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US religious freedom ambassador dismisses pope’s China accord, blasts communist assault on Catholics

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By Martin Barillas

HONG KONG, March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — U.S. ambassador Sam Brownback said on Friday that China’s persecution of Catholic citizens continues despite a deal Pope Francis reached with the communist government.

“Since this provisional deal was announced last year the Chinese government’s abuse of members of the Catholic community has continued. We see no signs that will change in the near future,” he said, speaking in Hong Kong as U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom.

In China, there has long been an underground persecuted Church loyal to the papacy and an ecclesial organization that is officially recognized by the Chinese government.

In September, Pope Francis responded to concerns over the agreement. He gave assurances to persecuted Catholics and asked them to trust his decision to overlap the government-approved organization with the Catholic Church. He said China represents a “land of great opportunities” for the Church. He said the secret deal will “heal wounds of the past.”

In his speech on Friday, Brownback called on China to recognize the free exercises of religion. “The Chinese Communist Party must hear the cries of its own people for religious freedom and act to correct its wrongs,” he said. Saying the communist government is waging a “war with faith,” Brownback said it is a “war they will not win.”

At the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club, Brownback referred to negotiations engaged by Vatican diplomats with China over the status of the invalidly consecrated bishops of the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which is approved by the communist government but does not recognize the authority of the Vatican. The language of the provisional agreement between the two parties remains confidential. However, one effect was that the Holy See recognized seven illicitly consecrated Chinese bishops and gave them authority over Chinese dioceses.

Currently, all Catholic bishops of China are recognized by China’s government and the Holy See. However, since the deal was concluded, no new bishops have been appointed to China. Brownback, a Catholic, said the Vatican deal has not led to increased freedom for Catholics in China.

The 86-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong has been vocally critical of Pope Francis and the deal with China. In November, Zen said priests of the underground Church have “cried” to him since the deal was inked. In late 2018, he went to Rome to deliver a lengthy letter to Pope Francis, asking him to pay closer attention to the crisis within the underground Catholic Church in China. He said, “They said officials have forced them to become open, to join the (schismatic) Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and to obtain a priest’s certificate with the reason that the pope has signed the Sino-Vatican provisional agreement.” In a strongly worded opinion piece for the New York Times, Cardinal Zen suggested that the pope’s deal with China “invited the annihilation of the real Church in China.”

On Tuesday, Cardinal Zen responded to statements made by Cardinal Fernando Filoni. During a tour of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau, Cardinal Filoni told a local news agency in Macau that the agreement signed by the Holy See and China “will be a very good thing for the Church in the future, and also for China.”

“One wonders: from which planet did our leaders in Rome descend?” said Cardinal Zen on his blog.

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Cardinal Roger Mahony on March 8, 2013 at the conclave that elected Pope Francis. Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images
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Disgraced cardinal, pro-LGBT teaching to dominate LA Religious Education Conference

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By Lisa Bourne

March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Criticism of the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (L.A. REC) is heightened this year as the event is again poised to scandalize Catholics with some presenters who affirm homosexual behavior, and also include a cardinal who embodies the Church hierarchy’s mishandling of its clergy sex abuse crisis.

Over the years, the L.A. REC has secured repute for providing a platform for dissident presentations on the Catholic faith, and in particular LGBT affirmation in conflict with Church teaching.

Catholics have protested the event for its problematic offerings beginning decades ago.

The L.A. REC, billed as the largest religious education gathering in the U.S., is sponsored by the Los Angeles archdiocese and conducted in Anaheim in the neighboring Diocese of Orange, and it is again offering presentations that are ostensibly LGBT-affirming.

But additionally this year, as the devastation of the Church’s clergy sex abuse crisis continues to unfold, Cardinal Roger Mahony, the retired archbishop of L.A., is scheduled to appear despite his controversial history of cover-up with abuse cases and his having been pulled from public duties in his archdiocese several years ago by his successor, Archbishop José Gómez.

Mahony is scheduled to present a workshop at the L.A. REC later this month on “Connecting Junior High and High School Students with the Volatile Immigration Issues.”

Gómez is taking part in the REC and is celebrating its closing “Eucharistic Liturgy.”

“The cardinal has become a symbol of the mishandling of sex abuse complaints,” Ruth Institute president Dr. Jennifer Roeback Morse said in a statement provided to LifeSiteNews. “For him to address a Catholic education conference at this time is wildly inappropriate.” 

Morse’s organization has gathered over 4,000 signatures on a petition for Mahony to withdraw as a speaker for the L.A. REC. LifeSite has also gathered over 5,000 signatures on a petition urging the conference to disinvite Mahony.

Mahony stirred controversy last November at the U.S. Bishops’ fall meeting in Baltimore, which was largely centered on the abuse scandal, when he took the floor during an open mic session of the meeting and spoke for more than five minutes about how he thought the bishops should lead during the abuse crisis.

Pope Francis had appointed Mahony as his special envoy to the 150th anniversary Mass for the Diocese of Scranton in Pennsylvania to be held last March, but following word of planned protest by local Catholics, Mahony pulled out of the appearance.

Mahony also withdrew from a fundraising appearance for the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah, last August during heightened furor in the sex abuse crisis, amid possible protests there as well.

Mahony, who led the Los Angeles archdiocese from 1985 until his 2011 retirement, was censured by Gómez in 2013 after a court-ordered release of archdiocesan files following a 2007 sex abuse lawsuit settlement that constituted the largest payout in Church history ($660 million).

The documents showed that Mahony had concealed his knowledge of priest abusers, shielded offending priests from prosecution, and transferred abusers after they’d received counseling, at times out of state to skirt reporting laws, where they could abuse again.

After the files were released, Gómez publicly removed Mahony going forward from having “any administrative or public duties” in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

While some continue to deny the role active homosexuality on the part of clerics has played in the Church’s sex abuse scandal, the fact remains that an overwhelming majority of the abuse was perpetrated by male clerics upon post-pubescent males.

Abuse survivors and other lay Catholics deserve better

As the debate over clergy sex abuse causation continues, and Church leaders connected to abuse cover-up such as Mahony appear at Church events, lay Catholics and abuse victims persist in their calls for accountability.

LifeSiteNews inquired with the Los Angeles archdiocese about how, with the sex abuse crisis continuing to play out, the archdiocese reconciles Cardinal Mahony’s appearance and that of other presenters at its faith formation event, whose message conflicts with Church teaching on sexuality.

The archdiocese did not respond.

James Grein, a crucial voice in the Church’s sex abuse scandal as Theodore McCarrick’s most incriminatory accuser, criticized the L.A. REC for presenting behavior at odds with the Church’s moral principles as acceptable at a religious education event, saying it could perpetuate abuse.

“The title of this conference brings innocent interest from many Catholics,” Grein told LifeSiteNews. “Most people attending believe they will receive guidance about the Church and our faith.”

“This is another misguided ploy by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to disguise homosexual and abusive behavior as [being of] good holy men of God,” he said. 

What about chastity?

There are 10 workshops on LGBT issues on the event schedule, nine classified under the REC’s LGBTQ Ministry category. Workshop descriptions show a focus on LGBT acceptance, with no language pertaining to chastity or Catholic moral principles in that regard.

The Church teaches that everyone, whether ordained, single, or married, is called to be chaste and that sexual relations are reserved for marriage, which occurs only between one man and one woman. This is a mirroring of Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride. The Church teaches as well that homosexual acts are sinful and can never be condoned.

Some among the L.A. REC speakers are known for homosexual affirmation and are regularly booked to present at the REC. 

Welcome and respect?

Repeat L.A. REC presenter Jesuit Father James Martin, widely known for his LGBT activism, is scheduled again for the REC. One of his workshops centers on “showing welcome and respect to LGBTQ people” in parishes.

Martin’s LGBT activism has been criticized for suggesting that welcome and respect mean acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle, for failing to effectively articulate the Church’s teaching on sexual relations outside of sacramental marriage, for the claim that LGBT-identifying individuals’ sexual preferences are given to them by God, and for implying that this sexual preference is innate in a human being’s identity.

Some of the LGBT workshop speakers are lay people recognized for their LGBT activism, some openly gay, and there are other priests presenting on this topic as well at the event in both Spanish and English.

The Church’s Catechism is “gravely evil” regarding homosexual acts?

Dr. Arthur Fitzmaurice, former longtime chair of the archdiocese’s Catholic Ministry with Lesbian & Gay Persons, is a scheduled REC speaker who has called the language on homosexual acts in the Church’s Catechism gravely evil.

