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Catholic mom begs US bishops: ‘Stand up and lead us’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LAKE COUNTY, Illinois, February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A married Catholic couple has produced a video asking the American bishops to address not only the problem of sexual predation in the clergy but also the legacy of episcopal cover-up.

Helen Gondek, a 33-year-old mother of three, reads a letter to the bishops in the seven-minute video, offering a voice and a face to represent the millions of American Catholics longing for an end to the crisis of leadership in the Church.

“I am no one special,” Gondek begins. “I do not pretend to be a great scholar or the most qualified person to write you this letter. I am just a faithful lay Catholic who loves the Church.”

Gondek tells the bishops that she and her husband have always looked to the Church for guidance and have always tried follow its teachings.

“God has tugged at our hearts to try to do something for His Church during this scandalous time,” Gondek says, “and while we feel completely unprepared and unqualified to do so, we continue to remind ourselves that it is not about our power or abilities but rather God’s grace and His will.”

“We also cannot bear the thought of dying someday and looking at Jesus’ face telling him that we felt in our heart we should do something to help the Church but didn’t have the courage to do it,” she continues.

“So here I am doing this video, reaching out to you as a voice of the laity.”

Gondek says she and her husband realize that the American bishops have received “dozens of letters” but thought that “putting a face and a tone of voice to the words may help to convey how we are all feeling.”

“We pray that this video will speak to your heart,” she added.

In the video, Gondek asks the bishops to “stand up and lead” American Catholics. She enumerates serious episcopal problems and scandals, saying that Catholics are “all deeply worried about the state of the hierarchy in the Church.”

“Our hearts ache because we don’t believe Jesus would want his Church in this state,” she states.

“We are reaching out to you with love to ask you to please get together with your brother bishops, stand up and lead us,” Gondek says.

“During this time when accusations are made about cover-ups and proofs of cover-ups are exposed, the Church is being investigated as a criminal organization, four billion dollars have been spent on the sexual abuse scandals, abusers have been moved up through the ranks of the hierarchy, cardinals and bishops are … hiding and shredding documents from the DA offices, and Archbishop Vigano’s accusations are still out there ... waiting to be proven wrong, we continue to wait for you to speak and lead us.”

Helen Gondek told LifeSiteNews via email that she and her husband Tim were inspired by the first testimony of Archbishop Carlo Viganò and by their parish priest saying that he needed the laity’s help to “get this filth out of the Church.”

“We then noticed that none of our family or fellow Catholic friends knew of the scandal, and when we would bring it up they would shrug it off and state that it wasn't possible,” Gondek wrote.  

“They also did not want to read the Viganò testimony even when we suggested it. So we started getting really worried that it seemed no one was caring about the scandal and that it would all be brushed aside.”

The couple began a Facebook page called “Catholics Who Care” for people who wanted to stay informed about the scandal. They reached out to lay leaders like Scott Hahn, but found that, like the bishops, such people didn’t seem to want to lead the laity forward from the scandal.

“So while praying the rosary and thinking about what to do I had a feeling that God was calling us to do something and felt that maybe a YouTube video to the bishops might be able to reach them in a heartfelt way,” Gondek told LifeSiteNews. “In a time like this we need them to lead us and the lack of leadership we have been receiving is what has led me to do this video.”

‘Cardinal Cupich...is not someone that we trust to lead us’

The Gondeks, who are from Illinois, feel that the only American bishop who has made a statement to the laity is Cardinal Blase Cupich, and that he is ignoring how bad things are in his own Archdiocese of Chicago.

“We have not forgotten that the DA office investigation for his and other Illinois dioceses is reporting that the Church withheld more than 500 names of clergy accused of sexually abusing minors,” Helen Gondek tells the bishops in her video.

“So Cardinal Cupich can continue speak and act as if all is well in Chicago, and he can continue to ignore the fact that we know that it isn’t. But this will still not solve the problem, and he is not someone that we trust to lead us at this point.”

Imagining that the bishops have locked themselves in an “upper room of silence” like the apostles frightened by the circumstances they found themselves in, Gondek says the laity are praying for them.

“While you sit in that upper room, we are all just praying so hard that the Holy Spirit will come down upon you and lead you out of that room to speak to us and lead us with the truth,” she states.  

“We want to hear from you; we need to hear from you.”

Gondek is worried that the episcopal meeting with Pope Francis in February to discuss protocols for disciplining bishops found guilty of child abuse will ignore Catholics’ more pressing concerns.

“It seems you think we will believe that putting protocols in place will fix the problem but you continue to ignore the fact that cover-ups have occurred and will continue to occur if they are not dealt with right now,” Gondek says.

“Thus, protocols will be a band-aid for the situation, not a solution to the problem; the wound will just continue to fester under the band-aid, become infected, and in 15 years someone will rip the band-aid off to find more cover-ups and scandals,” she concludes.

Believing that God has put the bishops in their positions right now to do something to “lead the Church back to the light,” the young married woman begs the bishops to break their silence.

“We want to trust you, and we continue to look for leadership from you,” Gondek says.

“We have to ask you with love and respect, please break the silence, show us the way. We are asking you to stand up, speak the truth, fight for what is right, and to lead us to heaven,” she continues. “Please defend our faith with all you have.”  

Gondek told LifeSiteNews that “full transparency” on the part of the bishops “is probably the best option” in restoring the laity’s faith in them.

“We should not be afraid of what the truth will bring,” she said. “The more that is left hidden the more likely more cover-ups will happen and that is what we are trying to avoid.”

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‘Severely disabled’ child healed after mother refused to abort him

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

GEORGE WEST, Texas, February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A mother who refused to abort her unborn son despite being told he had a fatal abnormality prayed for a miracle — and got one.

Last summer, Kate Bledsoe McKinney, the mother of three daughters, was told that her unborn son had a cystic hygroma, a malformation of the lymphatic system, and that it was so big he could not survive.

“I was encouraged to go ahead and terminate,” McKinney recounted Sunday on her Facebook page.  

“In fact, they could even do it that same day,” she continued.  “It was nothing to them.”

When she began to cry, the doctor left the room and McKinney recalled that she had been advised 10 years before to abort her twin daughters.

“We were told they only had a 32.8 percent chance for both to be born alive,” she said. “I was encouraged to terminate them, also. I couldn’t believe I was here again.”

McKinney told the doctor that she wouldn’t abort her child and stuck to her guns despite his advice.

“He then told me about the risks of continuing the pregnancy and what would happen during a stillbirth,” she reported. “He was still trying to persuade me to abort.”

Fortunately, McKinney then met someone with a different philosophy of medical care. When a nurse came in to draw blood from the tear-stained mother, she shyly asked her how her appointment was. When McKinney said it could have gone better, the nurse took a risk.

“She gently placed her hand on my arm and looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Just have faith. Nothing is too big for God,’” McKinney recalled.  

“In a doctor’s office, where it seemed like they were handing out lollipops with abortions, this woman was an angel,” she continued.

“I know God put her there to tell me that. I needed to hear it.”

After weeks of being offered — and refusing — an abortion multiple times at each medical appointment, McKinney prayed for a miracle. The next day, she noticed that the sonogram technician didn’t measure the cystic hygroma as usual, and asked what was going on. The sonogram technician said the doctor would explain.  

Here’s what happened next:

“The doctor walked in. A new one. I had never seen her before during my visits. She was sweet and soft spoken. She had bedside manner. If anyone was going to give me bad news, I wanted it to be her. Immediately, I asked about the cystic hygroma not being measured. She gave me this sweet smile and told me that there was nothing there to measure. It was gone. I’m not sure who seemed more shocked. I had her repeat the news several times because I could not believe what was coming out of her mouth. There are cases out there (believe me, I read them day and night) where these things have resolved on their own. I knew there was a possibility. It was a very small chance, but it was there.”

McKinney’s baby boy was born November 4. The proud mother describes him as “perfect.” Although the doctors were shocked and ran test after test to find something seriously wrong with him, all they found was a small heart murmur that would resolve itself.

McKinney shared her testimony of grief, faith and hope over social media on February 5. She had always meant to share the story but indicated she was doing so now because of the radically pro-abortion, pro-infanticide law that passed in New York state.

Reflecting on the reality that she could have aborted her baby up to the day he was born, the happy mother said she could not believe it.

“I cannot fathom the idea that I could have changed my mind on November 4th. Just said, ‘To heck with it,’ because I changed my mind about having this baby,” she wrote.

