version of feminism being offered to them. We are standing as women saying that our route to freedom, equality and opportunity is not found in the ability to terminate our unborn child's life.

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A participant in the Christopher Street Day Parade www.csd-stuttgart.de screenshot
Maike Hickson

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German bishops’ website touts Catholic youth group’s ‘gay pride’ award

Maike Hickson
By Maike Hickson

STUTTGART, Germany, August 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A diocesan Catholic youth group recently won an award after participating in a pro-LGBT parade, earning a laudatory article on the German bishops’ website.

The Stuttgart Catholic youth group Katholische junge Gemeinde (KjG – Catholic Young Parish) brought along pro-LGBT signs, quoting Pope Francis’ reported words from May to the abuse victim and homosexual Juan Carlos Cruz: “God made you like that and he loves you like that and I do not care. The Pope loves you as you are, you have to be happy with who you are. You should not think about what others think about you.” Another sign displayed by the youth group stated, “Jesus had...two fathers.”

Approximately 70 to 100 members of the KjG participated at the Christopher Street Day Parade in Stuttgart on July 28. The organizers subsequently gave them an award for taking part, citing the youth group’s special contribution to “diversity, acceptance, and equality.”

The KjG has 3,000 members and is part of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, which was headed by Cardinal Walter Kasper, a close collaborator of Pope Francis, from 1989 to 1999.

Miriam Lay, a member of the diocesan leadership of the KjG, told the German bishops’ website Katholisch.de, “God loves everybody independent of one's sex or sexual orientation.”

“Many only know the conservative position of the Church,” she explained. “We wish to change that.” The Church should show that everybody is invited and that people “should not be afraid of an outing,” she said.

Peter Winnemöller, a Catholic journalist writing for the Austrian website Kath.net, expressed regret that the bishop of Stuttgart has not yet intervened in this matter.

“It is a shame for the responsible bishop,” Winnemöller wrote, “if he has not yet responded and possibly now, out of cowardice in the face of the mainstream opinion, deprives the young of the change of conversion and orientation along the truth.”

Winnemöller also referred back to a recent July 28 statement by Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan in which he says that “there is a widespread situation of silence, passivity and fear among those in the Church who should unambiguously address this situation and protect the life of the Church from the infiltration of the poison of the ideology of homosexuality and gender, and proclaim the truth of God’s creation and of His holy commandments.”

For Bishop Schneider, the “so-called 'gay pride' demonstrations unmistakably resemble the propaganda marches of various totalitarian political regimes of the past.” The prelate stated that “gender ideology, or the ideology of homosexuality, represents a revolt against the creative work of God,” and he sees the possibility that, in the near future, Catholics might be further persecuted – similar to the early Christians – for holding that truth taught by God.

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Cardinal Donald Wuerl Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews
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Catholics blast Cardinal Wuerl’s solution to McCarrick sex abuse crisis

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By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, DC, August 6, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s proposal to impanel a committee of bishops to investigate mounting allegations and evidence of systemic problems concerning the handling of sexual misconduct within the ranks of the U.S. bishops is being rejected––by esteemed laity as well as a fellow bishop.

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany just issued a statement in reaction to Cardinal Wuerl’s proposal:

While I am heartened by my brother bishops proposing ways for our Church to take action in light of recent revelations – and I agree that a national panel should be commissioned, duly approved by the Holy See – I think we have reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer. To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised.

It is time for us, I believe, to call forth the talents and charisms of our lay faithful, by virtue of their baptismal priesthood. Our lay people are not only willing to take on this much-needed role, but they are eager to help us make lasting reforms that will restore a level of trust that has been shattered yet again. In speaking with them, we all hear their passion for our universal Church, their devotion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and their hunger for the truth. They are essential to the solution we seek.

Note: Bishop Scharfenberger’s entire statement may be read at the end of this article.

The Cardinal’s Proposal

Wuerl’s proposal was made amid the ongoing, increasingly scandal-ridden handling of the disgraced former Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual predation.

“I think it's very important that we ... as bishops enter into that world and say, ‘If there is an accumulation of rumors, ought not something be said?’” Cardinal Wuerl told the National Catholic Reporter in a telephone interview.

“Would we have some sort of a panel, a board, of bishops ... where we would take it upon ourselves, or a number of bishops would be deputed, to ask about those rumors?” wondered the Cardinal. “It seems to me that's one possibility, that there would be some way for the bishops, and that would mean working through our conference ... to be able to address the question of sustained rumors.”

Respected Catholic laity: “With all due respect, no way”

“No. We are way, way, way beyond ‘panels’ of bishops investigating other bishops,” said the Acton Institute’s director of research, Samuel Gregg, in response to Wuerl in a Facebook post.  

“Such a suggestion reflects a mentality which is symptomatic of the problem,” continued Gregg.  “We need a lay-lead tribunal which is given full powers to investigate all accusations against bishops, to open up all the files on payouts, etc. There can be no more ‘business as usual.’ Any bishop who doesn’t understand that is part of the problem.”

On Twitter, Gregg was emphatic:  “We are way, way beyond ‘panels.’ Not. Good. Enough.”

“[T]he investigation should not be done by a panel or panels of bishops,” said Princeton’s esteemed Robert P. George, commenting on Wuerl’s proposal.  “It needs to be a lay investigation. In fact, I don't think it should be done by a panel of any kind. It should be conducted by an individual functioning as the equivalent of a special counsel.  Of course, that individual will need a team, but ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the investigation and for its findings and recommendations should lie with him or her.”

“Bishops investigating bishops! What could go wrong?” asked Catholic author and  assistant professor of dogmatic theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Dawn Eden Goldstein in a tweet.

“Yes, there should be a panel– there should be panels in every diocese and every deanery, ready to look into serious allegations made against any representative of the Church,” said Elizabeth Scalia writing at her The Anchoress Blog.  “But with all due respect, sir, no, there ought not be a bishop residing on a single one of them.”

“There is an old Roman saying, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will guard the guards?)  In a sense that needs to be asked, now,” continued Scalia.  “The suggestion that the laity and the priests who trusted the bishops to do the right thing before — and have been amply burned for it — should just trust the bishops to do the right thing again would be farcical if it were not so insulting.”

“Wuerl’s remarks suggest that he really has no idea how catastrophic the revelations about Theodore McCarrick’s long-standing abuses (about which too many Cardinals and Bishops profess themselves ‘Shocked, shocked’ as they slouch toward Eternity via Casablanca) have been to the trust of the laity. Let me spell it out: That trust has been shattered. It no longer exists,” she added.  

“[T]he same rules that have been applied to priests need to be applied to bishops who either covered up abuse by those that were under their authority, or themselves, as in the case of McCarrick committed abuses,” said Faith and Reason Institute president Robert Royal in an EWTN discussion last week.   