At last year’s REC, Fitzmaurice said in a presentation that the Church teaches that homosexual orientation is not a choice and also suggested that it was acceptable for Catholic parents to allow two boys or two girls to attend their high school prom or homecoming as dates.

One of the other presenters in that 2018 workshop was Fr. Chris Ponnet, director of the Office of Catholic HIV/AIDS Ministry for the archdiocese and the archbishop’s spiritual director for Catholic ministry with lesbian and gay persons.

Building bridges?

Ponnet will again join Fitzmaurice this year at the L.A. REC to present “Building Bridges with Catholics Who Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning.”

Fitzmaurice had moderated another 2018 workshop that presented “transgenderism” among children positively. Joining him for that presentation was Fordham University theology professor Father Bryan Massingale, another regular REC presenter.

Massingale had said at previous REC events that the Church invented sin at the Council of Trent and that moral rules don’t always apply in every situation. He is scheduled to present this year at the L.A. REC with workshops titled “Race and the Limits of Dialogue” and “Jesus and the Virtuous Life.”

Massingale, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, spoke in 2017 at a national symposium for New Ways Ministry, the co-founders of which were officially silenced by the Vatican in 1999 because their teaching on homosexuality was found to be “erroneous and dangerous” and “doctrinally unacceptable.” 

In 2011, Massingale spoke at a Capitol Hill event advancing the increased support for homosexuality among Catholics, appearing alongside dissident Sister Simone Campbell on behalf of the pro-LGBT group “Equally Blessed.” He also opposed Wisconsin’s 2006 Marriage Protection Act, which banned gay “marriage” and civil unions.

A retreat for gay priests

Massingale tangled with Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki last fall when leading a retreat in the archdiocese for gay priests, brothers, and deacons. Listecki criticized the event but allowed it to proceed, and Massingale pushed back against critics — including his archbishop.

Responding to America Magazine in regard to Mahony’s problematic history with abuse cases, archdiocesan communications director Carolina Guevara told the Jesuit periodical that the cardinal had “apologized for mistakes of the past” and “met personally with victims and established a Victims Assistance Office to ensure that they would receive the support to help them through the healing process.” 

Morse called this response “pathetic.”

“To call the horror of clerical sex abuse, and the cardinal’s role in covering it up, ‘mistakes of the past’ is an understatement of epic proportions,” Morse said. 

“It’s good that Cardinal Mahony met with some victims of crimes he may have helped to cover up,” she said. “But, if he’d acted responsibly when he was in a position of authority, there wouldn’t be as many victims in need of healing.”

“Guevara’s statement is a weak rationalization for inexcusable conduct that diminishes the suffering of victims,” continued Morse. “Imagine how they will feel when he speaks at a conference where he will, in part, interact with youth.” 

“For the sake of victims,” she said, “and the pain that never goes away, the cardinal should do the decent thing and withdraw from the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.” 

Grein forthrightly condemned the presentation of homosexuality as acceptable to the Church by priests at the L.A. REC.

“A different church”

“The abuse from these men may not be physical, but their speeches, writing, and pictures are presenting a different church,” Grein told LifeSiteNews. 

“It’s Jesus’ Church,” he said. “Not a false god church. Jesus wants us to be fruitful and multiply. Homosexual behavior is forbidden. [With it o]ne cannot multiply.”

He expressed hope that L.A. REC attendees will be exposed to authentic Catholic teaching on human sexuality.

“It is a mortal sin for a priest to use his collar to speak or preach blasphemous ideas that homosexuality is part of Jesus’s Church,” Grein said. “It would be great if a few hundred true followers of the faith were there to help attendees see, hear and witness how a true Catholic lives.”

To respectfully communicate concerns on the L.A. REC, contact:

Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Office of the Archbishop of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Boulevard, 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241
Phone: (213) 637-7534

FAX: (213) 637-6510 
[email protected]

Office of Media Relations
(213) 637-7215
(213) 216-8395
[email protected]

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Ellen Castellano

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Witness to thousands of late-term abortions tells legislators: Babies definitely feel pain

Ellen Castellano
By Ellen Castellano

Editor’s note: Ellen Castellano is a trained nurse who has served as a sidewalk counselor outside a Maryland abortion clinic for eight years. At a hearing today on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act at the Annapolis State House, she offered the testimony of a whistleblower — who must remain anonymous — about the fetal pain she has witnessed during late-term abortions.

Her remarks regarding Maryland House Bill HB0975 — including the stunning description of the pain babies about to be aborted endure — are provided below:

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland, March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — No one is more qualified to testify on the reality of fetal pain than someone who has participated in thousands of late-term abortions. The testimony I’m sharing comes from a woman who worked for years in a Maryland clinic.

She assisted with the lethal injection on the first day of the two- to four-day abortions of babies who were from 16 to 35 weeks gestation. No anesthesia is given to the baby. The ultrasound-guided injection is administered through the mother’s abdomen or cervix into the baby’s heart, head, or the amniotic fluid in order to stop the baby’s heart.

Immediately, the ultrasound reveals the baby’s intrauterine reactions to the lethal injection. These clearly visible signs of fetal pain continue until the baby dies, usually in five to 30 minutes. But a sonogram isn’t needed to see the mother’s entire abdomen erupting with the rapid movements of the baby, who is trying to get away. Everyone in the delivery room can feel and see the violent thrashing of the baby still inside the mother, trying to escape the sharp needle and the stinging medication.

“It’s a slow, painful death, and anyone who has ever seen a late-term abortion knows that babies feel pain.” Despite the “obvious pain to the baby during and after,” the injection often fails to kill the baby, and the baby needs to be re-injected two, three, or four days in a row, and it still doesn’t stop the heart. It was not uncommon for a baby to need multiple fetal injections even in one day to avoid a live birth.

Do women know this will be painful for their babies? “No, the physician says that her sedation will cross the placenta and the baby will not feel anything.” In reality, the baby still reacts to the pain, and when the mothers feel their reaction, “they usually burst into tears at that point.”

Don’t late-term abortions save the lives of mothers?

No — it never happened once at that busy office. With women “over seven months pregnant, we took any excuse: financial, emotional, boyfriend gone, drug use, anything, and then we coached them on how to say it was a life-or-death situation for documentation purposes.”

And what about abortions for fetal anomalies or rape?

Less than 1% of their late-terms happened for these situations. So if 99% of the babies are healthy, and the women’s maladies are fictional, then most of these brutal late-term abortions are elective, repeat, elective abortions!

Legislators, I ask you to lead the way and dial back our liberal, barbaric law. Pass this bill and ban abortions after 20 weeks.

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Drew Belsky

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‘Drive-thru ashes’? A new craze among time-strapped Christians for Ash Wednesday

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By Drew Belsky

GLENAMADDY, Galway, Ireland, March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — On Ash Wednesday, the Catholic faithful receive a cross of black ashes on their foreheads. Among Protestant denominations, many of whom also partake of the daubing of ashes, a new custom has arisen for the convenience of their members: "drive-thru ashes."

Instead of attending a liturgical service, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and others across the United States can find "drive-thru locations," where a minister or a "volunteer" will distribute ashes through open driver-side windows. Episcopalians in New Jersey and Southern California offered the drive-thru this past Wednesday, plus Methodists (and more Episcopalians) in Louisiana.

It is not just Protestants, however, who receive the ashes. At St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Upland, Calif., a spokeswoman declared that a number of recipients of the Lutheran drive-thru ashes were Catholic.

Gianluca D'Elia, who "grew up in a devout, Italian, Roman Catholic household in Bergen County," New Jersey, wrote, "I realized that sometimes, worshipping from the seat of my own car could be just as powerful as worshipping from a church pew."

The North Branford Congregational Church in Connecticut dubbed its version "Ash on Your Dash." The penitential daubing of ashes — a reminder of man's sins and mortality — was followed in Branford with coffee, donuts, and socializing.

News 12, reporting out of New Providence, N.J., wrote, "The Catholic Church does not do drive-thru ashes — but News 12 New Jersey found many practicing Catholics who came to St. Andrew's [Episcopal] looking for the convenience. Some asked not to be filmed in case their parish priest was watching."

There is at least one Catholic church that offers drive-thru ashes, located in Ireland, whose populace voted to legalize abortion last year and same-sex "marriage" in 2015.

Parishioners of St. Patrick's Church in Glenamaddy, Galway, would not have to worry about their pastor, Fr. Paddy Mooney, seeing them receive drive-thru ashes on television. Fr. Mooney himself started the custom some years ago to provide his congregation what the Irish Times calls "a quick and easy service" and an opportunity "to maintain their faith, albeit in a timely manner."