“I firmly believe my faith was tested during this pregnancy. God wanted to see if I would do the unthinkable and terminate His plan. He wanted to see if I would believe in Him to heal our baby. Boy, am I glad I did,” she continued.

“I choose life. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. I will pray for New York and the leaders that made that decision. As I know all too well, nothing is too big for God.”

McKinney concluded by saying she made her story public so it could be shared.

“I hope it helps someone that may be going through something of their own,” she wrote.

Her Facebook post is going viral.

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Abortion survivor: Had I been born in Gov. Northam’s world, I could be dead now

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By Martin Barillas

RICHMOND, Virginia, February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A woman who was born alive after a failed abortion 41 years ago indicated that had she been born under Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed abortion regime, she might not have survived. 

“There was an argument as to whether medical care would be provided to me,” said Melissa Ohden in an exclusive video interview with LifeSiteNews.

“I’m that child, that baby that everybody’s talking about,” Ohden said in reference to the national uproar that ensued after Democrat Gov. Northam made comments during a radio interview in support of infanticide last week. 

Northam told a radio show host: "So in this particular example, if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen: The infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” Northam was speaking about a bill introduced by state Delegate Kathy Tran (D), who admitted in a hearing that her bill would allow abortion even at the moment of birth. 

Commented Ohden: “I take Gov. Northam’s words really really seriously.” 

Ohden related how when a saline abortion failed to kill her in 1977, she was “accidentally born alive.” A nurse took pity on her after seeing the 2 lbs. 14 oz baby gasping for breath and brought her to a neonatal ICU where she recovered and survived. 

“There are many stories like mine,” Ohden said. “We’re not talking about hypothetical cases. We’re not talking about ambiguous circumstances. We’re talking about human beings.”

“So as frightening and disgusting as it is to hear these things, I do take hope in the fact that it's not hidden from plain sight anymore. We know what we're dealing with here – and now we can fight," she said. 

Responding to radical abortion laws approved or proposed throughout the country, Ohden said that “it almost feels like we're living in the Twilight Zone. I know I'm not the only one that feels that way.” 

“We live in what I would call a throw-away culture, a throw-away society where the value of life is very subjective,” said Ohden, who added that in such a culture “no one is ever safe.” The standards for the value of life thereby varies. If some people are deemed less valuable than others, Ohden said, “we need to be concerned about that.”

Speaking about the approval of New York’s radical pro-abortion Reproductive Health Act, which repealed requirements for doctors to provide life-saving care to babies born alive, Ohden said that pro-abortion forces have always sought to start momentum for late-term abortion in one state to affect other states. “The fact that it is not being hidden,” she said, “is what’s most surprising.”

Ohden survived a late-term saline infusion abortion at St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa in 1977. She has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and the Australian Parliament about abortion and life issues. Formerly an outreach activist with Feminists for Life, she founded the Abortion Survivors Network in 2012. Ohden is also the author of You Carried Me, A Daughter’s Memoir.

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Disneyland to host first-ever official gay ‘pride’ event

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By Martin Barillas

PARIS February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – “Magical Pride” will be Disney’s first-ever official pro-homosexual “pride” event and will take place in June in Paris, France. 

“Live your best life and shine with the joy of diversity at Magical Pride, a dazzling party lighting up Disneyland Paris on 1st June 2019,” Paris’ Disney Land states on its website about the event. 

“Dress like a dream, feel fabulous and experience Walt Disney Studios Park like never before - loud, proud and alive with all the colours of the rainbow,” it adds. 

According to a company website, to kick off Gay Pride Month the Disney Studios Park in Paris “will be privatised for a special Pride party” and will include a dance party, light-night access to the amusement park and a parade. 

According to NBC, a Disney spokesperson said: “Diversity and equality are strong values at Disneyland Paris, and each year, we host millions of visitors regardless of their origins, gender or sexual orientation.” The spokesperson added, “We are committed to fostering a welcoming environment for all of our Guests where magic is for everyone.” 

While Disney has cooperated with LGBTQ groups who have staged events at various Disney parks in the past, this is the first time that a pro-homosexual “pride” event will be officially organized by the entertainment giant. Unofficial Magic Pride events, however, have been taking place at the Paris location since 2014, according to CBS.

Disney amusement facilities have otherwise welcomed LGBTQ customers for years, having opened up Cinderella’s Castle to same-sex “weddings” in 2007 and seen Gay Days, as well. At Disney World in Florida, for instance, the unofficial 29th Annual Gay Days will kick-off on August 13. The Wyndham hotel chain is offering lodging to those participating. The iconic original Disneyland in California held its Gay Days in October when visitors wore red shirts to signal their support for the LGBTQ cause.

Even while Disney has welcomed Gay Days and rainbow-hued Mickey Mouse ears, LGBTQ activists have not been satisfied. Mashable reported that despite having a large pro-homosexual fanbase, Disney has lagged in having “queer representation” in its films. 

Disney’s films, however, have been criticized by pro-family advocates for pushing the normalization of homosexuality in its so-called “family” entertainment. 

  • The Disney cartoon Doc McStuffins featured a family headed by two lesbian "moms" in its 2017 show about an aspiring doctor. It's marketed to preschoolers.
  • Disney’s 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast featured a homosexual subplot where one of the film’s characters was refashioned to be homosexual.
  • Disney Channel introduced in 2017 a homosexual teen character in “Andi Mack.” The show was aimed principally at a preadolescent television audience.
  • Last year the writer and co-director of Disney’s popular “Frozen” animated film gave what the Huffington Post called a “glimmer of hope” regarding main character Elsa coming out of the closet as a lesbian.
  • Disney’s upcoming film Jungle Cruise will feature for the first time an openly homosexual character. 

The entertainment giant also has a history of promoting homosexuality through its parks and merchandise.

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Pregnant woman murdered in New York; Cuomo’s abortion law says her baby isn’t a victim

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By Calvin Freiburger

NEW YORK CITY, February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A pregnant woman was found stabbed to death in New York City over the weekend, offering a grim example of one of the overlooked consequences of radical abortion law enacted last month by the state’s Democrat leaders.

In January, New York’s state Senate voted 38-24 and the state Assembly 92-47 in favor of the so-called “Reproductive Health Act” (RHA). Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill as a “historic victory” for “progressive values,” ordering the One World Trade Center spire to be lit in pink to mark the occasion – the same building where a memorial recognizes eleven preborn children killed in the September 11 terror attacks.

The new law declares, “Every individual who becomes pregnant has the fundamental right to choose to carry the pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion,” erases the state’s recognition of preborn babies as potential homicide victims, removes abortion from the penal code entirely, and allows licensed health practitioners other than full doctors to commit abortions.

On Sunday, 35-year-old real estate agent Jennifer Irigoyen was found dead of multiple stab wounds in her Queens apartment, Fox News reported. A neighbor told police he saw a man “dragging her down the stairs” and heard her screaming 'He's got a knife! He's going to kill the baby!” Police are currently investigating her murder, and are reportedly looking for Irigoyen’s boyfriend.

Irigoyen, a licensed Zumba instructor and Latin ballroom dancer whom the building super described as a “sweetheart,” was five months pregnant; her baby also died in the attack.

Before the new abortion law, New York’s definition of “homicide” included the death of a “person [or an unborn child with which a female has been pregnant for more than twenty-four weeks] under circumstances constituting murder, manslaughter in the first degree, manslaughter in the  second degree, or criminally negligent homicide.” The RHA deletes the bracketed section, and all other references to abortion or the preborn from the homicide statute.

“The RHA removes abortion from the state’s penal code altogether; the homicide statute still defines a ‘person’ as ‘a human being who has been born and is alive,’” FactCheck.org confirmed.

Irigoyen’s baby was one month shy of being protected by the old homicide language, meaning her killer wouldn’t have been prosecuted for a second victim in this case either way. But the crime highlights the fact that under New York law, preborn babies are completely unprotected. Thanks to the latest measure, not even preborn babies killed in the third trimester would be recognized as murder or manslaughter victims.

Thirty-eight states currently have some form of fetal homicide laws, 29 of which apply at any gestational age, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, or Laci’s Law, recognizes preborn children as second victims when they’re killed in the course of federal crimes.

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Pro-life NFL star Benjamin Watson speaks out against radical abortion push in Virginia, New York

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By Calvin Freiburger

February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Former National Football League tight end Benjamin Watson has joined in the chorus of Americans speaking out against embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam over his recent comments endorsing infanticide, as well as a New York law effectively allowing abortions until birth.