“If a pastor commits these crimes, he’s off the job,” added canon lawyer Fr. Gerald Murray. “If a bishop commits these crimes, people are paid off and told to be quiet.  This is unjust.”

Concern about the former Pittsburgh prelate’s past  

Cardinal Wuerl’s statement to NCR comes just days before the Pennsylvania Attorney General is expected to release an exhaustive grand jury report on clerical sexual abuse in six of the state’s Catholic dioceses, reaching back several decades, to the present.

The report is said to name at least 300 priests, with nearly a third of them from the Pittsburgh diocese, headed by Wuerl from 1988 to 2006, when he was made Archbishop of Washington, DC.

“A fact largely unknown to the public,” begins a recent in-depth report by Church Militant, “Wuerl was named in multiple lawsuits during his tenure there, accused of conspiring to cover up sex abuse.”

The Church Militant report goes on to recount several examples of Wuerl mishandling of priests who committed sexual abuse; sending them back to parish work after completing time in counseling centers; failure to report sexual abuse by priests to the authorities;  and rendering only minimal cooperation at times he did work with the police. 

That the bishops have failed is “a bit of an understatement”

Perhaps chaste same-sex attracted Catholic, Thomas Berryman, said it best:

Pop psychology definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. I'm afraid our bishops have had over a decade to police themselves and to say that they have failed is a bit of an understatement. People who promote and benefit from corruption usually shouldn't be the ones to clean up the corruption.

****

BISHOP SCHARFENBERGER: LAITY ARE “ESSENTIAL,” MUST LEAD ANY INVESTIGATION

Statement by Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany

While I am heartened by my brother bishops proposing ways for our Church to take action in light of recent revelations – and I agree that a national panel should be commissioned, duly approved by the Holy See – I think we have reached a point where bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer. To have credibility, a panel would have to be separated from any source of power whose trustworthiness might potentially be compromised.

It is time for us, I believe, to call forth the talents and charisms of our lay faithful, by virtue of their baptismal priesthood. Our lay people are not only willing to take on this much-needed role, but they are eager to help us make lasting reforms that will restore a level of trust that has been shattered yet again. In speaking with them, we all hear their passion for our universal Church, their devotion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and their hunger for the truth. They are essential to the solution we seek.

What is needed now is an independent commission led by well-respected, faithful lay leaders who are beyond reproach, people whose role on such a panel will not serve to benefit them financially, politically, or personally. These will be people with a deep understanding of the Catholic faith, but without an axe to grind or an agenda to push. It will not be easy, but it will be worth every ounce of effort, energy, and candor we can muster.

We bishops want to rise to this challenge, which may well be our last opportunity considering all that has happened. We must get this right. I am confident we can find a way to look outside ourselves, to put this in the hands of the Holy Spirit, and to entrust our very capable lay people, who have stood with us through very difficult times, to help us do the right thing. We need an investigation — the scope of which is not yet defined but must be defined — and it must be timely, transparent and credible.

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Altar at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood, Calif. comunidadlb.org
Joseph Sciambra

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Dissident pro-LGBT priest given free rein in Cardinal Tobin’s archdiocese, celebrates ‘pride’ Mass

Joseph Sciambra
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August 6, 2018 (Joseph Sciambra) – On June 24, 2018, at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Hoboken, New Jersey, the Archdiocese of Newark, Fr. Alexander Santora celebrated the Parish's "first annual gay pride Mass." At the beginning of Mass, Santora announced that he would offer a "special blessing" for those marching in the New York City gay "Pride" parade, which took place on the same day.

Alexander Santora, a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark, is a frequent contributor to NJ.com. A repeated topic he discusses in his column is the LGBT issue. In 2013 – as several cases on the State level concerning same-sex marriage worked their way through the Courts – Santora wrote:

Churches tend to makes change at a glacial pace. Yet, in two watershed decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has validated the movement toward same-sex marriage that only began to register with American society a little over a decade ago.

He also quoted the response from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so.

Then he added the following:

The Catholic bishops appealed to "the common good of all" and called for "a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage." The Supreme Court of the land, however, has expanded the notion of common good and an expansive view of marriage.

In 2015, Santora wrote an article in which he resoundingly praised the late Jesuit John J. McNeill – the founder of the dissident "gay" Catholic movement. Santora wrote of McNeill: "McNeill's courage and brilliance started the church on a trajectory that it is still trying to define." According to Fr. John Harvey: "The dissenting theologian who has had the greatest influence on Catholic homosexual persons is probably John J. McNeill, S.J." In his landmark 1976 work "The Church and the Homosexual," McNeill wrote:

Since most gay people experience their homosexual orientation as a part of creation, if they accept this Church teaching, they must see God as sadistically creating them with an intrinsic orientation to evil. Most gays would prefer to see the Church teaching as wrong, rather than believe God is sadistic.

McNeill left the priesthood, and in 2008, he married his same-sex lover.

Before Santora's homily, a candle was lit and placed upon the rainbow flag in memory of those "gay" and "lesbian" parishioners who "[lived] a life of fear because the Church and society rejected them."

Here are excerpts from Santora's homily:

If we look at the history of the Church there is an official teaching Church, which still doesn't quite understand how we have to move forward, but there are the people of God who understand that we are all created as we heard in today's first reading from Isiah, that we are all born, and we know that from birth, we were given our name. From birth we are dedicated to God[.] ... We now have a Pope whose five words indicated that we have to look at how we welcome our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters – "Who am I to judge?" He said. And then we are blessed with Cardinal Tobin, our Archbishop, who little over a year ago, through the efforts of David Harvie, who is here today, welcomed our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters and transgendered into the Cathedral to celebrate for the first time, a pilgrimage Mass[.] ... These are important historic moments for us.

But I think what Pope Francis invites us to do, is to look at that gap that's there between what it is as a Church, and how the people of God want us to move forward. Now, today many of you will march in the parade which is forty-nine years old. And that parade is significant. Because it has marked the changes in the LGBT community from new found freedom, to ministering to those individuals afflicted by HIV and AIDS, to equality in marriage and in unions. And through these decades, we understand how God calls us to always look at how we are all part of God's family. And so, as we move forward, its important for us to reconcile the differences that exist.

Pope Francis is going to Ireland in a few weeks for what's called the World Meeting of Families…for the first time, one of the documents that was issued by the Vatican uses the initials LBTQ. Some of us might say, well, what does that really mean? Because in society we are so far advanced. But I think as the Church inches forward, we have to celebrate any steps that include people rather than exclude them.