According to St. Patrick's bulletin, the process goes as follows: "Our church lends itself to a drive through facility where you can drive in one gate, receive your ashes after answering the question 'Do you wish to live a holy lent? (Receive the ashes) Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel. You don't have to leave your car and when finished you can drive out the other gate."

Fr. Mooney offers the following explanation for the practice, which "was welcomed by people from all over the world": "Jesus himself left the synagogue and went out to meet his people."

St. Patrick's offers no confession times on its bulletin, website, or Facebook page.

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New report exposes most insane liberal classes taught at US universities

By Martin Barillas

March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A new report exposes the radical leftist courses offered at universities across the U.S., which range from “Sex and Socialism” to “Cowboys, Gangsters, and Drag Kings: Introduction to Critical Masculinity Studies” to the “Gendered Politics of Food.”

Young America’s Foundation (YAF) has produced this report, Comedy & Tragedy, every year since 1995 to “document the intellectual abuse and flat-out indoctrination happening by way of the appalling curriculum at our country’s most (so-called) prestigious institutions of higher education.”

YAF spokesman Spencer Brown told LifeSiteNews that he was particularly struck by the proliferation of courses on Marxism, “eco-feminism,” and “queer environmentalism.”

He was also critical of the inclusion of feminist and leftist themes in mainstream religion courses.

There are classes on “queering God or queering the Bible,” Brown explained. “Those courses go into how, throughout history, God has been seen as definitively masculine or male, but they ask, ‘or is He?’”

These courses, said Brown, “dive into how the actions and the word and the character of God might actually suggest that He is a She from a feminist theology perspective.”

A number of Catholic universities made the list. DePaul University offers a class called “Sexual Justice: Lesbians, Gays and the Law,” which “examines the historical and contemporary relationships between lesbians, gays, and the law in the U.S., focusing on the intersections of power, sexuality, and identity with issues of sexuality-based discrimination.”

Georgetown has a class called “The Breast: Image, Myth, Legend,” for which no description was offered; Seton Hall University students have the option of enrolling in “The Politics of Marriage,” a topic which “requires careful attention as many important voices here (women and queer individuals in particular) are historically marginalized.”

Columbia University teaches students about “Practicing Intersectionality” while Brown University offers a course called “Black Lavender: Black Gay/Lesbian Plays/Dramatic Constructions in the American Theatre.”

“Many of the courses and descriptions listed in this year’s report may seem comical at first glance, but the situation that continues to unfold on America’s campuses is hardly a laughing matter,” Brown wrote in the report’s introduction. “Beyond the inane, identity- and intersectionality-obsessed topics, these classes advance a liberal agenda, malign conservatives and their values, and shut out ideological diversity.”

The methodology of YAF’s report included examinations of online course catalogs for college and university institutions ranging from the Big 10 Conference, the Ivy League, Big East Conference, and the Southeastern Conference. YAF says it regularly reviews and audits course catalogs, textbook requirements, commencement speakers, and other metrics in order to reveal the state of higher education.

The full report may be viewed here.

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Radical LGBT ‘Equality Act’ to be introduced in US House next week, Nancy Pelosi announces

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As promised during the midterm congressional elections last fall, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi has announced the impending introduction of sweeping pro-LGBT legislation long awaited by left-wing activists.

“Next week, [we] will be launching our Equality Act to end discrimination for the LGBTQ community and we will be launching our initiative to protect the DREAMers and temporary-protected status persons in our country,” the California Democrat announced Thursday, the pro-homosexual Washington Blade reports. “We said these things during the campaign, and we’re getting it done and we are telling the public about the paths that we are on to get them turned into law to make a difference in the lives of the American people.”

The so-called Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include “sex,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” among expressly recognized “non-discrimination” categories in “public accommodations,” which would also be expanded to include many additional types of establishments including recreation, shopping, online retailers, healthcare services, and more.

It would also force anyone employing 15 or more people to recognize their claimed “gender identity,” forbid employers from “discriminating” based on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” and mandate transgender “access” to opposite-sex restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms.

Conservatives have long warned that the legislation’s true purpose is not to protect homosexual or gender-confused Americans from tangible harm, but to force other Americans such as photographers, florists, and bakers to participate in same-sex “weddings”; and to force employers and businesses to accommodate cross-dressing, same-sex cohabitation, and sex-change treatments regardless of their own values or policies.

Pro-family advocates also warn that letting biological males into female bathrooms not only intrudes on the privacy of actual women and girls, but puts them at risk of assault, as happened in the 2017 case of a kindergarten student in Decatur, Georgia.

Nevertheless, Democrats have tried and failed to push the Equality Act through Congress since the Obama years. The month before Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Pelosi’s office called it a “top priority” Democrats would introduce “early in the year” if they won.

“We owe the American people to be there for them, for their financial security, respecting the dignity and worth of every person in our country,” Pelosi said at the time. “And if there is some collateral damage for some others who do not share our view, well, so be it, but it shouldn’t be our original purpose.”

As for the bill’s prospects in the current session, Pelosi would not commit to a specific date for a floor vote, but suggested it will be soon.

“As we go along, it’s the tempo of the floor, but it is a priority for us,” she told the Blade. “I’m very pleased because we have a great deal of outside support for it, which I hope will help us pass it in the Senate. We most certainly will pass it overwhelmingly in the House.” The Equality Act is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate or win the support of President Donald Trump.

In the wake of Democrats’ election victory, Pelosi also announced plans for an “independent diversity office” to ensure diversity among Capitol Hill staff, and in January the House voted 234-197 to approve new “non-discrimination” rules that mirrored the Equality Act’s provisions, but applied only to staffers of House lawmakers.

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Maryland House passes bill to legalize doctor-assisted suicide; legislator asks, ‘Are we becoming above God?’

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By Calvin Freiburger

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland, March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Legislation allowing terminally-ill patients in Maryland to take their own lives got one step closer to becoming law Thursday after the state House of Delegates voted to pass a measure that failed in previous sessions.

Under the so-called “End of Life Options Act,” patients age 18 years or older who have been diagnosed with a terminal disease and a prognosis of six months or less may be prescribed drugs to end their lives, provided they make the request three times (one of which must be in writing, another in private).

The bill failed to clear the House in the previous three legislative sessions but passed this week on a 74-66 vote, the Baltimore Sun reported.

One factor in the law’s success this time around was a handful of lawmakers, such as Democrat Del. Eric Luedtke, reversing their past opposition after hearing or witnessing stories of elderly loved ones who suffered at the end of their lives. Luedtke recounted the story of his mother’s battle with esophageal cancer, which she attempted to escape by drinking a bottle of liquid morphine.

“I began to ask myself what right I had, as a government official, and even as her son, to dictate to her how her life should end?” he said. “What right do any of us have to determine that for another individual?”

Others argued that their personal experiences demonstrated the dangers of assisted suicide. Democrat Del. Cheryl Glenn explained how her late sister was likely suicidal after a stroke but lived long enough to reconcile with her estranged son.

“She would have left this world without making peace with her only son” if she could have ended her life with a doctor’s assistance, Glenn argued. “We don’t know what tomorrow holds, we really don’t.”

“Are we becoming above God?” Republican Del. Ric Metzgar asked. Democrat Del. Jay Walker agreed that the bill was “overstepping our bounds.”

The Sun described the debate as “somber” and tearful but noted that after the vote went this way, bill sponsor Del. Shane Pendergrass celebrated with a smile and a fist-bump to Del. Kumar Barve, both of whom are Democrats.

“Allowing doctors to prescribe lethal doses of addictive drugs with no way to make sure those drugs don't end up in the wrong hands or on our streets is bad policy,” the Maryland Catholic Conference declared in a petition opposing the measure. “And there is nothing in this bill to ensure that insurance companies don't deny coverage of life-saving treatments and instead fully pay for these lethal drugs because it's more cost efficient to end life than it is to save it.”

“Despite what proponents claim, this bill does nothing to ensure the elderly, veterans, people with disabilities, and those diagnosed with terminal illness are not pressured into taking their lives because this would be an option,” the Conference warned.

It remains to be seen how the legislation will fare in Maryland’s Democrat-controlled Senate, but Democrat Sen. Will Smith, the sponsor of the Senate version, says he’s optimistic about the House victory giving the cause “a lot of momentum” in what he predicts will ultimately be a “very close vote.”

Liberal Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, meanwhile, has yet to come out for or against the bill, saying only that he “really wrestle(s) with (the issue) from a personal basis” and that he will carefully consider it should it pass the legislature.