Video went viral last week of Democrat Del. Kathy Tran admitting her bill to liberalize Virginia’s late-term abortion laws would allow abortions just as a woman is about to give birth, followed by Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam suggesting that a born-alive “infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired.” He later claimed he was only referring to cases such as a “nonviable pregnancy” or “severe fetal abnormalities.”

Tran’s bill has already been tabled, but the controversy intensified a discussion of the extremes at which Democrats and their allies have arrived on abortion, which was already underway in response to New York’s recently-enacted law. That law received cheers upon passing in the state capitol. It declared a “fundamental right” to abortion and erased the state’s recognition of preborn babies older than 24 weeks as potential homicide victims.

Watson, an outspoken pro-life Christian, responded to Northam’s claim it was “shameful and disgusting” to suggest he doesn’t value children’s lives by tweeting a reminder that “children in utero deserve equal devotion.”

Watson also retweeted other pro-life reactions to the story, such as the following:

Previously, he reacted to the cheers of pro-abortion New York lawmakers by lamenting a “sad and evil day when the murder of our most innocent and vulnerable is celebrated with such overwhelming exuberance,” and warning of “consequences untold” from failing to support life.

Watson, who has played for the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, and New Orleans Saints, has a history of being unafraid to use his celebrity to support the pro-life cause. Last year he and his wife Kirsten donated a state-of-the-art 3D/4D ultrasound machine to Severna Park Pregnancy Clinic in Maryland.

In 2017, he spoke at the national March for Life, where he challenged men to “stand up for the lives of the innocent and their mothers in crisis [...] Even if it wasn’t demonstrated for you by a father, you can be different, you can change the course of generation. Men, we can be silent no more.”

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LA Rams kicker: ‘Most important goal of a married Catholic man’ is getting his family to heaven

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LOS ANGELES, California, February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Los Angeles Rams placekicker Greg Zuerlein might not have won the Superbowl this year, but he’s got his priorities in order.

In a recent interview with the National Catholic Register (NCR), the star football player explained why faith and family are even more important to him than football.

“I enjoy playing football but also know that it will come to an end one day,” Zuerlein, 31, said. “The older I get, the more I see that it is not who I am, but what I do for a job.”

“The most important goal of a single Catholic man is to get his soul to heaven, but the most important goal of a married Catholic man expands to getting not only his own soul to heaven, but also those of his wife and children,” Zuerlein stated.

“It’s almost as if, as a result of the love that you share, you have one soul as a family.”

Zuerlein and his wife Megan have four small children, and Zuerlein explained why a married couple having many children shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“...[The] whole point of getting married is to raise good children — first giving them natural life and then giving them supernatural life in the Church,” he told the NCR.

“Children are supposed to be valued highly, but not in the sense of being a scarce luxury. The default setting for a family is to have children, so it shouldn’t be considered odd when children come about.”

Zuerlein praised his parents for taking the Catholic faith seriously, saying that he was fortunate to have them.

“In our family, it was made clear that certain things are required of us in order to get to heaven,” he recalled.  

“The Church is there in so many ways for us to achieve that goal, so it is a matter of whether we want to cooperate with the grace available through the sacramental and devotional life of the Church,” he continued. “It’s all centered on Christ and radiates out through Mary, Joseph, the apostles, angels, and so forth. I learned that growing up, but it’s becoming even clearer now.”

In an earlier interview, the then-recently married footballer mentioned that as a child he went to Mass every day.

“At St. Joseph Catholic [Elementary] School I would go to Mass every day during the week, often with my mother and three sisters, and then we would go to Mass on Sundays and other holy days of obligation as a family,” he told Trent Beattie in 2013. “We’d also go to Confession regularly, so we were taking in a ton of grace on a regular basis. Our lives were centered on Jesus in the Mass and other Sacraments, so there was a great stability present in the family.”

Zuerlein told NCR that he has been reading a book about some Early Church Fathers. Four Witnesses by Rod Bennett (and published by Ignatius Press) is about Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyons, and what they learned from the the apostles. The football player finds knowledge of the history of the Church useful in explaining the Catholic faith to non-Catholics.

The writings of the first leaders of the Church after the apostles are good things to point out to Protestant friends who tend to see history as having a 1,500-year gap between the apostles and the origin of Protestantism, he told NCR.

“The Church was Catholic from the beginning; we’ve always been a family in faith, led by bishops and priests who can trace their holy orders back to the apostles, who themselves were ordained by Christ. Apostolic succession means the continuation of the life of Christ in the world,” he continued.

He added that he sometimes has to explain the faith to less well catechized Catholics, too, and used the injunction against the killing of the unborn as his example.

“It is unfortunate when Catholicism is not taught clearly, because then people can get really confused about the most basic things, even things that aren’t specifically Catholic,” he said.

“Abortion is sometimes presented as one issue among many or even overlooked, but you don’t even have to belong to the Church to know that killing babies is wrong and that it is more important than other issues.”

Zuerlein’s commitment to his faith and family recalls the Christian witness of Philip Rivers, Catholic father of eight and quarterback for his city’s other NFL team, the Los Angeles Chargers.

Pope Francis and Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt's al-Azhar mosque
Pope Francis and Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Egypt's al-Azhar mosque, pay homage at the tomb of the Founders, Abu Dhabi, Feb. 4, 2019 Copyright Holy See Press Office
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Pope Francis under fire for claiming ‘diversity of religions’ is ‘willed by God’

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has incited further controversy by signing a joint statement with a Grand Imam, saying that a “pluralism and diversity” of religions is “willed by God.”

The Pope signed the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” with Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar Mosque, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday. 

The Feb. 4 event was part of Pope Francis’s three-day apostolic visit to the United Arab Emirates. The historic journey marked the first time a Roman Pontiff has visited the Arabian Peninsula, and was intended to promote interreligious dialogue and support the country’s considerable Catholic minority.

The document on Human Fraternity invites “all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters.”

The passage inciting controversy reads:

Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept.

God’s “permissive will”?  

In a Feb. 5 article in the Catholic Herald, Dr. Chad Pecknold, associate professor of systematic theology at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., sought to downplay the controversial passage, saying it must be read in its proper context and perspective.

“The idea that God wills the diversity of color, sex, race and language is easily understood, but some may find it puzzling to hear the Vicar of Christ talk about God willing the diversity of religions,” he said.

Pecknold acknowledged that the passage “is puzzling and potentially problematic.” But he maintained that, in the context of the document, “the Holy Father is clearly referring not to the evil of many false religions, but positively refers to the diversity of religions only in the sense that they are evidence of our natural desire to know God.”

“God wills that all men come to know Him through the free choice of their will, and so it follows that a diversity of religions can be spoken about as permissively willed by God without denying the supernatural good of one true religion,” Pecknold added.

Fr. Z also weighed in on his blog, saying “we must seek a way to understand this without it sounding like heresy.” He argued that if we read the passage to mean there are a multiplicity of religons “by God’s permissive will,” the statement is “acceptable.”  

A Dominican theologian responds

But in comments today to LifeSite, a Dominican theologian who wished to remain anonymous said the controversial passage “in its obvious sense is false, and in fact heretical.”

“The various religions say incompatible things about who God is and how He wants to be worshipped. Therefore they cannot all be true. Therefore God, who is truth, cannot will all religions,” he explained. 

Responding to those who are defending the Pope’s statement by invoking God’s “permissive will,” the Dominican theologian said:

God permits non-Catholic religions to exist; but permitting something is not a way of willing it, it is a way of not willing to prevent it. Thus God permits many innocent people to be killed, but He does not will it. We would not talk about God’s permissive will for Jews to be gassed, for example.

The Dominican said he found Dr. Pecknold’s reading of the text “a strained and unnatural interpretation.” 

“You might as well say that someone who said that gassing Jews was good only meant that it is good that we have the chemical and physiological knowledge that makes it possible,” he argued.

He said “the problem with Fr Z’s interpretation is the reference to religions comes in a list of other things that God does will (and doesn’t simply permit), such as sexes, colors and races.”

“Even the diversity of languages, though originally a punishment, was willed and caused by God,” the theologian noted. “But the diversity of religions is due to sin and so is not willed and caused by God. We can say that it ‘comes under His Providence,’ but then so does everything, even the worst crimes.”

Another controversial passage?

The Dominican theologian went one step further and pointed out another equally problematic, yet overlooked, statement in the document on Human Fraternity — this time on faith.