And what is also driving the Church's concern is that the Millennial generation rejects injustice and they see the Church's teaching towards LGBTQ as being antiquated. And they know that[.] ... So the Church needs to acknowledge that since Stonewall in 1969, that we as an American community, and now a world community, see that God's people are as we sang in the song today – "wonderfully made." That we are a reflection who God is, the diversity of all of us. And certainly, that will be seen later on in the parade.

Concerning the New York City Gay Pride Parade, in his Introduction to Fr. John Harvey's book The Truth about Homosexuality (1996), Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR made the following observation:

I recently viewed the Gay Pride Parade during a prayer vigil alongside St. Patrick's Cathedral and saw an incredible display of self-defeating and self-deprecating behavior[.] ... [W]hen one considers the ruin of human lives, the persistent spread of AIDS by promiscuous sexual activity, and the psychological conflict one observes in the gay scene, the haunting question comes, "Can I approve of behavior that so frequently leads to destruction?"

In New York City, gay men are 140 times more likely to contract HIV or syphilis than straight men. In comparison, according to the American Lung Association: the risk of developing lung cancer is about 23 times higher in male smokers compared to male non-smokers.

Santora continued:

The Church has to move in a new direction. First, we need to understand that one's orientation is given. It's not a choice. What's given and what's possible are two different things. And so, oppressing one's orientation is not healthy or good. But somehow our theology has to catch up with where the world is.

Jesuit priest James Martin has repeatedly made the same claim concerning the origins of homosexuality. During a June 16, 2017 Jesuitical podcast, Martin said:

God made you this way. You are wonderfully made, just like Psalm 139 says. You were knit together in your mother's womb this way, you know, it's a mystery why you were made this way, but this is part of your identity.

In 2017, Santora defended Martin against criticism, often coming from within the Church, because of his unorthodox views. On his official Facebook page, Martin thanked Santora for his support. Concerning Church teaching regarding homosexuality, Santora wrote: "We need a new language that reflects the latest scientific research into orientation." During a 2017 interview, Martin said:

[A]s I say in the book, saying that one of the deepest parts of a person – the part that gives and receives love – is disordered is needlessly hurtful. A few weeks ago, I met an Italian theologian who suggested the phrase "differently ordered" might convey that idea more pastorally.

On the book jacket for Martin's Building a Bridge, Cardinal Tobin wrote: "Father Martin's brave, prophetic and inspiring new book marks an essential step in inviting church leaders to minister with more compassion."

Santora concluded his homily:

As we move forward certain practices have to end. We hear sad stories of individuals who are teaching or working in Catholic institutions and once it's found out that either they've married civilly or they are in a union, they can be fired. That's unjust and it has to end.

Finally, what we also need to reconcile is that more than one hundred years after Sigmund Freud identified the personality of an individual, the psychology of an individual, we have to realize that our actions are not isolated. For so long our Church looked at what people did, rather than who people are. And once we can make these changes, I think we're moving in the direction that will make us more inclusive. But also, will help us to live what we hear in today's reading – for if God ordained us from birth, then we are all made in the image and likeness of God. And what our world is recognizing, our Church also needs to recognize – is that diversity makes us special and God ordained it, and we celebrate it.

At the end of Mass, Santora said:

If there is one person in New Jersey, who's making a difference in the Catholic community it is David Harvie. He has been working behind the scenes, and with individuals, so that churches who want to welcome LGBT get support and help. And I say when the history is written of how we have changed, David would be a pivotal figure.

David Harvie is an openly partnered homosexual, and Santora is well aware of this fact. In an article Santora wrote about the Newark "gay" pilgrimage, he stated:

I first met Harvie and Mark Nebus at St. Aloysius in Jersey City back in the late 1980s. They would often sit in the front benches of the church and during the sign of peace would kiss each other. For the four and one half years they worshipped there, not one staff member or parishioner ever said anything about their exchange of peace.

According to another article about the "Pilgrimage":

"I was really amazed at the level of healing and consolation," said Harvie, who lives in Edison with his husband Mark Nebus and is a parishioner of St. Francis Cathedral.  "And the fact that the cardinal spoke to the group – he rearranged his schedule to speak to us – and toward the end of the Mass, the bishop who is the rector of the parish, made it a point to speak as well."

On July 9, 2017, Harvie attended James Martin's talk at the Church of the Sacred Heart in South Plainfield, New Jersey. Martin posted a picture of Harvie on his Facebook page. Martin wrote:

David Harvie, one of the organizers of the LGBT Pilgrimage to the Newark cathedral (right) with his husband Mark.

Before the conclusion of the Mass, Catholic and openly "gay" politician Michael DeFusco offered a short address.

Contact:
Joseph William Cardinal Tobin

171 Clifton Ave
P.O. Box 9500
Newark, NJ 07104
973-497-4000
[email protected]

Published with permission from Joseph Sciambra.

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Gay Irish Prime Minister to promote LGBT agenda when he meets Pope

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By Doug Mainwaring

IRELAND, August 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Ireland’s Prime Minister has said he hopes to challenge Pope Francis on homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” when he visits Ireland for the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families later this month.  

The emerald Isle’s current Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, is an openly gay man with a male partner, who has used his position as a national leader to promote gay issues on the international stage.

When asked at a recent press briefing what he might say to the Pope about the absence of gay families during the promotion of the upcoming World Meeting of Families (WMF), Varadkar said he would express “our views as a society and a government that families come in all sorts of different forms and that includes families that are… by same-sex parents and other families as well,” according to a report by The Journal.

The question concerned gay activists’ continuing outrage over the removal of images of same-sex couples as well as pro-homosexual texts from a reissued booklet created by the country's bishops to prepare Catholic families for the WMF in Dublin.

While the Irish Bishops offered no official explanation at the time for the revisions to the WMF booklet, The Irish Times, Irish Independent, and the German Catholic bishops website attributed the deletion of pro-LGBT images and text to a LifeSiteNews article critical of their inclusion in the booklet’s original edition.  

In October, LifeSiteNews reported that the booklet contained, “a picture of two lesbians on a bridge clinging intimately to one another,” and text that contained “explicit promotion of homosexual relationships as a form of family.”

Varadkar also said that the reception at “Dublin Castle may be very short but, first of all, I will want to welcome him to Ireland. And, if the opportunity arises, I will certainly want to express to him the real concerns Irish people have in relation to the legacy of the past, in relation to issues such as the church’s involvement in Magdalene laundries, mother-and-baby homes, and sexual and physical abuse.”

Earlier this year, the Irish Prime Minister marched at the head of New York City’s 257th St. Patrick’s Day Parade, wedged between his homosexual partner, Matt Barrett, and pro-LGBT Democrat Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo as they paraded up the city’s famous Fifth Avenue.

Last year Varadkar was the first head of state to march alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal’s Gay Pride Parade.