Doctor-assisted suicide is currently legal in just six states and the District of Columbia, according to Live Action News, though another 17 (such as New Mexico) are currently considering legislation to legalize it. Oregon is currently debating whether to expand the criteria of patients eligible for its own assisted-suicide option.

Last summer, the prestigious American Medical Association declined to reaffirm its longstanding opposition to doctor-assisted suicide, instead ending a two-year study period by voting for another round of review.

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Pro-abort Kamala Harris on guns: ‘We cannot tolerate…when our babies are being slaughtered’

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By Calvin Freiburger

March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris is one of the most aggressively pro-abortion contenders in the 2020 primary field, but she takes a strikingly different tack when the subject changes to gun control.

In comments to MSNBC that were widely covered in February 2018 and revisited this week by the Susan B. Anthony List, the California Senator issued a grim call to action in response to last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“As a prosecutor for years, and appreciating homicide, and being able to talk with a judge about it and a jury about it, I had to look at autopsy photographs,” Harris said. “When you see the effect of this extreme violence on a human body, and especially the body of a child, maybe it will shock some people into understanding.”

“This cannot be a political issue; we have to be practical,” she said. “I support the Second Amendment, but we have to have smart gun safety laws. And we cannot tolerate a society and live in a country with any level of pride when our babies are being slaughtered.”

There is a long tradition of prominent Democrats, such as former President Barack Obama, speaking similarly about a moral imperative to take sweeping government action against gun violence in the name of children’s lives, while at the same time supporting violence against children in the form of abortion.

Harris holds 100 percent pro-abortion ratings with Planned Parenthood and NARAL, and as the former Attorney General of California she played a key role in defending the abortion giant over its baby-parts scandal and instead targeting the Center for Medical Progress’ pro-life investigators who exposed it.

As a Senate candidate, she bragged about forcing religiously-owned companies and pro-life pregnancy centers to violate their consciences. Most recently, she joined every other Democrat senator running for president in voting against legislation that would have required abortionists to transfer living newborns to hospitals after failed abortions. In follow-up comments to the Daily Caller, Harris refused to say whether abortion is ever immoral, declaring simply that “it’s up to a woman to make that decision, and I will always stand by that.”

Harris’ claim to stand against “babies being slaughtered” was met with disgust and disbelief by numerous readers:

The current 2020 Democrat candidates are largely indistinguishable in their support of unrestricted abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. A possible exception is Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has gone even further by promising judicial nominees who would force private employers to cover potentially abortion-inducing drugs, and pledging to “use the Department of Justice to go after those states” that restrict abortion “in every way that I legally can.”

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Catholics protest bishop’s removal of priest who complained about another priest’s sex harassment

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By Martin Barillas

MICHIGAN, March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Lay Catholics are demanding that Bishop Steven Raica of Gaylord, Michigan, reinstate a young traditionally-minded priest who was put on leave and who had his priestly faculties suspended shortly after he filed a sexual harassment complaint with the diocese against the highest official in the diocese, Vicar General Fr. Dennis Stilwell.

In a press release from the newly-formed Gaylord Diocesan Watch, the leader of the lay group, Dr. Richard Brenz declared: "A grave injustice has been inflicted by Bishop Raica against Fr. Matthew Cowan, a 33-year-old priest." In interviews with LifeSiteNews, Brenz and supporters said that they and other Catholics are concerned over a lack of apparent transparency in the bishop’s treatment of Fr. Cowan.

In a Feb. 27 interview with UpNorthLive, however, Bishop Raica denied that Fr. Cowan was put on leave because he filed the complaint.

“Well, first of all, he was not removed for that particular reason. He was removed for other reasons,” the bishop said, without stating what the reason were. 

He said that the matter of Fr. Cowan’s complaint is still to be investigated. 

“The process is underway. It is nearing completion. We hope to have a response soon. I’m waiting to hear from the review board as to what their findings are so that we might be able to move that forward in a timely way,” he said.

According to Gaylord Diocesan Watch, the unidentified members of the diocesan review board examined the case on Feb. 17.

Bishop Raica told a full house at St. Francis Xavier parish on January 15, reported Gaylord Diocesan Watch, that he had not spoken to Fr. Cowan before suspending him on January 7. Dr. Martin Dubrovec told LifeSiteNews that the bishop could not cite the canon law that Fr. Cowan had allegedly violated in order to merit suspension. The group’s website says that Bishop Raica and his subordinates “have terribly mishandled the investigation into the allegations and violated the rules of the diocese they are supposed to follow.” 

According to Gaylord Diocesan Watch, Bishop Raica said that Fr. Cowan’s complaints have been referred to a local prosecutor. The group says it is “respectfully following the advice of Bishop Raica himself,” who told his flock in 2018: “Call us out when our behaviors or words do not correspond with the heart of Christ;…if you see suspicious activities by priests, religious, lay leaders or volunteers …”

Fr. Cowan was assigned to St. Francis Xavier parish in Petoskey in northern Michigan in 2015. It was there that he alleges that Fr. Stillwell exhibited a pattern of unsolicited touching. Fr. Cowan filed a complaint in August 2018. 

Reacting to the lay group’s early February press conference, the Diocese of Gaylord admitted that Fr. Cowan had presented an allegation of “sexual misconduct” against Fr. Stillwell. The diocese said that these allegations did not involve a minor. The complaint was reported to civil authorities, the statement said, before the diocese began “an independent and methodical investigation “ of the allegations. The lay Diocesan Review Board dismissed the allegations, according to the diocese' statement. However, after receiving further information from Fr. Cowan, the investigation was reopened.

After months of investigation, Bishop Raica placed Fr. Cowan on administrative leave and his faculties for public ministry were withdrawn.

“Bishop Raica’s decision was NOT based on Fr. Cowan’s allegations,” the diocese' statement read, but involves “a private and confidential issue between a bishop and one of his priests.” It went on to say that the bishop remains “committed to continuing our efforts to prevent sexual abuse of any person by those representing the Church…”

The diocese said it will make no further statement about the matter. 

According to the lay Catholic group in Gaylord, Fr. Cowan shared a number of emails in which he related his experiences with the elderly Fr. Stillwell. The group quoted one of Fr. Cowan’s emails:  “After the news of the homosexual misconduct by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in June of this year, followed by the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report in August of 2018, I realized that what happened to me by Fr. Stilwell was no longer an isolated incident or outlier in the Catholic Church. I then decided at the end of August to file a sexual misconduct allegation with the Diocese, asking them simply to deem the following to be credible or not.”

Fr. Cowan wrote: "Cardinal McCarrick's response to harassment allegations being 'I don’t recall that.' That's exactly what Denny [Fr. Stilwell] told me when I confronted him."

After his complaint to the diocese in August 2018, and later filing hand-written notes in a letter to the diocesan attorney Rob Westerman with more explicit details than in the original complaint, Fr. Cowan concluded that his allegations were not taken seriously by the diocese. He wrote on December 19, “I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that the Diocese of Gaylord is not taking seriously a sexual misconduct allegation I brought confidentially to them against Fr. Dennis Stilwell…” 

The diocesan review board concluded, despite the instances of unsolicited physical contact allegedly initiated by Fr. Stilwell in the presence of at least one other person, including slaps on the buttocks, hugs, patting and rubbing Fr. Cowan’s stomach, that the allegations were not credible, according to Gaylord Diocesan Watch. 

In addition to the allegations aired by Fr. Cowan, the Gaylord Diocesan Watch said that his “situation is only one of several cases our group is researching at this time.” The group anticipates presenting “information about other egregious violations of sex-abuse rules and regulations by Bishop Raica.” Moreover, the group said that the bishop has stonewalled them for at least two years and has refused to rectify “obvious scandals.”

According to Dr. Dubavec of Gaylord Diocesan Watch, the first canon law expert Fr. Cowan consulted regarding his case was Fr. Edwin Dwyer JCL, a young priest of the neighboring Diocese of Saginaw. Fr. Dwyer was removed from his parish on Jan. 30 by Bishop Walter Hurley, ostensibly because he introduced elements of the Mass that are considered traditional. Dr. Dubravec wondered, in his interview with LifeSiteNews, whether it was coincidental that two young priests of a traditional outlook were removed at nearly the same time. 

The Gaylord Diocesan Watch issued a statement on Friday that Bishop Raica has refused to meet with members of the group. According to the group, a diocesan spokesperson told them that a meeting with the bishop is not necessary because of the Michigan attorney general’s ongoing investigation into diocesan policies and possible cover-ups of abuser priests.

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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin

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Federal judge lifts block on enforcing Trump admin ban on gender-confused soldiers

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By Calvin Freiburger

BALTIMORE, March 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge in Maryland has lifted the final injunction against the Trump administration’s proposed ban on gender-confused soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces, bringing the legal battle over the policy one step closer to resolution.