The opening paragraph of the document reads:

Faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved. Through faith in God, who has created the universe, creatures and all human beings (equal on account of his mercy), believers are called to express this human fraternity by safeguarding creation and the entire universe and supporting all persons, especially the poorest and those most in need.

“It is contrary to the Church’s way of speaking to use the phrase ‘faith in God’ to mean ‘affirming that God exists,’ or ‘believing in any kind of alleged revelation, even a non-Christian one,” the Dominican theologian explained. 

“Faith,” he said, “is the virtue through which God moves us to assent to what He has revealed through the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles, and most of all through His Son.”   

“People who believe in non-Christian religions therefore do not do so by faith, as the declaration Dominus Iesus 7 points out, but by some kind of human opinion.”

Dominus Iesus was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2000, under then prefect Cardinal Josef Ratzinger. It reaffirmed the Church’s teaching that salvation is only found in Jesus Christ and the Church. Paragraph 7 of the document reads:

The distinction between theological faith and belief in the other religions, must be firmly held. If faith is the acceptance in grace of revealed truth, which ‘makes it possible to penetrate the mystery in a way that allows us to understand it coherently,’ then belief, in the other religions, is that sum of experience and thought that constitutes the human treasury of wisdom and religious aspiration, which man in his search for truth has conceived and acted upon in his relationship to God and the Absolute (Dominus Iesus, 7).

As previously discussed here on LifeSite, Vatican II allows for the possibility of extraordinary revelations to non-Christians. According to its decree on the missionary activity of the Church, “God in ways known to Himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel to find that faith without which it is impossible to please Him” (Ad Gentes, 7). 

But the Church is equally clear that the followers of other religions do not have the faith without which it is impossible to please God.

In other words, God can lead the inculpably ignorant through mysterious means to the true faith, but adherence to Islam or any other non-Christian religion cannot constitute this faith.

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Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

News,

Trump expected to reaffirm pro-life commitment at State of the Union address: report

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By Martin Barillas

WASHINGTON February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump is expected to put a pro-life message into his State of the Union address this Tuesday. 

The New York Times and Politico reported that the president would use the event to likely reaffirm his pro-life commitment to his base. 

Citing a White House source, the New York Times quoted an official who said that Trump wants not only to promote national unity but to appeal to pro-life Americans by talking about the “fundamental importance and respect for human life.” 

In addition to devoting part of the speech to ending illegal immigration, according to Politico, Trump “wants to reaffirm his commitment to pro-life things” and that he does not want this third appearance before a joint session of Congress to be “all fire and brimstone.” Trump discussed the issue in a telephone call with Faith & Freedom Coalition President Ralph Reed, the report states. 

Trump’s State of the Union address comes on the heels of controversies swirling in New York and Virginia over the former passing an extreme abortion law and the latter having a governor who defended on public radio infanticide after a failed abortion. 

In a preview of the tack he may take during the address, Trump tweeted last week: “Democrats are becoming the Party of late term abortion, high taxes, Open Borders and Crime!"

In an interview with the Daily Caller news site last week, Trump recalled one of the talking points from his presidential campaign to condemn late-term abortion bills. 

"Do you remember when I said [during a 2016 presidential debate] Hillary Clinton was willing to rip the baby out of the womb? That's what it is, that's what they're doing, it's terrible," he said. "This is going to lift up the whole pro-life movement like maybe it's never been lifted up before," Trump said after a fierce debate unfolded in Virginia after Democrats introduced legislation to virtually eliminate restrictions on abortion, while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill that virtually eliminates any restrictions on abortion. 

The Virginia bill would lower the current legal bar, which allows late-term abortion when the mother’s health would be "substantially and irredeemably" harmed. Virginia state Delegate Kathy Tran (D) acknowledged in a committee hearing last week that the bill would allow even a woman who is dilating to request an abortion. 

In New York, state legislators stood up and cheered earlier in January after approving a bill that decriminalized abortion even at the moment of birth. It also allows non-physicians to commit abortions. Gov. Cuomo signed the bill and directed that pink lights should shine overnight at the World Trade Center and other prominent structures to celebrate the pro-abortion victory.

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Katy Faust

Opinion

Virginia bill erases words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ from law, defines embryonic humans as property

Katy Faust
By

February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Between its extreme abortion bill and the governor’s racist photos, the state of Virginia has been headlining the news. But in the midst of the media frenzy, proposed changes to its parenthood laws were approved in the Virginia House today. Before my tweetstorm about it last night, #HB1979 had only a handful of tags. But it deserves serious attention because it turns children into products, all in the name of “progress.”

The Family Foundation of Virginia calls HB1979the most anti-family bill they’ve ever seen.” It aims to “update” Virginia’s laws on parenthood. “Updating” in 2019 means stripping parenthood laws of all references to “mother” and “father.” Gender neutral is so progressive, don’t ya know? The thing is, while we may be able to remove references to mother and father in law, we just can’t seem to remove the longings children have for their mother and father in their hearts.  

Here are some kids with same-sex parents sharing how much they wanted their missing mother or father:

  • I have two moms and am constantly wondering what it would be like to have a father and who my biological dad is. I’m wondering is there any way to find who he is? I’m not expecting him to jump and be some sort of active dad to me i just want to know who he is…
  • Father’s Day sucks, and my mom thinks it’s society when really it’s just her. I love her but yeesh. She talks about genders like they don’t matter when raising kids. I want to know who my dad is. I need to bond with him and do daddy-daughter things. He’s half of who I am… We’re flesh and blood. If he and my mom were a couple, he’d be my dad. But when my mom is gay and asked him not to be there, he’s just my “donor”? Really? Where is my say in this?
  • I’m a 15 year old girl and I have two moms. They’re wonderful and the best parents my sister and I could have asked for. But still, I want a dad... and I feel bad for saying that.
  • I don’t really know if people understand how kick-ass it is that moms like mine had the strength to bring a child into this world on their own. You know, at first, that’s the only way I would look at my situation, that way things were more positive. But in reality, my kick-ass mom never knew and never will know the damage that not having a father has caused me.
  • I am an only child who lives with my single lesbian mother. I never really even had a father figure in my life. It angers me because I feel like a missed out on so many opportunities that children with fathers have. Growing up without a father sucks. I mourn the loss of a childhood without a dad.
  • Me, my baby brother, Dad, and Billy. We were a family. It was the only family I had ever known... [I watched] The Land Before Time. It is a classic movie. But for me it was a traumatic experience. I watched, eyes glued, as Littlefoot lost his Mother. Littlefoot had a “Mother” and she died saving his life. Littlefoot spent the entire movie mourning the loss of his “Mother.” It was in that moment, as a five year old girl, that I realized there was such a thing as a mother. It was also in that moment that I realized that I did not have one. I spent the rest of our free day at the gym crying into the arms of a teacher I would never see again for a mother that I never knew I never had.

Darn those kids. Why are they so un-progressive? So un-2019? Why do they have to want what every other human has wanted throughout history...to be known and loved by both their mother and father?

Now, before you start quoting “studies” that show that kids raised by same-sex couples fare “no different” than their peers raised by married mothers and fathers, take a look at the serious methodological flaws in that research. First study the studies, then we can talk.

HB1979 also expands the availability of surrogacy. I wrote about surrogacy last month when Ben Shapiro did a strange thing and...got something wrong. If you skip the article, here are the Cliff Notes: surrogacy is not pro-life or pro-child. It involves surplus embryos, abortion, eugenics, and sex selection. Surrogacy isn’t about babies – it’s about on-demand, designer babies. Turns out, even the babies that survive the surrogacy process are harmed as commodification doesn’t do much for children’s self-image:

  • I am told, look how much your parents wanted you, they planned and saved to have you… When you know that a huge part of the reason that you came into the world is due solely to a paycheck, and that after being paid you are disposable, given away and never thought of again, it impacts how you view yourself. –Jessica Kern (Child of Surrogacy)
  • I don’t care why my parents or my mother did this. It looks to me like I was bought and sold. You can dress it up with as many pretty words as you want… But the fact is that someone has contracted you to make a child, give up your parental rights and hand over your flesh and blood child. When you exchange something for money it is called a commodity. Babies are not commodities. Babies are human beings. –Brian C (Child of Surrogacy)
  • …being “wanted” can sometimes feel like a curse, like I was created to make you happy, my rights be damned. I’d be lying if I said I never felt commodified. – Bethany (donor-conceived)
  • I have to live everyday with the full knowledge that I’m the product of a eugenic science experiment; – Nicholas Isel (donor-conceived)
  • I knew from an early age that I was purchased and selected from essentially a catalog. I knew that my blonde hair and blue eyes was somehow valued above other colorations—because my mother never fell in love with my father, he was never a full human being to her only a handful of breeding details. I always knew that I was purchased and created precisely to make her happy, that was my raison d’etre. – Alana Newman (donor-conceived)

And finally, this bill swaps biology for “intent” as the basis of parenthood. And here we’re really playing with fire. Because “intent” to parent neither provides children with the biological identity that they crave, nor does it give them the adults who, statistically, are the most likely to provide the stability and love that children deserve. When it comes parenting, biology matters especially when protecting children from abuse.