Ireland is the first country in the world to legalize both same-sex “marriage” and abortion by popular vote.  

“Ireland was one of the most Catholic countries in the world,” lamented Cardinal Raymond Burke in an interview last June, “and today it is one of the most secularized.”

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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

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‘Coordinated purge’: Facebook, YouTube, Apple, Spotify permanently ban Alex Jones and Infowars

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By Claire Chretien

August 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In the latest clash between big tech companies and those who hold unpopular or controversial views, Facebook has permanently kicked “Infowars” off of its platform, saying the page was “unpublished for using hate speech.”

Facebook’s banning of Alex Jones’ signature platform came just after Apple removed almost of all of his podcasts because “Apple does not tolerate hate speech.”

“We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions,” an Apple spokesperson said.

Spotify also removed the Alex Jones Show from its podcasts.

YouTube deleted the Alex Jones Channel on Monday morning. It had nearly 2.5 million subscribers.

“What we are witnessing is an ideological purge intended to re-define the very concept of free speech,” InfoWars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson wrote. “If free speech does not include controversial/unpopular/offensive speech, it doesn’t exist. A society in which free speech doesn’t exist is doomed to collapse into authoritarianism.”

Although Infowars promotes some conspiracy theories that are far outside the mainstream – for example, that 9/11 was actually orchestrated by the U.S. government – it also reports on current events just as other media do. During his presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump granted a video interview to InfoWars.

Watson called the mass deletion of Infowars from Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube “a coordinated purge” and “political censorship.”

Wikileaks came to Infowars’ defense, asking, “Which publisher in the world with millions of subscribers is next to be wiped out for cultural transgression?”

Facebook said in a press release the deleted Infowars pages were taken down “for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.”

Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist wondered on Twitter if Facebook will censor Planned Parenthood “to be consistent about opposing those who glorify violence and dehumanize others in order to justify that violence?”

Many conservatives argue that Facebook and Google essentially have monopolies on the distribution and sharing of information, and are using these monopolies to unfairly target certain viewpoints for censorship. When Facebook banned Alex Jones' personal account for 30 days late last month, Sen. Ted Cruz asked, “Who the hell made Facebook the arbiter of political speech?”

“The ban is just part of a wider censorship purge that also use stealth censorship, shadow banning and algorithmic manipulation to hide and bury conservative content,” Watson wrote in another post. “This is the modern day electronic equivalent of book burning.”

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Security footage shows Ismael Duarte (right) confronting Jorge Ibarra (left) at a Target after he took 'upskirt' photos of girls.
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‘This is a father’: Dad tackles man who took ‘upskirt’ photos of daughter at Target

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By Claire Chretien

CYPRESS, California, August 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A father intervened when he saw a man taking photos up his daughter’s skirt at Target, kicking the man’s phone out of his hands and knocking him to the ground.

“You messed with the wrong family,” said Ismael Duarte, the father. He chased the man out of the store and captured a photo of the perpetrator's car as he drove away.

The man accused of taking “upskirt” photos of women and girls at the Cypress, California Target is 29-year-old Jorge A. Ibarra Jr. Surveillance footage shows him crouching down beside unsuspecting victims as they shopped.

Duarte confronted the man as Duarte’s daughter was checking out and Ibarra tried to photograph under her skirt.

Ibarra was arrested for invading privacy on Wednesday, according to the New York Post, and he is “also suspected of committing the same crime at a Target in Cerritos.”

“I’m pissed off that I didn’t do more than I did but I wish I would have, because I’m so angry,” said Duarte.

“This is a father,” EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo tweeted of Duarte’s actions. “This is how you put a stop to the abuse and disrespect of women.”

Target has been subject to heavy criticism since the retail giant announced in April 2016 it would allow men in women’s restrooms and vice versa, with social conservatives warning that such a policy emboldens sexual predators.

In July 2016, a “transgender” man was arrested for recording an 18-year-old changing at the Target in Ammon, Idaho. He then pleaded guilty to a felony count of video voyeurism. He had secretly recorded other women, too.

Another incident that drew negative attention to Target’s gender-free policy occurred just weeks after it announced its “inclusive” policy, when a man in Frisco, Texas recorded a girl changing clothes.

The predatory encounters even led Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to confront Target about its policies for keeping women safe.

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Fr. John De Celles

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Priest’s stirring sermon reminds Catholics to fix their hearts on Christ amid Church scandals

Fr. John De Celles
By Fr. John De Celles

August 6, 2018 (St. Raymond of Peñafort Catholic Church) – In today's second reading, St. Paul writes: "I...urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received..."

Each of us is called in Baptism to live a life of love for God and neighbor, and keeping the commandments. Even so, sadly, all of us, from time to time, fail "to live in a manner worthy of the call [we] have received."

But some of us have special callings in the Church, and for the Church. In particular, I think of priests, bishops and popes. Each of these are men have a special obligation to strive to live in a manner worthy of their very special calling, for the good of the whole Church. And when they fail, it has wider effects, and hurts the whole Church, which as St. Paul reminds us today is "one body."

Now all priests will fail in smaller ways, and even larger ways that are not uncommon among men,

ways that may disappoint us, but not cause us to give up on them. But sometimes, some priests fail miserably and in repulsive ways, ways that seem to, as Scripture says, "cry out to God for vengeance." 

In the last few weeks we've heard in the news that the former Archbishop of Washington, one of the most powerful Cardinals of the Church, Theodore McCarrick, has been accused of such failures – terrible crimes and reprehensible grave sins. Although the Pope suspended him from public ministry until the investigations are concluded, McCarrick has publicly denied all accusations.

But more and more have come out. After years of hiding the stories and accusation – and evidence –  the media has finally started to report what they have known for years, and lay out names, dates and documents. So that finally, McCarrick resigned from the cardinalate, and the Vatican announced he would "remain in seclusion for a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial."

 It seems that the former-Cardinal McCarrick has tacitly admitted to grossly failing to "living in a manner worthy of the call [he has] received..."

[The way the Church operates, this is about as close to an admission of guilt that we're going to get, short a written admission. The last time a cardinal resigned was 91 years ago – it just doesn't happen. But it did.]

* * *

All of this will have terrible effects on the life of the Church in many ways, from new priestly vocations, to our credibility in preaching the Gospel.

 But of more concern to me today is the effect on you – the faithful. This kind of thing has to be terribly hard on you, even devastating to some of you.

I understand that, because it has been hard on me – for about 28 years. I hardly knew Bishop McCarrick, but since I entered the seminary, I and most of my clerical friends knew the accusations against him. There was no evidence – most of his victims were too afraid to go public, and the ones who did were ignored. So nothing could be done: you can't accuse someone publicly on hearsay. But the thing is...everybody knew.