The policy, developed after a review spearheaded by former Defense Secretary James Mattis, disqualifies “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” specifically those who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery,” except in “certain limited circumstances.”

The ban was immediately challenged in court, leading four separate courts to issue temporary injunctions against enforcing it. In January, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated an injunction by District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, followed by the U.S. Supreme Court staying two others, The Hill reports.

U.S. District Judge George Russell III, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, ruled Thursday that he was “bound by the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the preliminary  injunctions in their entirety,” lifting the final injunction.

The policy will not yet take effect, however.

“The department is pleased with the district court’s decision to stay the final injunction against the department’s proposed transgender policy,” Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell said in a statement. “The 2016 policy [allowing transgender troops] will remain in effect until the department issues further guidance, which will be forthcoming in the near future.”

The Department of Justice is “pleased this procedural hurdle has been cleared” and the Department of Defense “will be able to implement personnel policies it determined necessary to best defend our nation as litigation continues,” Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco added, CNN reports.

The left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a statement calling Russell’s decision “deeply disappointing” and vowing to “continue to fight against this discriminatory policy and the Trump administration’s attacks on transgender people.”

Last week, the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee heard testimony for and against the ban. Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency, testified that the military has observed transgenderism-related issues that groups such as the American Medical Association fail to recognize, such as higher numbers of visits to mental health professionals and more frequent suicidal thoughts.

The ban was developed after “extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans,” according to the White House and as detailed in a memo from former secretary Mattis. The American Psychiatric Association still classifies gender dysphoria as a mental disorder.

The Supreme Court’s January order lifting the injunctions was not a decision on the merits of the case, which will continue to be litigated in the lower courts. Last November, the Trump administration asked the justices to fast-track the case instead of waiting for the lower courts, which they declined to do.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke | Cardinal Walter Brandmüller | Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk
LifeSiteNews staff

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3 cardinals, top Catholic leaders to address 2019 Rome Life Forum: Register now

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

ROME, March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The highly anticipated 2019 Rome Life Forum is just two months away. This year’s conference, hosted in Rome at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum), will be held on May 16-17. It will be followed by the annual Rome March for Life on Saturday, May 18.

The theme for this year’s conference is: “City of God vs. City of Man – Global One World Order vs. Christendom.” 2019 marks the fifth anniversary of the event, which is hosted by Voice of the Family. The conference is co-sponsored by Associazione Famiglia Domani (Italy), Family Life International New Zealand, LifeSiteNews, and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (UK).

Click here to reserve your spot at the 2019 Rome Life Forum.

The conference comes at a tumultuous time in not just the Catholic Church but also in the world. Populist and nationalist movements are rising up in opposition to liberalism and multiculturalism. During his pontificate, Pope Francis has welcomed to the Vatican radical environmentalists and population control activists from the United Nations. He has also called on nations to “build bridges and not walls.” But prelates like Archbishop Athanasius Schneider and Cardinal Robert Sarah see the flooding of migrants into Europe as a deliberate, orchestrated attempt by powerful, pro-globalist individuals who want to undermine the continent’s Christian heritage.

Among those scheduled to speak on these and other pressing topics at this year’s conference include:

  • Dubia Cardinal Raymond Burke
  • Dubia Cardinal Walter Brandmüller
  • Cardinal Willem Eijk (The Netherlands)
  • Fr Kevin O’Reilly OP (Angelicum, Italy)
  • Dr Alan Fimister (UK/USA)
  • Prof. Roberto de Mattei (Lepanto Foundation, Italy)
  • Steven Mosher (Population Research Institute, USA)
  • Anthony Murphy (Catholic Voice, Ireland)
  • John-Henry Westen (LifeSiteNews, Canada)

The Rome Life Forum is open to all those who have leadership roles in the pro-life and pro-family movement or in movements concerned with the defense and diffusion of Catholic moral and social teaching. For more information about event costs, travel, and lodging, click here. The program for the conference will be available in the coming weeks.

For LifeSite’s coverage of previous year’s Rome Life Forum’s, click the following: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015.

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James Gaughran www.nysenate.gov
Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

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Catholic group boots Democrat New York senator from St. Patrick’s Day fest over abortion vote

Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas

NEW YORK, March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An Irish-American Catholic organization booted Democrat New York state Sen. James Gaughran from its ranks and disinvited him from participating in the group’s St. Patrick’s day festivities on account of him voting in favor of an extreme abortion law in January.

Monsignor Steven R. Camp, the Catholic chaplain of the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ (AOH) John F. Kennedy Division 4 of Suffolk County, told Gaughran in a letter last month that his vote in favor of the state’s recently passed Reproductive Health Act had caused “great dismay” among his fellow Irish Catholics. 

“The membership is dismayed that a member of their order could vote for such a law,” stated the letter as reported by Catholic News Agency. “This law violates all the principles the AOH has ascribed to since its founding, adherence to our Roman Catholic faith, and the security of the Irish race,” wrote Monsignor Camp on behalf of the AOH divisional leadership and membership. 

Msgr. Camp is the pastor of St. Patrick parish in Huntington on Long Island, New York. The parish is within the Diocese of Rockville Center.

According to the letter from Msgr. Camp, Gaughan was disinvited from the March 10 Huntington St. Patrick's Day Parade commemorating the Irish saint and has also been barred from the grand marshal’s dinner dance. Participation in St. Patrick’s Day festivities has long been a tradition among politicians, even those who support abortion such as New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D), another Catholic.

The Reproductive Health Act was passed by the New York legislature in January to the cheers of the legislators. It was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), a Catholic, despite entreaties from Catholic prelates and other pro-life activists. Anticipating a possible U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, New York law now permits abortion for nearly any reason until birth. Abortions are permitted “within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or (when) there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient's life or health.” It also removes the abortion from the state criminal code, stripping safeguards and regulations on abortions. It also allows non-doctors to commit abortions.

In response to Msgr. Camp’s letter, Gaughran asserted that AOH seeks to require elected officials “to perform their duties solely in conformance with the specific religious views held by its membership.” He claimed that he was no longer an active member of the Catholic group. 

Gaughran defended in his letter his vote on the abortion bill.

“I maintain my belief that a woman should have the right to make her own personal reproductive health care decisions,” he wrote. 

“To be honest, I do not see how any elected public official could faithfully uphold their fidelity to their Constitutional Oath while participating in an organization that requires specific votes based explicitly upon religious views or litmus test,” he added.

Gaughran went on to accuse the group of hypocrisy, saying his views align with Pope Francis. 

“In my case, it seems such selective requirements were arbitrarily applied. In recent years, other members of Ancient Order of Hibernians, some of whom while serving in public office, have spoken or voted in direct contradiction to the teachings and formal positions of the Catholic Church. Some differed on the matter of the death penalty, the threat of Climate Change, or President Trump’s policy of separating young children from their parents at the border. While my views on these issues — and many others — align with those of Pope Francis, some members have vocally opposed the positions of His Holiness. Respectfully, I must ask: Will these members receive a letter similar to the one I did?”

Gaughran had made no secret of his support of the abortion bill. On the day it passed, he said, “January 22nd, 2019 marks the day that New York tells women and girls -- you have the right to make health care decisions about your body.”

Gov. Cuomo has engaged in a public debate with Catholic Church officials over his abortion stance. He has accused Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, President Donald Trump, and pro-life advocates of representing the “religious right” that is “spreading falsehoods about abortion laws to inflame their base.” Dolan later wrote on his blog that the governor “continues his attempt to reduce the advocacy for the human rights of the pre-born infant to a ‘Catholic issue.’” Cardinal Dolan called it “an insult to our allies of so many religions, or none at all.”

The Ancient Order of Hibernians has its origins in the United States and Ireland and dates to the 1830s. Membership is limited to Catholic men born in Ireland or who claim Irish ancestry. Priests and seminarians of any ethnicity are welcome. The main principles of AOH are Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity, and its goals include peace and unity for Ireland, religious freedom, and “to protect and defend all life, born and unborn.” The pro-life language was added to its constitution after the U.S. Supreme Court mandated legal abortion nationwide in the 1970s. The constitution also says that AOH works “in harmony with the doctrines and laws of the Roman Catholic Church.”

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Pope Pius XII
Bill Donohue

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Wall Street Journal erred in suggesting Pope Pius XII was a Nazi sympathizer

Bill Donohue
By Bill Donohue

March 8, 2019 (Catholic League) — The March 5 edition of the Wall Street Journal contained a serious error. The newspaper was contacted by University of Mississippi law professor Ronald Rychlak about a photo of Pope Pius XII that suggests the Holy Father was sympathetic to the Nazis.