Children conceived via sperm donor who are being raised by even one “intended” parent fare worse than their peers raised by biological parents on important outcomes such as depression, delinquency, and substance abuse. The largest study on outcomes for donor conceived children, My Daddy’s Name is Donor, reveals that, on average, young adults conceived through sperm donation are hurting more, are more confused, and feel more isolated from their families. Moreover, the study found that:

  • Two-thirds agree, “My sperm donor is half of who I am”;
  • About half are disturbed that money was involved in their conception;
  • Two-thirds affirm the right of donor offspring to know the truth about their origins;
  • About half of donor offspring have concerns about or serious objections to donor
    conception itself, even when parents tell their children the truth.

If this is how sperm-donor children feel, can you imagine how children created with donor sperm and eggs, or those who are created with donated gametes and also intentionally mother- or father-less, or those who are donor-conceived and also separated from their birth mother are going to fare? We are experimenting on children and only beginning to see the devastating fall-out. HB1979 endorses that experimentation.  

You may have questions about how you can support adoption and oppose HB1979 so let me say this: a just society cares for orphans – it doesn’t create them. While it is sometimes impossible to be raised by both biological parents, those situations are tragic for children and they should never be intentionally replicated through reproductive technologies. And certainly not codified in law. Here’s a detailed rundown on how bills like HB1979 go against adoption best practice.

When it comes to family, children have universally-recognized rights. At the very top of the list: children have a natural right to a relationship with both biological parents whenever possible. When these rights are respected, it maximizes their chances for a physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy life. We harm children when we disregard their rights and turn them into products that can be swapped and traded, cut and pasted into any and every household configuration.  

I’m tired of policymakers allowing the desires of adults to drive legislation, because it’s the children who pay...for life. Regardless of how legitimate the longing to become a parent may be, it’s unjust to strip children of their fundamental rights to satisfy the desires of adults.

Repeat this phrase over and over:

Children are not commodities.
Children are not commodities.
Children are not commodities.

And then act, and vote, accordingly.

Concerned Virginians may click here to contact their representatives to express their opinions on HB1979.

Katy Faust is the founder and director of Them Before Us, the only organization solely devoted to defending a child’s rights in family structure.

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Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq.

Opinion, ,

This is how the State Department purges Trump’s conservative political appointees

Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones Esq.

February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Last month, President Donald Trump lost one of his most loyal and effective political appointees at the State Department when Mari Stull presented her resignation.

Stull was appointed by President Trump as Senior Adviser to the Bureau of International Organization Affairs in April 2018. The official role of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) is to advance "the president’s vision of robust multilateral engagement as a crucial tool in advancing U.S. national interests." In practice, Stull's job was to review the positions at different international organizations and aid the president in appointing and supporting candidates to those positions that advanced U.S. interests according to the president's foreign policy.  

However, because of Stull's loyalty to the President's vision, she quickly became a target of the globalist "deep state" and the treasonous "resistance." Of special concern to the "deep state" and their mouthpieces in the liberal media was Stull's work to implement the Mexico City Policy against the use of taxpayer funding of abortion as well as her role in the United States' opposition to the radically pro-abortion socialist Michelle Bachelet for the position of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She was also accused by anonymous leakers within the State Department in a Politico article of attempting to stop the official use of the term "sexual and reproductive health" and "comprehensive sexual education," which are both known to be euphemisms for pro-abortion policies.

By the summer of 2018, a host of coordinated attacks, led by a team of reporters from Foreign Policy and Politico, began to surface. The anonymous accusations against Stull first published in Foreign Policy and Politico were then repeated by most major political publications as fact. The stories, which cited anonymous "senior diplomatic" sources within the state department, did not provide any specific examples of any wrongdoing by Stull, but expressed vague complaints such as that she was "gunning for American citizens in the UN to see if they are toeing the line." Shortly after the initial liberal press reports were published in June 2018, Stull then became the subject of a congressional investigation from Democrats in the House of Representatives intended to intimidate her. The letter from liberal Representatives Eliot Engel, Elijah Cummings and the notorious Sen. Robert Menendez dated June 18 refers to the Foreign Policy article as its only source to accuse Stull of compiling lists of those officials in the State Department that were loyal to the president.

The anonymous sources cited by the original Foreign Policy article echoed complaints from the bureaucracy that Stull and her boss, Moley, had "impeded the bureau’s day-to-day work by keeping career officials out of some meetings with foreign counterparts, a break from accepted practice, and refraining from briefing them on the outcomes." This is a risible claim coming from government officials actively leaking information to the press in order to undermine the president's policy.

Stull's case is a perfect example of how the "deep state" works with its allies in the media and in the Democratic party to retain power and push their own globalist policy preferences, while remaining completely immune to the vicissitudes of elections.  

The marriage between the deep state, the media and the Democrat party is not a hidden conspiracy. A simple donor search on the OpenSecrets.org website, which lists political donations for purposes of transparency, shows that the Managing Director of Foreign Policy magazine, Claire Casey, has donated 39 times for a total of almost $7,000 exclusively to Democrats since 2016. The top beneficiary of her donations, not surprisingly, was Hillary Clinton. A search of the employees of the company that owns Foreign Policy, Graham Holdings Company, shows an equally partisan result, with all but one of their employee's donations going to Democratic candidates, and top among the beneficiaries of their donations is the socialist Bernie Sanders. It is also no surprise that Politico carried, and amplified all the content being published by Foreign Policy, after all, the Publisher of Foreign Policy, Andrew Sollinger, was previously in charge of Politico New York.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of how the "deep state" was able to purge Trump supporters like Stull from government is that the leakers themselves were the ones supposed to be apolitical and yet were the most guilty of weaponizing the diplomatic corps. Through uncorroborated leaks, they were able to target political enemies like Stull, who had been appointed to stand up to the unaccountable entrenched globalist interests. Unlike the career bureaucrats who accused her of being political, Stull was a political employee, not a career diplomat, and she had a mandate to implement the president's foreign policy agenda. Her job was to help the president realize his foreign policy agenda through the selection of appropriate personnel. According to the leakers themselves, her great crime was that she was being too successful, and therefore she became a special target. It is shameful that those with the power to defend Stull were silent as she was being persecuted.

In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump criticized the "ideology of globalism" and a foreign policy that surrenders America's "sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy." Instead, the president cast a foreign policy vision of an "America (that) is governed by Americans," concluding that "We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism. Around the world, responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination."

Since her appointment in April 2018, Stull had been one of the most effective ambassadors of President Trump's policies at the Department of State, especially with regards to family, life and religious liberty. The details of how the foreign policy establishment achieved Stull's resignation is a perfect example of how the globalist civil servant class have managed to completely evade their responsibility of carrying out the will of the people who elect the political leaders of this nation.  

Until the nation rids itself of the globalist cabal inside the bureaucracy, the partisan media, and the political class, the United States will not truly be a sovereign nation. Until that point, the cultural and economic marxism will continue to eat away at the social fabric that made America great.

Gualberto Garcia Jones is director of International Human Rights Group and Special Advisor to the Holy See Mission to the Organization of American States.

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Campaign Life Coalition

Opinion,

Ottawa’s National March for Life isn’t associated with Toronto March for Life happening on same day

Campaign Life Coalition
By Campaign Life Coalition

February 5, 2019 (Campaign Life Coalition) – Last week, you may have received an email announcing a March for Life event scheduled to take place in Toronto on the very same day as the annual National March for Life in Ottawa.

Please note that while the proposed march for life in Toronto is an anti-abortion march, Campaign Life Coalition is not affiliated with this new initiative.

The announcement states, “the pro-life movement is coming together to finally bring the March for Life to Canada’s largest city: Toronto!”.  However, CLC, Canada’s largest national pro-life organization and the main organizer of the Ottawa March for Life, first learned of the Toronto event only on the eve of the announcement.