So, many of us stood in disbelief as his personal charm and facade of kindness led him to be promoted first to archbishop, then to cardinal. And we were relieved when he retired, when Pope Benedict accepted his retirement soon after his 75th birthday. But we sickened as he became a powerful advisor to the current Pope, even years after his retirement.

* * *

But as the Psalms tell us:

"Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. ... Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God."

I figured out a long time ago: we don't follow bishops or priests, or cardinals, or even popes, as much as we might love them.

We follow Jesus Christ, "the God of Jacob," and we follow the Holy Catholic Church which he founded. And by "Catholic Church," again, I don't mean just the priests, bishops or Popes, who are merely men and princes. I mean the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ, full of sinners and saints,

but protected by the Blessed Trinity from destruction and from passing on erroneous teaching to the generations. I mean the centuries of great and faithful saints, fathers, doctors, theologians, nuns, priests, bishops, popes and councils who have passed on what they received down the generations from the apostles, and what the apostles likewise received from Christ Himself. I mean the unfathomable treasury of beliefs, doctrines and wisdom that we sometimes call the "Deposit of Faith."

So when a priest abuses a child, it makes me want to vomit. Or when a bishop maliciously covers up that abuse, I want him thrown in jail, and the key thrown away. And when a Cardinal corrupts young men entrusted to his care, I can't even tell you what I think ought to be done to him, because I'd have to go to confession.

But in all that, it does not affect my faith. O sure, it troubles me, it depresses me. But my faith is not in men, but in God. It is not in priests and bishops, but the Church.

* * *

Today's Gospel helps us to understand this. When he sees that the large crowd is hungry, Jesus turns to one of His Apostles and says, "Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?" In the other Gospel accounts, it says that Jesus told his apostles: "You give them something to eat." And in all accounts, including today's, the apostles respond, basically, "that's impossible: we can't feed them."

And then it says, "Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining." Again, in the other Gospel accounts, add an important clarification, telling us: "Then He gave [the loaves] to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people."

So what we have here is that on their own, the apostles can't do anything for the people: if they had to rely on just the apostles, the people would starve. But Jesus can do everything, and so He does something wonderful. And then He uses the apostles as His instruments to bring that something wonderful to the people, He gives the apostles His gift so that they can hand it on to the people.

* * *

And what does He give them in this text? Bread. Now bread is a very important symbol in Scripture,

a symbol that has at least 3 key meanings for Catholics. First, as the most basic kind of food common to all cultures, bread symbolizes the fundamental needs of daily life: basic food, health, shelter, clothing, etc. Second, as Jesus says elsewhere, "Man does live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." So bread also symbolizes the Word of God which man needs to truly live, and thrive, and be happy. And finally, bread reminds us of the Eucharist – the bread of life, the continuing real presence of Jesus in his Church – the Word of God made flesh that comes to us in the form of daily bread.

Every day the Church passes on all of this to us. And even though priests and bishops are important instruments of the distribution of these treasures to His people, especially the Word and Eucharist, and grace, they, as individuals, are not the source. And even though the apostles handed all this down to us, and they are absolutely important to the life of the Church, they also, individually, are not the source. Jesus Christ is the source – he is the word of God made flesh, the source of all grace and heavenly Blessing.

And He doesn't simply entrust those gifts to individual men, but to the Church, His body with members that include not only sinful Cardinals, but also saintly men and women in all generations, from to St. Peter, to St. Augustine, to St. Raymond, to St. Catherine, to St. Therese to St. John Paul II.

* * *

Now, all of this is not to lead you to distrust all priests and bishops. Please don't do that. Most priests try very hard to "live in a manner worthy of the call [we] have received." Many make great sacrifices for their people, and some are truly saintly. They strive to be good shepherds, to take care of their flock, even if they fail from time to time. Rejoice in their goodness, and have mercy on their failures. And love them, respect them, and support them.

 

But there a few that are not even trying to be shepherds, but are more like wolves in sheep's clothing, preying on their flock. Whether they teach false doctrine to tickle the ears of their people so the people will like them, [just using their flock, but leaving them to hell.] or use their office to take advantage of the vulnerable. Do not be afraid to hold those to account, always with charity and mercy, but also always with true justice.

And do not be discouraged by them. Our hope is in Christ, not in them. And Christ is our hope, not our despair. Discouragement comes from our own weaknesses, or from the devil himself. The devil is loving the current scandal: he wants you to be discouraged; he wants you to despair; he wants you to give up.

But do NOT give up. Remember simply two words: Jesus Christ!

And remember that Jesus gives us a great and glorious gift to strengthen us. He gives us Himself. We don't come to Mass every Sunday just to see each other, or to see or listen to the priest, or to hope that some prince of the Church drops in. We come to hear Him, the Word of God, speak to us in the readings, and hopefully through the homily, and to receive Him, the Word made flesh in the bread of life – the Eucharist.

* * *

So now, fix your hearts and minds on Christ. You have heard His word, now prepare for Him to come to us in the flesh and to receive Him in Holy Communion. Prepare to receive the peace that can only come from Holy Communion, the peace of Christ that overcomes all distress. And do not be discouraged by the failures of men, but accept the grace to believe, hope and love in Christ and His Church. And pray that all of us, priest and laity, by the grace of this Most Blessed Sacrament, may always strive to "live in a manner worthy of the call you have received."

Published with permission from St. Raymond of Peñafort Catholic Church.

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee Rembrandt
Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek

Opinion, ,

Why Catholics must have fortitude amid McCarrick scandal

Fr. Timothy V. Vaverek
By Fr. Timothy Vaverek

August 6, 2018 (The Catholic Thing) – At times the Barque of Peter is imperiled by storm-tossed seas and dysfunctional wayfarers. These crises greatly distress those united in charity to the Church and her saving mission. Like the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, they cry out: "Lord save, us!" Sometimes the crisis passes as Jesus calms wind and waves. Other times, the crisis intensifies and that other plea – almost an accusation – is taken up: "Master, do you not care that we are perishing?" We must learn to weather these storms with the Lord, even when He tolerates their continuation and the loss of precious goods. Then His peace will safeguard us from bitterness and despair.

We know the Church must sometimes suffer in her journey. These periods can lead to purification, as when decadence preceded the rise of the Dominican and Franciscan movements in the 13th century and the "Counter-Reformation" in the 16th century.

Yet not all storms are followed by renewal. The Church in North Africa vanished after the Arab invasion of the 7th century and subsequent conversion of the population to Islam. The Catholic Church was almost completely destroyed in England and Scandinavia after the Reformation, often with the cooperation of bishops and clergy.