We are not pleased that the newspaper has not contacted Rychlak saying it will run his letter, but we are pleased to note that in an online posting they have accepted his criticism and changed the photo to reflect a more accurate depiction.

Rychlak is one of the world's leading authorities on the role of the Catholic Church's opposition to Hitler. He has authored several books on this subject, including Hitler, the War, and the Pope. He serves on the board of advisors of the Catholic League.

Here are his remarks, setting the record straight.

The caption of the picture accompanying Francis X. Rocca's article on the opening of Pope Pius XII's archives ('Vatican to Open Secret Archives on Wartime Pope Pius XII'). The caption says 'Pope Pius in Berlin in 1939. The pope has been criticized for not speaking out against the Holocaust.' That is incorrect.

This photograph, a favorite of those who seek to portray Pius XII in an unfavorable light, was actually taken in 1927. It shows Nuncio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII who was at that time a Vatican representative to Germany, leaving a reception for President Hindenburg. It is a Weimar soldier, not a Nazi soldier, in the foreground. Pacelli left Germany in 1929, before Hitler came to power, and he never returned.

"The dating of this photograph to 1939 was (to my knowledge) first done by John Cornwell in the British edition of his book when he put that photo on the cover. After objection from the Vatican, the publisher changed the date to 1929 (still incorrect, but at least prior to the Nazi era). Cornwell used the same photograph with the correct date on the U.S. edition of his book, but the photo was cropped to eliminate the soldier nearest the camera (making it hard to recognize that he was a Weimar soldier, not a Nazi), darkened (making it appear more sinister), and blurred (so that a chauffeur in the background takes on the appearance of an SS officer). Unfortunately, such manipulation of evidence has been far too common in this debate.

Published with permission from the Catholic League.

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Alex Schadenberg Alex Schadenberg Follow Alex

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Medical pioneer who fought childhood cancer, assisted suicide has died

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By Alex Schadenberg

March 8, 2019 (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) —It is with profound sadness that the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition announces the death of its founding President, Dr. L.L. "Barrie" deVeber.

Barrie was born on January 27, 1929 and died on February 28, 2019.

Dr Barrie deVeber obituary.

Barrie was married to Iola (2015) and they had six children.

Barrie was a paediatric oncologist and a pioneer in paediatric palliative care. His caring and innovative work with children with cancer, pregnant women with the Rh factor, and hemophilia patients, affected the lives of many. His medical career took him around the globe, from Canada to England to the USA, to Saudi Arabia to Africa. Barrie was Professor Emeritus at the University of Western Ontario (Paediatrics/Oncology). 

Barrie was the founding President of the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research, and founding President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. 

He was a also founding member of various organizations, including Camp Trillium, The Sunshine Club, London and Area Right to Life, and the Montessori School of London, to name a few. A vocal advocate of pro-life, Barrie made countless presentations to government and local communities, educating them on the innate humanity and dignity of the unborn, and the importance of respecting human life, from conception to natural death.

Barrie lived life to the fullest. His Irish charm made him a friend of many. He was a dear friend. He will be missed.

The book, Barrie: The Memoirs of Dr. L.L. deVeber, was published in 2015.

Published with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Follow Matthew

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US Supreme Court dismisses appeal of Christian imprisoned for helping child flee lesbian ‘mother’

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Supreme Court of the United States has refused to hear an appeal of a conviction of Christian businessmen Philip Zodhiates, who is currently serving a sentence in a federal prison for helping a Christian woman and her child escape court-enforced visits with an unrelated lesbian “mother” imposed on the child by a Vermont court.

The Court dismissed the appeal filed by Zodhiates’ private attorney, as well as three “friend of the court” (amicus curiae) briefs filed in support of Zodhiates appeal by several organizations and coalitions of groups concerned about the implications of the case for the rights of natural parents, as well as the dangers implied for constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure by government authorities.

Zodhiates was convicted in 2016 of the crime of “international parental kidnapping” for driving Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella to the Canadian border in 2009, where she allegedly crossed into Canada and took a flight to Nicaragua. An international manhunt that targeted the Mennonites who protected Lisa and Isabella turned up nothing.

Miller was seeking to protect her daughter from exposure to court-enforced visits with Janet Jenkins, a lesbian with whom Miller had had a sexual relationship and civil union partnership before repenting and returning to her Christian faith. Although Isabella was born to Lisa via artificial insemination while Miller and Jenkins were living together, Jenkins never adopted Isabella and her name is not on her birth certificate. Nonetheless, a Vermont court declared that Jenkins is, in addition to Lisa, Isabella’s “mother.”

Before disappearing with her daughter in Nicaragua, Miller told LifeSite and other publications about disturbing signs of trauma suffered by Isabella while she was visiting Jenkins. Although several sworn affidavits were filed with Vermont courts supporting those concerns, the courts continued to require Miller to turn her child over to Jenkins on an unsupervised basis. Zodhiates later told a federal judge that he was motivated to help Lisa by concern over evidence of sexual abuse by Jenkins.

“In 2009, newspaper reports were that Lisa’s child was being sexually abused,” said Zodhiates. “When people are suffering abuse, poverty, or injustice, and I am asked to help, I do so. Thus my natural instinct was to help her and her daughter become free of the abuse. Helping others is always a primary motivation for me, especially so when children are involved.”

Zodhiates, 61, is president of the conservative direct mail fundraising company Response Unlimited, and is an adoptive father of six children from Central America. He began his three-year sentence for “international parental kidnapping” on December 5 of last year, turning himself in to the Ashland, Kentucky, Federal Correctional Institute. With the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear Zodhiates’ appeal, it appears that all avenues to overturning his conviction are now closed.

Victim of 'religious persecution'

In its amicus curiae brief, the Religious Freedom Coalition argued that Philip Zodhiates, as well as Lisa Miller herself, are victims of an ideologically-motivated witch hunt designed to punish anyone who resists the LGBT agenda.

“The sheer intensity of the search for Ms. Miller and the zeal to prosecute those affiliated with her in anyway are undoubtedly fueled by the powerful gay and lesbian activist organizations that have represented or are still representing Ms. Jenkins,” the Coalition wrote. “These organizations include the ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Southern Poverty Law Center among others.”

“When Lisa Miller disappeared in 2009 she became the subject of a massive manhunt spanning the world,” the Coalition stated. “The FBI has been involved, three men have been charged and/or  convicted of federal crimes, and a Mennonite camp in Nicaragua has been turned upside down.”

“The systematic targeting of conservative Christians who stand for biblical values is well documented. While the banning of MAGA caps is celebrated, the mere affirmation of biblical teaching on marriage and homosexuality — unchanged for 2,000 years — is condemned as ‘disgusting.’”

The Foundation for Moral Law argued that Lisa Miller herself is not guilty of “parental kidnapping” because as the natural parent she had a legitimate motive for acting to protect her daughter from the influence of Janet Jenkins, whose lesbianism is contrary to Lisa Miller’s Christian religious beliefs.

“Ms. Miller fled the country with her daughter because of her Christian faith,” the Foundation stated in its brief. “She had religious objections to her daughter being raised by a lesbian, and the Constitution of the United States protects her rights to object, both on religious grounds and as the child’s natural parent.”

Government allowed 'exception' for obtaining cell phone records without a warrant

Zodhiates’ personal appeal was based on the warrantless acquisition of his cell phone records, which was justified by the lower courts by granting a “good faith exception” to the prosecutor who requested them, even though he had not received a court order from a judge who had determined that probable cause existed for the acquisition.

Zodhiates’ attorney argued that “good faith exception” granted by the lower courts ran contrary to a previous Supreme Court decision prohibiting exceptions in cases in which a government official believes erroneously that he has a right to obtain the records in question.

Zodhiates’ appeal against the warrantless acquisition of his cell phone records was joined by a large coalition of groups concerned about the danger posed to civil liberties by such a precedent, including the Downsize DC Foundation, DownsizeDC.org, Free Speech Coalition, Free Speech Defense and Education Fund, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Policy Analysis Center, Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, and Restoring Liberty Action Committee.

The Religious Freedom Coalition argued that applying the “good faith exception” to allow the use of Zodhiates cell phone records looked like “religious persecution,” and told the Court that it was Zodhiates himself who deserved such an exception.