We received no prior notice that this event was being considered and CLC was not invited to provide any input into the planning and scheduling of the Toronto event.

The Toronto event announcement also states that “there has been an increasing call” for a Toronto march. CLC’s response to that claim is that, in all the years it has organized Canada’s premier pro-life event in Ottawa, we have rarely heard calls for a Toronto march, and certainly not for one that would take place at the same time as the National March only 4 hours from Toronto.

The largest number of attendees to the annual National March come from the Toronto region.

While we are not opposed to having a March for Life in Toronto, CLC is disappointed that the organizers planned their march to take place at the same time as the National March. We have reached out to the organizers of the Toronto March, ARPA/We Need a Law, CCBR, and Toronto Right to Life urging them to change their date, preferably to one in the Fall, but they declined.

Over the years we have worked with our CLC leaders and other groups in organizing and promoting regional marches in various provincial capitals so that Canadians from coast to coast can march in solidarity with the National March in Ottawa.

Our strategy also included deliberately not organizing marches anywhere else in Ontario or Quebec in order to maximize the attendance in front of parliament where all major abortion legislation is enacted, since abortion is a federal issue. Many pro-life MPs usually interrupt their busy parliamentary duties to come out to speak to, and encourage, March attendees and to also be encouraged by the huge gathering of pro-lifers.

As organizers of the March, we find this Toronto initiative very unfortunate. We make large financial commitments long before the march date to cover the large costs associated with the march itself and the many other events that take place before and after the march.

The several religious services, the Candlelight vigil, The Rose Dinner, the Youth Dinner and the Youth Conference the day after the march are all major events requiring extensive long-term planning. That planning usually begins almost right after the previous march has ended.

Two competing events in the same region will split pro-life attendance. With potentially a much smaller crowd of pro-life demonstrators on Parliament Hill, it could also lessen the impact on MPs who come out to address the crowd, and on all parliamentarians inside the House of Commons.

The National March For Life has been an effective catalyst for other pro-life organizations to promote their work, speak at our events and host their own events. The National March For Life is about standing together as ONE movement against abortion. The 2019 March is especially significant, not only because it precedes a federal election, but because it marks 50 years since the floodgates to abortion were opened in Parliament through the 1969 omnibus bill passed under former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

With the stakes at an all-time high, we need as many pro-life Canadians as possible to come to Ottawa on May 9th. We must show our federal lawmakers that there is strong and growing support for pro-life legislation.

This turn of events saddens us greatly, but we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that this year’s National March for Life will be one to remember!

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Cardinal Christoph Schonborn
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Cardinal Schönborn: ‘Married’ gays give ‘witness that marriage is an important good’

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By Maike Hickson

February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a new interview, Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn says that he is “moved” by the yearning of homosexual couples for marriage. He also admits that “I often ask God” whether celibacy matters that much to Jesus. Additionally, he admits that in the 1960s, “my heart was beating on the left.”

Speaking on January 31 with the German magazine stern, Cardinal Schönborn makes it clear that the Catholic Church is tolerantly accepting that the state is allowing homosexual couples to enter civil “marriages.”

“To be honest, we have accepted it already for a long time,” he explains. But he requests that “we define it differently and that we raise our voice when we believe that this path for the whole of society is not good.”

“We may enter into the discussion, too,” the Austrian prelate states.

When asked what he says to homosexual couples who wish to promise each other loyalty, Cardinal Schönborn responds: “I personally am moved that, at a time where marriage is losing its attraction, those couples who feel and live out a same-sex attraction yearn to have thus the highest form of partnership.” In his eyes, these couples thereby give “witness that marriage is an important good.”

Cardinal Schönborn also tells his interviewer that he doubted the Faith many times during the “difficult years between 1965 and 1968” when in Germany “everything went topsy-turvy.”

“I am a member of the '68 generation,” he adds.

When asked whether Jesus really puts so much importance on celibacy, Schönborn responds: “I often ask Him that.”

“I do not receive a clear answer,” Schönborn says. “But Jesus says very clearly: ‘Do not be afraid!’ In his speeches, he stressed that one should not place traditions higher than His crucial sentence: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

The Austrian prelate adds, “as long as traditions are more important than the joy of the Gospels, He would say that we do not have the right balance.”

Speaking about the clerical sex abuse crisis and the upcoming February abuse summit in Rome, Cardinal Schönborn admits past mistakes and insists that now the “most important thing is to develop a consciousness,” to “start processes,” and to “find a path together.”

“One may not expect miracles now,” he says. The prelate, speaking about Pope Francis, says that this abuse crisis now “is, without doubt, the greatest challenge for him and for the whole Church.” It would be a bad message – against the glad tidings of the Gospels – “if this [scandal] is not being cleared up and addressed.”

In recent months, Cardinal Schönborn has come under pressure after it came to light that, for more than 10 years, he knew about financial misconduct and episcopal moral problems in the Diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt.

Schönborn is now being accused of having helped cover up these misdeeds of his friend and fellow bishop, whom he still praised highly as of July 2018.

There is currently an Apostolic Visitation taking place in Klagenfurt in order to examine the state of the diocese.

Additionally, at the end of 2018, Cardinal Schönborn received international criticism for hosting a rock concert in his cathedral in Vienna. During that concert, a prominent actor sang shirtless while standing on the Communion rail.

In August 2018, Schönborn explained that he could imagine future female priests and bishops, and in October 2018, the Austrian prelate claimed, “I may one day also ordain women to the diaconate.”

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Cardinal Reinhard Marx Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
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Dissident German theologians ask Cdl. Marx to make ‘new start’ on Catholic sexual morality

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By Maike Hickson

February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Eight German dissident Catholic theologians in leading positions are publicly calling on Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the head of the German Bishops' Conference, and the country's bishops to make a “new start” regarding Catholic sexual morality on account of the clerical sex abuse crisis. 

They are not only calling for “a new start with the sexual morality” but also “a just assessment of homosexuality,” the abolishment of priestly celibacy, and female ordination. Their Open Letter to Cardinal Marx was published on Sunday on the first page of the prominent newspaper Frankfurter Allgmeine Zeitung (Sunday edition). 

In response, the lay organization Forum Deutscher Katholiken has accused the authors of this Open Letter of “instrumentalizing the abuse cases for one's own purposes.” German journalist Mathias von Gersdorff has also raised concern that the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has allowed itself to become what he calls a “propaganda tabloid for small progressivist groups.” 

The starting point of the Open Letter focused on the current clerical sex abuse crisis in Germany which was fostered by the September 25, 2018 publication of a study on this issue that was financed by the Catholic bishops. According to the signatories, this crisis – which also showed how many times bishops covered up for abusing priests – has “shaken the Faith of Catholic Christians.” The authors say that there are to be found underlying “systemic” problems that need to be addressed in order to root out and solve the problem, such as “clericalism,” the existence of “male circles” in the Church, as well as certain “sexual taboos.” 

Therefore, the signatories claim, things must not remain as they are. They note that there are now large numbers of Catholics leaving the Church in Germany. “Courageous reforms” are needed, they wrote, such as the opening up the “ordained ministry” to women. They also call for the decision whether or not to live in celibacy to be left up to the individual priest. “Make a new start with the sexual morality, to include a thoughtful and just assessment of homosexuality,” they wrote. 

The eight signatories of this Open Letter are public figures known for their progressivist views. One of them is a member of the Green Party, two are members of the progressivist lay organization German Committee of German Catholics (ZdK).

Also among the signatories of this Open Letter is Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig, S.J., who has recently been criticized by the Vatican for his heterodox statements concerning homosexuality (to include the blessing of homosexual couples) and female ordination. The Vatican at first held back approval of Wucherpfennig's being the rector of the Jesuit post-graduate school St. Georgen in Frankfurt. However, due to the public indignation – and in spite of his not recanting his dubious statements – the Vatican subsequently gave in and permitted his being re-elected as the rector of that Jesuit school.

Another signatory is Johannes zu Eltz, the Dean of the Catholic Church in Frankfurt, who promotes the idea of blessing homosexual couples and who is a strong defender of Father Wucherpfennig. 

Another Jesuit priest, Klaus Mertes, also signed the Open Letter. He is a prominent opponent against the claim that there exists any link between clerical sex abuse and homosexuality. 

This new Open Letter – which in the end also addresses all German bishops – has been met with much resistance from faithful Catholics. 