The outcome of the Church's current crisis, decades and centuries in the making, cannot be foreseen. That the Gates of Hell will not prevail doesn't guarantee the survival of the Church in any particular society or with a sizable membership.

The present failings and weakening of the Church as an institution in Western societies are difficult for us to bear. We love the Lord, His Gospel, His Church, and the ways our peoples and cultures have benefited from them. Watching as some of our loved ones, neighbors, and religious leaders distort or abandon the life given us by Jesus causes a profound pain that, rightly, produces grief – and anger.

Faced with this storm, we want to believe that prayer and coordinated efforts can guarantee a favorable outcome. But that isn't true. God doesn't grant us the ability to remove every evil and preserve every good. The experience of that limitation can lead to a frustration that warps grief into despair, and anger into rage. We must guard against those bitter outcomes.

Frustration is often fed by false hopes and false fears. These are rooted in a false attachment to a particular good we want to be accomplished or to be protected from harm. The false attachment, in turn, distorts our perception – we believe people and situations are what we mistakenly hope or fear they are.

This delusion creates a misplaced optimism or pessimism which leads, respectively, to recklessness or to paralysis in the pursuit and defense of the good. Since neither attitude corresponds to the reality of the situation, neither is capable of dealing effectively with the evils that trouble us. The consequent failure to resolve the problem increases our frustration. Unchecked, this produces despair or rage.

To abandon the delusion we must first be prepared to bear the loss of goods – goods perhaps more valuable than life itself. Only then will we be free of the false hope of preserving those goods or the false fear of their loss. Only then will we find a realistic response to evil.

In the current crisis, everything in us revolts against tolerating the degradation of Christ, the Gospel, Christian life, human dignity, and the ministry of priests, bishops, and popes. This strikes us as a form of surrender, if not betrayal. The evil here seems intolerable and our attachment to the good entirely justifiable. It seems impossible that Jesus would ask this of us.

This is the internal crisis we must each face, the moment when the crisis of the Church becomes truly our own. In that moment, Jesus draws us to himself on the Cross. He says, "Yes, I am degraded, my Word is twisted and set aside, and I am betrayed and abandoned even by my own. I bear, I tolerate this as I bear your sins and the evils you commit innocently. I oppose them and suffer them because I love you. Will you join me in this love, bearing my joys and sorrows, tolerating the evils done to me?"

This encounter changes everything without altering external circumstances or promising happy endings prior to Jesus' return. With Him we can tolerate mistaken or wicked popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, and lay people.  We can bear the misrepresentation of His person and His way of life. We can tolerate the destruction of the Church and Christian culture in specific times and places – even our own.

These evils are a cause for grief and anger, but not despair and rage. They can be borne because they do not separate us from Christ or destroy our certain Hope. However great the loss, Christ and His Church will proclaim the Gospel and sustain Christian life until He returns, even if only one Catholic remains.

By bearing the present evils with Christ and knowing His victory, our anger and sorrow over the abuse of Jesus, the Church, the Gospel, and humanity are no longer distorted by a frustration born of unreality. They mature into a stable response in Christ that continually fosters the good, opposes and bears with evil, and yet remains ready to lose the good or overthrow evil when God calls for it. God's peace, free of any bitterness, then reigns in our suffering hearts.

This is how Jesus remained free of despair or rage amid fallen and sinful people. It is how Thomas More and John Fisher faced the destruction of the Church in England. It is how Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein endured the violation of their countries and the persecution of their peoples. And it is how we will be able with patience, charity, and fortitude to weather the present storm for as long as Christ tolerates it.

Published with permission from The Catholic Thing.

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Nancy Velko

Opinion,

‘Fatal Flaws’ is a must-see film on euthanasia

Nancy Velko
By Nancy Velko

August 6, 2018 (Nancy Valko) – With the American Medical Association considering changing its' long-standing opposition to physician-assisted suicide despite the recommendations of its' ethics committee and the California assisted suicide law declared unconstitutional now reinstated pending appeal, assisted suicide/euthanasia groups like Compassion and Choices (the well-funded former Hemlock Society) are ramping up efforts nationwide to legalize assisted suicide.

Along with major media outlets overwhelmingly supporting their efforts and a recent Gallup poll showing that the "Majority of Americans (73%) Remain Supportive of Euthanasia", how do we fight against this and educate the public?

One excellent answer can be found in the recently released 80 minute film "Fatal Flaws".

"Fatal Flaws" features filmmaker Kevin Dunn who spent three years traveling throughout Europe and North American asking the question "should we be giving doctors the right in law to end the life of others by euthanasia or assisted suicide?"

In the film, Mr. Dunn respectfully interviews people and experts on both sides of the issues and the candid testimonies are powerful and moving. I have viewed the film myself and I believe that showings of this film to senior citizen groups, pro-life groups, churches and clergy, medical professionals, etc. would go a long way in educating the public, many of whom are supportive  or unsure of where they stand.

The film was produced in association with The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. For information on purchasing the  "Fatal Flaws" film and/or the accompanying pamphlets, please go the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition "Fatal Flaws" site.

Published with permission from Nancy Valko.

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Former abortion worker Carol Everett YouTube
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Former abortion worker: We wanted teen girls to get 3 to 5 abortions each

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By Jonathon van Maren

August 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Abortion activists like to claim that pro-lifers are liars about pretty much everything. They claim that abortion victim photographs, which shows the horrific reality of what the procedure does to human beings developing in the womb, are fake (although they won’t say what they think the baby looks like when the abortionist gets through with her.) They insist that the video exposes released by organizations like the Center for Medical Progress and Live Action are “doctored.” And they assure everyone that abortion workers are not feticide technicians, but simply feminists out to help women in any way they can.

And that is why the testimonies of those who actually worked in the abortion industry before becoming pro-life are so devastating. There have been many high-profile defectors over the years: Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of NARAL, Norma McCorvey, otherwise known as Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, and Dr. Anthony Levatino, among others. Carol Everett, a former abortion provider, even wrote a book in the early ‘90s detailing what the abortion business is all about. Titled Blood Money: Getting Rich Off a Women’s Right to Choose, Everett’s book exposes the abortion industry for precisely what it is: A business, with dead babies being the product. Some time ago, I spoke with Everett about her experience as an abortion worker. This is what she told me.

How did you get involved in the abortion industry originally?

I became involved in the abortion industry in a desperate attempt to justify my own abortion. Two weeks after Roe v. Wade, I found myself pregnant–third pregnancy, it was not convenient. I was married. My husband said, “You know, abortion is the answer.” I didn’t think about it very much, and no one said stop. And the minute I had that abortion I knew that I had murdered my baby…where do you go from that? You can’t share that with your best friend, or your mother. But what I learned was [that] I could stuff those feelings and tell other women how great abortion was. And it was easy to evolve into the abortion industry selling abortions on a daily basis. And then it evolved into more than that. It became a numbers game. It became a money game.