Zodhiates’ case “smacks of religious persecution because Zodhiates’ actions in assisting a single mother and her minor daughter occurred in the context of a highly controversial case of first impression to establish parental rights in a former same sex partner,” the Coalition said in its brief. “The  ‘good  faith’ exception  should  properly apply to  Philip  Zodhiates,  not  the  overly  zealous prosecutor who improperly seized Mr. Zodhiates’ CSLI (cell phone records).”

Two of the briefs filed on behalf of Zodhiates cited LifeSite articles. Matthew J. Clark, representing the Foundation for Moral Law,” cited LifeSite’s recent article, “Christian businessman sent to  federal prison for freeing child from court-imposed lesbian ‘mother.’” The Religious Freedom Coalition cited LifeSite’s 2008 article, “Exclusive Interview with Lisa Miller, Ex-Lesbian Fighting for Custody of Own Child against ‘Civil Union’ Partner.”

'Conservative' justices dismiss appeal

The request for a hearing was rejected because it failed to receive the votes of at least four Supreme Court justices. The Court currently has a majority of five justices who are perceived as conservative picks, including Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.

Justice Neil Gorsuch appeared to show sympathy for Zodhiates’ case when in December of last year he reversed a decision by Justice Ruth Bader Gisberg to reject an appeal for a stay of sentence while an appeal of the verdict against Zodhiates was prepared. However, the full court voted to turn down the stay of sentence, and has now chosen not to hear Zodhiates’ appeal.

Only about four percent of the thousands of paid appeals to the Supreme Court are accepted to be heard by the justices each year. When an individual privately files as a “pauper” who cannot afford an attorney, the acceptance rate falls to less than .2%.

Rejection of a rehearing by the Court does not necessarily indicate that the justices regard the case as not having merit, but may simply reflect the limited resources of the Court, which is able to hear less than one hundred appeals each year.  

Related links and contact information:

A radio interview given by Zodhiates only days before his incarceration can be found here:

Philip Zodhiates radio interview part one
Philip Zodhiates radio interview part two

To donate to Zodhiates, who has incurred massive expenses in defending himself, click here.

Zodhiates can be reached by mail at the following address:

Philip Zodhiates 18649-084
FCI Ashland
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 6001
Ashland, KY  41105

Contact the author at [email protected].

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Annette Byrd via Fox News Digital.
Drew Belsky

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A fire destroyed his home and everything in it…except his Bible

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

BON SECOUR, Alabama, March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An Alabama father of four took it as a comfort from God when firefighters extracted his family Bible, unscathed, from the smoking wreck of his home.

Scot Byrd related to reporters in February how one firefighter emerged from the building with "tears in his eyes," informing Byrd that his grandfather's Bible "did not have one scorch mark on it." Byrd lost his house and all the rest of his possessions in a Christmas tree fire on January 8. He and his family were away from home as the fire occurred, and no one was harmed.

The Bible survived not only the fire, but also the water from the firefighters' hoses as they controlled the blaze. Byrd was told that someone might as well have come into the devastated house after the fact and set the Bible upon the wreckage.

Stories of Christian items coming untouched out of disasters are far from unheard of. The month prior, a man in Oklahoma recovered his undamaged childhood Bible from his truck, also destroyed by fire.

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, excavators famously discovered a 17-foot cross among the rubble. The cross, comprising two intersecting steel beams, was subsequently installed in the 9/11 Memorial Museum, over the objections of an atheist group.

Statues and images of the Virgin Mary have also survived numerous natural disasters, including Hurricane Harvey, a fire at a military base in Spain, and the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that devastated Mexico City in 2017. The tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, itself bearing a number of miraculous properties, remained untouched when an unidentified man detonated a bomb in the sanctuary of the basilica where it's located.

Another miraculous survival comes from the Battle of Lepanto (1571), memorialized in a famous poem by G.K. Chesterton, in which Christian naval forces repelled the Islamic horde seeking to invade Europe. An image of Christ on the Cross is said to have dodged a cannonball that tore through the ship in which the image was installed. The Holy Christ of Lepanto is on display today in the Cathedral of Barcelona in Spain.

Scot Byrd, a veteran, had lived in his Bon Secour home for 20 years. His sister, Annette, set up a fundraiser to help the family get back on their feet.

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Coal City Fire Department
Drew Belsky

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Church building burns down, Bibles and crosses remain untouched by fire

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

DANIELS, West Virginia, March 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A West Virginia church building went up in flames early Sunday morning, with firefighters shocked to find the Bibles inside unharmed.

The Coal City Fire Department described the blaze as "so hot that at one point in time, firefighters had to back out." Yet not just the Bibles, but also the crosses were spared, according to the responders at the scene. So were the firemen themselves: "Not a single bible was burned and not a single cross was harmed!! Not a single firefighter was hurt!"

In a comment under the post, Facebook user Dean Vandall declared, "Out of every structure fire I have responded to in the past 20 years, not one bible has burned, they might have smoke damage or [charred] around the edges but you could still read every page. ... It just goes to show that God's word is more powerful than the devil's fire and fury no matter how hot it gets." The comment received over 9,000 reactions.

Freedom Ministries Church is located in Daniels, a West Virginia mountain town of about 2,000 people, some 65 miles southeast of Charleston.

Freedom Ministries is not the only site where Bibles survived a devastating fire. In Alabama in January, a family found their house burned down, with everything destroyed except the father's Bible. Likewise, an Oklahoma man discovered his unburnt childhood Bible in the charred remains of his truck last December.

"We will fight the enemy and not let him hold us down," Freedom Ministries declared in a Facebook post on the fire. "In the midst of the smoke you can see Jesus. He was there with us!"

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Bishop Athanasius Schneider Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
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Bishop Schneider lists four root causes of sex abuse crisis in Catholic Church

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By John-Henry Westen

March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews published yesterday, Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider listed the root causes of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Speaking with LifeSite’s Diane Montagna in Rome after his recent meeting with Pope Francis, Bishop Schneider said that for a huge problem like the abuse crisis “we always have to go to the deepest root, as every good doctor and physician does.” 

Here is his presentation of the four roots of the crisis and his explanation.

#1 Homosexuality among the clergy

One of the evident, observable and deepest roots of the sexual abuse of minors is homosexuality among the clergy. Of course, I will not say that all homosexuals are necessarily abusing children. This would be unjust and untrue. But we are speaking about clerical abuse in the Church, and so we have to focus on this illness. 

It has been proven that more than 80 percent of victims were post-pubescent males. It is therefore evident that the nature of the majority of this abuse involved homosexual acts. We have to stress that this is one of the main roots.

#2 Relativism of doctrine

The other main root of the abuse crisis is the relativism on moral teaching which began after the Second Vatican Council. Since then, we have been living in a deep crisis of doctrinal relativism, not only of dogmatics but also of morals — the moral law of God.

Morals were not taught clearly in seminaries over the past 50 years; it was often not clearly taught in Seminaries and Theological faculties that a sin against the sixth commandment is a grave sin. Subjectively there may be mitigating circumstances, but objectively it is a grave sin. Every sexual act outside a valid matrimony is against the will of God. It offends God and is a serious sin, a mortal sin.

This teaching was so relativized… We have to stress this... the relativism of moral teaching, specifically on the sixth commandment. 

#3 A lack of ascesis in seminaries

Another deep cause is the lack of a true, serious and authentic formation of seminarians. There was a lack of ascesis in the life and formation of seminarians. 

It has been proven by two thousand years, and by human nature, that without physical ascesis like fasting, praying, and even other forms of corporal mortifications, it is impossible to live a constant life in virtue without mortal sin. Due to the deep wound of original sin and the concupiscence still at work in every human being, we need corporal mortification. 

St. Paul says: “Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Rom. 13:14) We can paraphrase these words, saying: do not nurture your flesh too much or concupiscence will dominate you. And this is exactly what often happened in seminaries. Seminarians and priests nurtured the flesh through a comfortable life without ascesis, without fasting and other bodily and spiritual mortifications. 

#4 Above all the absence of a deep and true love for Christ

But to me, the deepest cause of the clerical sex abuse crisis is the lack of a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When a seminarian or a priest does not have a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ, in constant fidelity to a life of prayer and really enjoying a personal love for Jesus, he is easy prey for the temptations of the flesh and other vices. 

Furthermore, when you have a deep and personal love of Christ, you cannot deliberately commit a horrendous sin. Occasionally, because of the weakness of human nature, a priest or seminarian could commit a mortal sin against purity. But in the same moment, he is deeply repentant and decides to avoid the next sin at any cost. This is a manifestation of a true love of Christ. But it is for me completely excluded that a person who deeply loves Christ can sexually abuse minors. It is for me impossible. In my opinion, a deep love of Christ excludes this.