The Forum of German Catholics (Forum Deutscher Katholiken) rejected the claims made in the letter. For these Catholics, this Open Letter “is an attempt at instrumentalizing the abuse cases for one's own purposes.” It seems to this group of Catholics that “theologians swallow everything but the Word of Jesus.” These faithful Catholics quoted Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, who said that in history “true renewal always grew out of a deeper obedience toward the message of the Gospels, out of a revived catechesis and proclamation, as well as out of a radical imitation of Christ.”

The Austrian Catholic news website Kath.net also commented on the February 3 Open Letter, saying: “But not few [people] ask themselves: why does the FAZ [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung] allow itself to be used and publishes a letter of a no-name group which has not at all been tasked by German Catholics to speak in the name of exactly these same Catholics?” Kath.net commented even more strongly on Twitter stating: “The 'German being' shall 'cure' the Universal Church. The German 'model of success' (more and more money, less and less Catholics) shall make the Universal Church happy, that is why, once more, the C-, D-, and G(ay) alliance of prominent Jesuits acts as PRESSURE-Group.”

Mathias von Gersdorff, a German pro-life activist and book author, rebuked the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for publishing this Open Letter in its Sunday edition with the title “German Catholics Demand Change in the Church,” saying that this is really a case of “fake news,” since there are just a few signatories of the letter. This small group of people, “who might have met for a tea party and then scribbled down this pamphlet, has made it onto the first page of the FAZ!” von Gersdorff states.

German Catholic journalist Peter Winnemöller, writing for the German national Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, wondered why the eight signatories are being called “renowned” by German media, such as the national TV news program Tagesschau. He pointed out that these signatories are, for example, not known neither for their public defense of life, nor for their faithful teaching of the Faith and of the Church's catechism, nor for their resistance against gender mainstreaming in society. Thus, he doubted whether one should call these signatories “renowned” Catholics.

Since the Open Letter was published just ahead of the papal initiated Abuse Summit in Rome – and wishing Cardinal Marx a good trip to Rome for that same meeting – the authors likely aimed at influencing the Rome gathering for the sake of their own intentions. However, considering the strong reaction from faithful Catholics against the Open Letter, it might very well have prompted a blow-back effect. This incident indicates how high the expectations are for this upcoming Rome meeting – at least for some progressivist forces.

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Margaret Sanger
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Ralph Northam’s KKK photo disaster a perfect match for Planned Parenthood’s racist roots

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By Calvin Freiburger

VIRGINIA, February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As bad weeks go, it doesn’t get much worse for a politician than to have it revealed that you wore blackface or Ku Klux Klan robes to a party within days of being recorded endorsing infanticide. But while most are treating Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s latest scandals as unrelated, they actually fit together perfectly.

It’s unknown whether Northam’s now-infamous yearbook photo reflects a grossly insensitive attempt at shock humor or genuine racial animus he may have once held; his bizarre press conference retracting his initial confession while admitting to another instance of wearing blackface left the distinct impression the man’s not quite right in the head. But it certainly wouldn’t be the first example of racism and pro-abortion ideology overlapping; in fact, racism is baked into the origins of the modern abortion industry.

As most pro-lifers know but too much of the general public does not, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was a vocal proponent birth control and euthanasia as tools of eugenics, on the basis of factors including race.

A member of the American Eugenics Society, Sanger wrote that “clear[ing] the way for Birth Control” was necessary for the success of “eugenists and others who are laboring for racial betterment” and declared the “campaign for birth control is [...] practically identical in ideal with the final aim of eugenics.”

“[T]he mass of ignorant Negroes still breed carelessly and disastrously, so that the increase among Negroes, even more than the increase among whites, is from that part of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly,” read one article from Sanger’s The Birth Control Review.

To quell black suspicion of her racial agenda, in 1939, Sanger launched the “Negro Project” to enlist black ministers to help her promote birth control. “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she wrote in a letter to Clarence Gamble, explaining that if it did, black ministers would be able to “straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

Sanger even admitted in her autobiography that in 1926 she spoke to the “women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan,” through which she said she “accomplished my purpose” by inspiring a “dozen invitations to speak to similar groups.”

But Sanger is hardly the only eugenicist in Planned Parenthood’s history. Henry Fairchild, Samuel Anderson, CP Blacker, Dorothy Brush, C. Lalor Burdick, Hilda Cornish, Robert Dickinson, Haven Emerson, and Frank Lorimer are just some of the former Planned Parenthood officials and backers who also had ties to the eugenics movement. Once upon a time, the International Committee on Planned Parenthood even received rent-free office space from the American Eugenics Society.

These days Planned Parenthood typically keeps a tight lid on whatever racist sentiments it may still harbor, but every once in a while something slips out. Several years ago, Live Action released recordings of calls to Planned Parenthood locations in Idaho, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oklahoma in which officials enthusiastically agreed to take donations earmarked to abort babies of specific races.

Ultimately, regardless of intent, abortion’s toll on the black community remains devastating.

Planned Parenthood committed at least 332,757 abortions last year. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute’s most recent statistics say 28 percent of abortions happen to black babies. That means Planned Parenthood kills more than 93,000 black babies every year – or more than 27 times the number of blacks killed by lynching across the span of 87 years.

Addressing the Virginia controversy on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s niece Dr. Alveda King said Northam could be forgiven for the 35-year-old picture, but the real test would be for him to “stop working with Planned Parenthood” and stop doing Ku Klux Klanish things and reverse and rescind all of those ugly laws that he is still supporting today.

“You are a pediatrician. You know those are human beings right there in the womb,” she said.

Odds are Northam’s career won’t survive the yearbook photo; his own party and the same Planned Parenthood that spent $3 million to elect him in the first place are demanding he resign (not out of the principle, but because he’s now a liability and his presumptive replacement, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, is just as supportive of abortion-on-demand). But pro-lifers can’t let them just dump Northam as an aberration and move on; now’s the time to educate the public that his costume reflects an evil with deep ties to abortion-on-demand’s inhuman ideology.

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Cardinal Gerhard Müller | Cardinal Walter Brandmüller
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Cardinals endorse campaign to stop homosexual networks in Church

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By Maike Hickson

Sign petition to STOP homosexual networks in Catholic Church. Sign here.

February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller – the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – commented on a recently launched campaign to Stop homosexual networks in the Catholic Church as organized by the Swiss organization Pro Ecclesia and LifeSiteNews, calling it “legitimate.” 

“One cannot escape this reality” of the fact that “the vast majority of abuses committed by priests are homosexual acts,” he said in a recent interview. 

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the dubia Cardinals, writing to LifeSiteNews, also lent his support to the campaign. “Of course, I support your initiative!” he said, adding: “Jesus Himself says: 'The truth will make you free!'”

The campaign, launched Jan. 16, asks the heads of the bishops' conferences worldwide — who will be meeting in Rome next month with Pope Francis — to take the necessary steps to stop homosexual networks in the Catholic Church, especially the networks that are connected with the clerical abuse crisis and that have recently come to light. The petition has of this writing been signed by 7,500 people. 

Riccardo Cascioli, editor-in-chief of the Italian newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, explicitly asked Cardinal Müller in his February 3 interview (here a shortened English version of it) with him about the Stop Homosexual Networks campaign, especially its call to stop such networks and to reintroduce into canon law a canon that would punish clergy who commit homosexual acts. The German prelate further responded: "I believe that this petition is legitimate; there are those who want to deny the statistical truth that the vast majority of abuses committed by priests are homosexual acts. One cannot escape this reality.” “He who denies it [this sad fact],” Müller added, “does not want to solve the problem.”

The German prelate also discussed another aspect of the petition, namely the punishment of those clergymen who abuse young and vulnerable adults such as seminarians or novices. Müller pointed to the “abuse committed against seminarians” that “should not be underestimated: it is an enormous sin, a crime against the dignity of these men, but also against the parents who entrust their children to the priesthood, the bishop, the seminary.” A bishop who fails on this level “is an enormous scandal,” he added. “Can we imagine what Jesus would have done if one of the Apostles had done this with some other disciples? It is absurd alone to think about it,” the German prelate stated.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller told LifeSiteNews in a recent e-mail that he, too, supports the campaign. He wrote: “Of course do I support your initiative! Jesus Himself says: 'The truth will make you free!'”