How hard was it to get involved? Because as I understand, you eventually ended up running a clinic.

Well it wasn’t hard for me. I worked for a man, I sold medical supplies. I was one of the first women salespeople in Dallas, some people will remember that era. And I was calling physicians every day, and we had this account that came online with the medical supply company that was very profitable. He investigated, found it to be an abortion clinic, decided to open his own. Right before we knew it, he had four abortion clinics operating in the Dallas, Texas area. And the day came when he said to me, “Sell abortions as you go selling medical supplies, I will give you a twenty-five dollar commission.” I did that for a while, and then he called and said, “Will you come in and run the clinic?” And that’s when I evolved into the abortion industry. I saw the potential to change the sales techniques on the telephone because the people that answer the telephone at abortion clinics are telemarketers, they sell over the phone. The pregnancy expert is the caller, she buys based on no physical exam. No test, because they’re the experts. And I more than doubled his business in just a couple of months.

What was that process of selling abortions like?

All I did was change the sales techniques on the telephone. And abortion became the only answer. We weren’t really counselling, we were telemarketers. We called them telephone counsellors but it went something like this: the girl would call, and say, “I think I may be pregnant.” And they still go on the internet, but I’m convinced that when they’re ready to make a decision, they pick up the phone and call. The script was: “We can take care of that problem. No one needs to know.” And then we ask, “What’s the first day of your last normal period?” The girl figures that date if she doesn’t know it, gives it to this so-called counsellor, who puts it on a wheel that is actually used to calculate the birth date of the baby. But she didn’t talk about birthdays or baby, she says, “You’re 8 weeks pregnant.” Now think about that. What did she do? She just confirmed this young woman’s worst fear, and she started the process of selling this abortion procedure. You’d think the girl would say, “Stop, how can you tell me that over the telephone?” But remember, this is the pregnancy expert. That seed is planted, that fear is confirmed. The next question is, “Is this good news or bad news?” and of course its bad news or she wouldn’t be calling an abortion clinic. So when she answers, “bad news,” again, she is reassured that we can take care of your problem, no one needs to know.

And now the “get your money come on in.” But they have to identify the fear. Now why do they identify the fear? They use that fear to resell the abortion anytime that girl moves away. Your parents don’t have to know, you don’t have to miss drill team, you don’t have to miss work. And soon the girl will just spit out the fear, not realize that she is just giving them everything that they need to confirm that abortion is the answer. And then they talk about money. “It is 500 dollars. Wait a minute, wait a minute don’t panic.” First of all, now they say, “You may qualify for up to a 40% grant for your abortion.” And they do a little test with her, of course they ask the questions to see if she might qualify and then one foundation in the United States will fund up to 40% of a woman’s abortion if she qualifies to be low income. And if not, “go get your money, borrow your money, tell your friend you’ll get a job, pay him back in a few months.” There are no free abortions. If abortions are so good for women, why aren’t they free?

And the next thing is they got to get her in as fast as possible. If she is booked too far out she will go somewhere else. But you get her in as soon as possible because you don’t want her to have time to process it, you don’t want her to have a support system who comes along and says, “Hey, wait a minute, you can have this baby.” Just get her on in and you know she’s greeted at the door. She’s rushed back to watch her own pregnancy test become positive or negative. If it is positive, they grab her on the bony part of her elbow, squeeze to get her attention, and say, “I’m so sorry, do you want to just take care of it right now?” And far too many of those girls rush up front and say yes.

Within the abortion industry, are the people working within the abortion industry crass entrepreneurs or do they consider themselves reproductive justice warriors or is it a combination of both?

It’s a combination of both. You’ve got some do-gooders in there who are really trying to help women. You’ve got women who have had abortions who are justifying their own. You’ve got incest and rape survivors in there who are hurt. But whatever it is inside that abortion clinic, just look at them--they are hurt people, hurt individuals. Gritted teeth, clenched fists. They’re not happy people, they’re hurting people, and we need to see them as that. Except for the grace of God, there goes Carol Everett. And so I try to see them in a different way. But the other thing that we must remember as we go about this is there are two kinds in there, there are the greedy people who are making money at the top like I was. And then there are people at the bottom who are the do-gooders. But remember this: they never sell life at any point. They don’t talk about continuing the pregnancy at all. They never talk about adoption, they never talk about parenthood, they only speak of abortion so regardless of what they are, they are selling their product.

You said before that there were different ways of ensuring you could make these girls repeat customers. What were those?

We wanted to be certain they liked us, and of course we were nice to them. But we passed out defective condoms to the boys--we didn’t buy the best condoms you know, we bought seconds or defective condoms. And when the girls came in for their abortion we gave them a pack of birth control pills. We told them to start taking them on Saturdays, that way they would never have a pill on the weekend. And we passed out low-dose birth control pills[that] we knew must be taken effectively at the same time every day in order to provide a level of effectiveness. We knew most girls would not take them accurately, and we knew that she would become pregnant again. And actually, those are the ones we went to the schools and passed out–the low-dose birth control pills we knew the girls would get pregnant on. Our goal was to get three to five abortions between the ages of 13 and 18 from every young woman.

How often was that successful?

Very successful. Over 50%. I saw one women who had her 9th abortion. You know, we became friends with some of those women. We had one women who was having an affair and would get pregnant to get a minx coat or a diamond ring. Sadly, we heard a lot of those stories, and now with almost a 50% repeat rate across the nation, abortion is a method of birth control for many.

Would you say that the giant abortion corporations like Planned Parenthood employ the same tactics when they push sex education and when they push contraception and birth control? You say that there are some so-called do-gooders, but is that part of their business model or is that part of their ideology?

I think it is part of the ideology at the top, but of course the people who are actually doing it don’t understand that. Most of them are the do-gooders. But you have got to remember this: Ask yourself what Planned Parenthood pushes when they go into to a school. Go online, look at their Teen Wire, look at their websites, look what they’re telling these kids they can do. They’re now talking about perversion and all sorts of sick sexual acts now. The truth of the matter is that they are telling them to experiment younger and younger. And we know they’re passing out condoms in some schools in New Jersey as early as seven years old. Those kids don’t need to know anything about that. They have a book now for two-year-olds [called] What do two-year-olds need to know about sex? Planned Parenthood has a let’s get pregnant agenda, but you’re never going to find it written down, and no one is ever going to admit it. It’s just part of who and what they are. But look at what they do, understand what they do. And then ask yourself why in the world they do it. They never talk about abstinence. When they talk about abstinence, they say oh, you should abstain, abstinence is the best way, but you’re not going to do it so here’s how to have safe sex. Any time anyone talks about safe sex, or passes out condoms, or even talks to kids with both genders present, is not trying to stop sexual activity. They’re trying to promote it.