Other prominent lay Catholics from Europe and the U.S. also expressed their public support for the campaign that aims at removing any practicing homosexual priest from the priesthood, and at dissolving – and, if needs be, punishing – any network within the Catholic Church that is aimed at spreading the LGBT agenda and the practice of homosexuality. To this purpose, the petition proposes a clear set of changes in canon law.

Gabriele Kuby – a German Catholic sociologist and book author who just wrote a book on the abuse crisis – commented that the “abuse crisis is the ugly face of the global sexual revolution that managed to infiltrate the Catholic Church.” For her, there is only one way out of this crisis: “Acknowledging the truth, cleaning the Church of homosexual networks and returning into the arms of the merciful Father.”

Dr. Taylor Marshall, a renowned U.S. theologian and scholar in St. Thomas' writings who has been active in the current discussion on the abuse crisis, said that he studied Canon Law with regard to this topic. “I was sorely disappointed by the vague definitions therein with their vague  [punitive] consequences for clergy. After purchasing a Latin edition of the 1917 Code of Canon Law and comparing it with the 1983 version, I was horrified to see how watered down the new Code had become on this topic,” he explained.

Marshall said that the Church needs to return to a more strict Canon Law in this regard so that it includes a clear punishment for bishops who cover up for abuser priests. Dr. Marshall said he signed the petition which asks the Holy See to "return to the prior law of the Catholic Church regarding clerical delicts against the Sixth Commandment.”

Italian journalist Dr. Riccardo Cascioli – one of the co-sponsors of the petition – said he supported the petition "because we are clearly facing an attempt to instrumentalize the abuse scandal to promote a pro-gay agenda.”

“Since the start of La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana in 2012,” he said, “we have been denouncing the gay lobby in the Church that tries to change the Catholic doctrine. So, of course we support this petition.”

George Neumayr – a investigative journalists who helped reveal the developments in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. under Cardinal Donald Wuerl – stated that the recommendations contained in the campaign "represent the only real solution to the abuse crisis, which is defined overwhelmingly by cases involving male teen victims.”

***

Full statements in support of campaign to Stop homosexual networks in Catholic Church:

Gabriele Kuby

The homosexual abuse crisis is the ugly face of the global sexual revolution that managed to infiltrate the Catholic Church – the only global institution that could and should have been a bulwark against it. During the last fifty years the Church failed more and more to inspire people with the beauty of its teaching on man and woman, sex and love, marriage and family and to protect her flock and her priests from caving into the seductive pressures of an aggressive deconstruction of sexual morality. There is only one way out of the crisis: Acknowledging the truth, cleaning the Church of homosexual networks and returning into the arms of the merciful Father.    

Dr. Taylor Marshall

When we Catholics in the United States first learned of Ex-Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual crimes against youth and seminarians, I immediately began reading the 1983 Code of Canon Law for the next canonical step. I was sorely disappointed by the vague definitions therein with their vague consequences for clergy. After purchasing a Latin edition of the 1917 Code of Canon Law and comparing it with the 1983 version, I was horrified to see how watered down the new Code had become on this topic. As Catholics who reverence the chastity of our Lord Jesus and Blessed Mother, we must return to the law of Canon 2359 § 2 as found in the older 1917 Code, which states: "any cleric is found to have committed any delict against the Sixth Commandment with a minor below the age of sixteen, or engaged in adultery, debauchery, bestiality, sodomy, pandering, or incest, they are suspended, publicly declared as having committed sexual misconduct, and deprived of any office, pension, dignity, and function if he have any, and in graver cases, dismissed from the clerical state.” At this juncture in ecclesial history, we have only two options. We either commission millstones en masse or we return to the clear and strict Canon 2359 § 2 of the 1917 CIC. Furthermore, we Catholics must uphold the Pope’s statement that any bishop who has covered up for abuser priests will be removed from his office. For this reason I attach my name to the petition of Pro Ecclesia asking for the Holy See to return to the prior law of the Catholic Church regarding clerical delicts against the Sixth Commandment. Godspeed, Dr Taylor Marshall.

Dr. Riccardo Cascioli

I support the petition because we are clearly facing an attempt to instrumentalize the abuse scandal to promote a pro-gay agenda. So, the homosexuality as a cause of the sex abuses is strictly censored. Therefore it is very important that at least the lay people fights for the truth. Moreover denying the "H factor" is an insult to the victims, as Cardinal Müller said. Since the start of La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana in 2012, we have been denouncing the gay lobby in the Church that tries to change the Catholic doctrine. So, of course we support this petition.

George Neumayr

The recommendations contained in this petition represent the only real solution to the abuse crisis, which is defined overwhelmingly by cases involving male teen victims. No doctor can cure a disease unless he diagnoses it precisely. The same holds true for doctors of souls. Unless they apply the cure prescribed by this petition, the disease of homosexual predation will continue to ravage the body of Christ. 

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Does Pope Francis’ new vision of mercy actually deny God’s power?

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, entire bishops' Conferences appear to be telling people that living according to God’s law is impossible for Catholics in so-called irregular unions. I say ‘appear’ to be telling people this, but if they don’t really mean this, should they not then clear up the confusion?

The answer to that question seems obvious enough. Less obvious, however, is the answer to the question: How did things come to this? How could it have come about that vast numbers of Catholics — from ordinary faithful to bishops, cardinals, and even the pope — should feel it possible, and apparently praiseworthy, to render systematically unclear, if not explicitly to deny, the seriousness of fundamental moral principles, like the Sixth Commandment – Thou shall not commit adultery?

It has never been part of the Church’s teaching or pastoral practice to ignore the difficulties faced by sinners in changing their lives. Among the greatest saints, we find those who went through the most painful processes of conversion, such as St. Mary Magdalen, St. Mary of Egypt, and St. Augustine of Hippo: in modern times we find the example of Alessandro Serenelli, the murderer of St Maria Goretti, among many others. Humanly, what they did would seem impossible, but Christ tells us, speaking of the difficulties some have in reaching heaven: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

The Church exists, in fact, to make available the means which God has provided to make the impossible possible. What Christ was able to do for St. Mary Magdalen, to stimulate her repentance and to cleanse her from her sins, is available in the Church today. The hearts of sinners can be reached by the example of the saints, by grace flowing from the liturgy, by preaching, by means of sacramental confession and absolution. All of these are a means to cleansing the human heart of the heaviest sins and restore it to friendship with God.

The stupendous reality of what God can do to sinners, which, in a small way, is part of the daily life of every serious Catholic, and in a big way is part of the great drama of human history, is incomprehensible — and even frightening — to many secular people. Some deny the reality of human sin, trying to explain it away. Others accept it, but recognize no possibility of redemption – bad people, on this view, are a kind of inevitable waste-product of society. These two responses to evil, which parallel the sins of presumption and despair, make sense for those who have no conception of God intervening in history and in individual human lives. With this kind of mindset, it is not possible for people to change and to act in ways which seem to be humanly impossible.

It is this kind of mindset which has invaded the Church. It is a loss of the sense of the reality of God’s grace and, in general, of the sense of what God has done and continues to do in salvation history. Such a mindset was conveyed in a telling remark made by the President of the Panamanian Bishops’ Conference at the Synod on the Family. Speaking of divorce, he said:

Moses drew near to the people and gave way. Likewise today, the “hardness of hearts” opposes God’s plan. Could Peter not be merciful like Moses?

The speaker, José Luiz, Cardinal Lacunza Maestrojuan, could understand—as we all can—the realism displayed by the Law of Moses in regulating divorce when it was impossible to suppress it. What he did not seem to understand was that the new era ushered in by Christ, in which divorce is forbidden, is not just an era of unreasonable demands, but an era of grace in which such demands are no longer unreasonable.

Instead of softening the requirements of God’s law, or being content with the mere pretense that we are fulfilling it, Christ makes it possible for us to fulfill it. 

This idea is the foundation for Christian life and culture. It is the fundamental presupposition of everything Catholics do, from family life to art, statecraft, and intellectual attainments. And, it has sadly disappeared from many Catholics’ minds, leaving them almost entirely without the category of the supernatural, of grace.

This is the work of theological Modernism: the hundred-year-old heresy which attacks above all the supernatural. We’ve all heard priests and theologians explaining away the miracles of the Gospels, the Real Presence, and the Virgin Birth. They claim that these things make it harder to believe in the Christian message. The logic of what they are doing, however, which we see manifested in today’s crisis, is the rejection of the Christian message itself. It is a rejection of the truth that the restoration of God’s image in man and the washing away of his sins for a purer life is possible for God.

For with God, "all things are possible."

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