What sort of things did you see inside the abortion clinics that if you could you would show to the public?

I would show them that they can’t possibly use sterile instruments if they have fifty patients in one day.  If they’re working with two abortionists who want to do 10-12 abortions an hour. They may start with sterile instruments, but there is no way that you can wash those instruments at a rate of 10-12 an hour and turn them around and cool them off in time for them to reuse them. [When] the first abortion [is done] and they bring that into central supply, the central supply tech has to check the baby’s body parts to be sure all parts are there because if not, the doctor will have to go back in. Then she will wash the instruments, she will wrap the instruments, put them in the sterilizer, bring them up to 270 degrees for 20 minutes. And when she does that then after you let the steam out which takes a few minutes, you have to let them cool. And I’ve seen doctors take hot instruments and use a pad to dilate the woman’s cervix. Now he was burning that woman’s cervix because those instruments were so hot he couldn’t hold them with his own hands. And then after a while they just give up because 20-24 abortions an hour, with 21 sets of instruments, there’s no way. And so what happens is they resort to something like cydex, and after they use something like cydex that you just soak them in, and you can’t possibly soak them for twenty minutes to get them sterile, they just clean them.

Typically speaking, your average pro-choice member of the public will say, and probably believe, that the baby being removed is just a clump of cells or just a clump of fetal tissues. What does it actually look like?

As early as an abortion can be performed, the baby has to be reconstructed to be certain that it is all there. Now, think about that. Six weeks, they have to be sure that the little head is there, and that the little limbs are there. Yes, they may be paraffin-like, but they’re there, translucent, but they’re there–and you have to check. And as they get older and larger of course, muscle stricture is much stronger, but at every level you have to be certain that every baby’s body part has been removed. And when they’re twelve weeks old, you reconstruct them. You reconstruct a baby and leave it on an under-pad right there to be certain that you got it all.

What was it like to actually see a baby after an abortion?

They’re always destroyed, the baby’s body parts are always destroyed. Unless they’re a second or third trimester abortion, then they’re so strong it won’t come apart. And some of those will not come apart. So you’re left with a head that will come off the body, I’d say [at] 32 weeks.

How do people react upon seeing this? Because one of the things that’s interesting is I’ve heard former abortion workers like Abby Johnson say that when she saw a baby basically disintegrate before her eyes on an ultrasound–that’s what did it. But what you’re describing to me is a process whereby you see the babies being pieced back together. After seeing that what is it that allows you to remain in denial?  

You tell yourself you’re helping that woman. You know it’s wrong, but you tell yourself that you were helping that women and so you just go around and say it. When one of my people would have some sort of an attack and they would see something that is difficult I would say, “Remember you helped a woman, you helped a woman,” and that was our mantra. That’s what we said.

Did it ever impact the people inside the clinics, seeing the results of abortion?

I had one women walk out on me very early when I was barely in there. She worked in the first clinic I worked in, and she was the central supply technician. She was the one that reconstructed the babies all the time, put them down the disposal and cleaned the instruments. And she came in one morning and said, “I can’t do it anymore. I had a nightmare last night. Those babies were sitting on that sink with their little legs crossed looking like cherubs waving at me, and I can’t be part of killing another baby.” And she walked out. I’ve always admired that woman. At least she stood for what she believed. And normally we paid them so much money that they couldn’t make that much money anywhere else, so they’d stay with us, but she didn’t care. She stood for what she believed.  

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The two greatest mercies of God—His law and His grace

Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

August 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – With the sweet name of mercy being so much abused today in the Church, we are in danger of forgetting the two greatest mercies that God has in fact given to us.

The first is the Law. By this, I mean the Divine Law that enunciates and clarifies for us the natural moral law by which human persons are required to live and outside of which they cannot be either virtuous or happy, in this life or in the world to come.

The second is the grace to live the law. As St. Thomas Aquinas explains, what Christ has brought us is not a new law in the sense of a new content that differs from the natural moral law, but rather, the gift of the Holy Spirit by which we fallen creatures are empowered to live that law, day in and day out. This is the delicious fruit of the Passion and the magnificent gift of Pentecost: we who, by our own power and efforts, are doomed to fail, are lifted up by God’s help to a life of fidelity to His commandments.

Why are these the two greatest mercies?

For human action, two things are required. First, we must know where we are headed so that we can choose the right path to reach it. Second, we must have the strength to follow that path, or, to put it more simply, the will, the inclination, to set out towards our goal. It is not enough to have knowledge if we are weak or powerless to act according to it; it is not enough to have energy or will power if we don’t know what direction to go in.

As a result, God, in His special care for us, rational creatures made in His image and likeness, has provided both the knowledge of what we should do (and should not do), and the interior motivation to carry it out (or, in the case of evil, to refrain from carrying it out).

We may see in the sign of the Cross a reminder of this truth. When we start “In the Name of the Father,” we place our hand on our forehead: the Father is the origin of all truth, and in His Light we see light. Then we bring our hand to our heart, “and of the Son,” as if to say: “May my heart be conformed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; may I love what He loves, desire what He desires.” Then we touch each side of our torso, from one shoulder to the other, as if to say: “May the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, surround me and make me live the the truth I have seen, make me actually do the good I have desired.”

Throughout the Christian centuries, heretical trends have perverted these mercies. Some, embracing antinomianism, reject the Law as an enslaving imposition and seek for a freedom or a toleration that ends up destroying itself and harming those around us who must suffer from the consequences. Others, on the contrary, hold to the Law in its externals only, making it into a loveless fixation with propriety and respectability.

We see the former alive and well today in clergy and theologians who oppose the Gospel to the Ten Commandments, or who see the Christian path as one of simultaneous sinning and righteousness (as Martin Luther did). We see the latter in anyone who does not see love for God and for neighbor as the very heart of law-abidingness, and therefore does not see that the most crucial work for us to be doing, day in and day out, is begging the Lord for the grace to live in His truth. Without that grace, there is no righteousness; without that grace, there is no salvation.

It is not the one who is an activist, always seeking the next great conquest in the public sphere, who has grasped the primacy of God’s law, nor is it the relaxed exponent of “anything goes” or the nonchalant trumpeter of “God is Love” who has awakened to the severe mercy and the transformative grace of God. It is rather the one who is found in the temple of God, begging Him for the knowledge of His law and the grace of His charity with which to live it out. He or she will be there, in that temple, either literally or figuratively, at the break of day, throughout the day, in the evening, at night.

This is the telltale sign that one has hearkened to these two great mercies, and has understood what is required if we are to know and live the law of the Lord.

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