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Roger Taylor

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If Democrats take the White House in 2020, will abortion become mandatory?

Roger Taylor
By Roger Taylor

March 8, 2019 (American Thinker) — This query may sound like a kooky conspiracy theory, but we must give it serious consideration. It is possible that "pro-choice" could morph into no choice.

My first encounter with abortion fervor was in 1975, at the beginning of my residency in obstetrics and gynecology. This was only two years after Roe v. Wade, and most of the faculty and residents had applauded that decision with almost religious zeal. Most considered it a victory of women's health, and there was absolutely no concern for the embryo and fetus.

Out of a house staff of 20 residents, only two of us refused to do abortions. There was great pressure on us to conform, and we had to meet with the chairman to explain our position. We were asked if this was a Catholic thing. It was not, and we countered that it should not matter. This was a personal choice. (I guess "pro-choice" did not apply to non-abortionists.) I explained that I could not be the knight in shining armor, saving the lives of mother and baby, and then don the executioner's black hood for the next encounter. Trying to be both of those people seemed a form of moral schizophrenia.

The pressure on us remained, but perseverance won. Despite implied threats to our employment, we did not have to submit. To this day, after delivering more than 8,000 babies over 40 years, I am proud not to have the black stain of killing fetuses on my immortal soul.

In the early days, the pro-abortion people promised that they wanted abortion to be safe, legal, and rare. They also said they wanted abortion to remain legal in case it needed to done to save the life of the mother. In all of my years of practice, I have never needed to recommend an abortion to save the life of the mother. Almost always, we now can prolong a pregnancy up to at least 23 weeks, at which time we can do a cesarean to save the mother and usually the child. And the argument that an abortion is better for the mental health of some women is a travesty. There is often great emotional trauma caused by having an abortion, sometimes many years later. Claiming the need for abortion to save the mother is just a way of trying to shut down the discussion.

But now abortion is evolving into an inexorable evil. Now they want it legal at any gestational age, common, and who cares about safety? It is all about pushing a liberal agenda and making money.

The recent New York abortion law points out the hypocrisy. Two thirds of all abortion complications occur in late-term pregnancies. I abhor the dilation and extraction procedure of late-term abortion because of its hideous nature. It is designed to crush the fetal head before delivery so that the baby will not be born alive. It is also the procedure that requires the most expertise. The New York law allows people without these special killing skills to attempt the procedure. There is great risk of uterine perforation, bowel and bladder injury, hemorrhage, and death. Any other surgical procedure with such risk would never be allowed in the hands of the unqualified. It is chilling that there was great jubilation when Governor Cuomo announced the signing of the bill. This act, and those similar acts of blue states, is putting a blight on the former goodness of America.

There is a new storm brewing. The new wave of young socialists in Washington has dangerous and anti-American ideas. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her misguided cronies want to impose extreme totalitarianism on us through the ruse of the Green New Deal Trojan horse. She wants to save the planet by destroying the nation. Of all her cockamamie ideas, the one that worries me most is her discussion about young people maybe not having children to save the Earth. When socialists say these things, that is their Newspeak for everyone else to avoid having children. 

How would socialists accomplish this? They would start by outlawing private health insurance. This is already being discussed by some. Then the single-payer government plan would have total power over health care. As happened in China in the 1970s, they could mandate how many children you can have. This would be enforced with mandatory sterilization or abortion. Hospitals and doctors would be forced to do abortions on government command or lose payment or licensure. With government overseeing social media, one could not post pictures of his children if he tried to avoid this by delivering at home. Would these unauthorized children then be seized or exterminated to "save the planet"?

I hope none of these nightmares comes to pass, but we have to think of the worst scenarios to avoid them. The socialists cannot be allowed to control America. If they do, I will practice my right, even if unrecognized, of civil disobedience.

Roger Taylor is a physician in private practice. He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago. He has a plethora of interests.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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From left, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building. February 27, 2019. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images
Thomas Lifson

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Shhhh! Nobody tell Ocasio-Cortez scientists are skeptical of global warming

Thomas Lifson
By Thomas

March 8, 2019 (American Thinker) — Without the claimed "scientific consensus" on global warming or climate change, the Green New Deal becomes just another progressive con game, but with the highest stakes ever.

Writing in Forbes in 2013, James Taylor shows quoting a 2012 study that the supposed 97% "scientific consensus" on global warming is false:

Don't look now, but maybe a scientific consensus exists concerning global warming after all.  Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies.  By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.

The survey results show geoscientists (also known as earth scientists) and engineers hold similar views as meteorologists.  Two recent surveys of meteorologists (summarized here and here) revealed similar skepticism of alarmist global warming claims.

According to the newly published survey of geoscientists and engineers, merely 36 percent of respondents fit the "Comply with Kyoto" model.  The scientists in this group "express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause."

The authors of the survey report, however, note that the overwhelming majority of scientists fall within four other models, each of which is skeptical of alarmist global warming claims.

The genesis of the 97% figure was always questionable, but now, with an actual peer-reviewed study, it is time for the junk heap.

Shhhh!  Nobody tell Ocasio-Cortez:

Trump: When I'm on the debate stage with one of these maniacs, I mean, how do you get to Europe?  We haven't figured that one out, we don't use airplanes anymore.  You saw what I'm doing in California, right, they have a fast track, the fast train goes from San Francisco to Los Angeles."

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Bishop Schneider: Why homosexually inclined men shouldn’t be in seminary

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By John-Henry Westen

March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – During an exclusive interview with LifeSite, Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider, proposed as one of the solutions to the sexual abuse crisis a new canonical norm in the Catholic Church which would mandate that men with homosexual inclinations “categorically not be accepted in seminaries.” Bishop Schneider, one of the leading voices for orthodoxy in the Church, suggested that if men with homosexual inclinations are in seminary “ they must be dismissed from the seminary and helped to be healed and to live as a good Christian layman.”

Bishop Schneider explains:

Currently the norms only say that those with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should not be admitted to seminary, but for me this is not sufficient. What does “deep-seated” mean? If an adult man comes to the seminary and feels homosexual attraction, even if it is not yet deep-seated, it is still a homosexual attraction. And in itself it is already a condition that, in some circumstances — such as in the exclusively male atmosphere of a seminary — could develop into a deeper or more aggressive tendency.

And when he becomes a priest, he will be with seminarians, with young altar boys and so on. And so while perhaps in seminary these tendencies were not deep-seated, they can become deeper in certain circumstances.

It is for me in some way disingenuous. Let’s say that a young man is not an aggressive homosexual. He does not take pleasure in having homosexual tendencies, and they are not so deeply rooted. But when he acknowledges that he has these tendencies, or when it is proven by exterior acts or signs that he has homosexual tendencies, even if they are not deep-seated, he should be charitably sent away from the seminary. And this should be a canonical norm: that someone who acknowledges that he has homosexual tendencies, even not deep-seated, cannot be received into another seminary and cannot be ordained.

Homosexual tendencies are a kind of a personality disorder trait and a distorted perception of reality, since this signifies a desiring an object of pleasure against the natural order of the sexes. Magisterial documents call it an “objective” disorder. How can you ordain a man with a disorder in his personality or in his psycho-somatic makeup? Of course, there are other psychological disorders as well. We do not ordain men with certain psychological disorders, even when they are not so deep. It would harm the priesthood.  

Asked what sort of exterior signs he had in mind, the Bishop replied:

If he were to have an exclusive and ostentatious friendship with a man, it would already be an exterior sign. Or if he looks at male pornography on the internet, this would be another sign. These are exterior, verifiable signs. Once these are discovered, such a seminarian should be forever excluded from ordination. Yes, he can be healed, but the seminary is not a sanitarium for healing people with psychological disorders or homosexual tendencies. This is naïve, and it will harm the priesthood and the person. It would be better for such a person to be a good Christian in the world and save his soul, and not to be a priest. We can and should help him, or course. But we have to be willing to say to him: you will not be ordained, it is for the salvation of your soul. Be a good Christian in the world.

Better to have fewer priests but healthy, psychologically healthy men. And deep lovers of Christ, deeply spiritual men. It would be better for the entire Church. Better to leave some parishes without a priest and some dioceses without a bishop for several years than to ordain a man who has a disorder, either homosexual or other personality disorders.

 

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Joy Amadee Osborne with Baby Mike. Joy Amadee Osborne / Facebook
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‘We saw a person’: Mom releases heartbreaking photos of 13-week miscarried baby

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By Pete Baklinski
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March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – My heart just broke this morning when scanning through Facebook posts I came across images of a tiny perfectly-formed baby who had died in the womb at about 13 weeks' gestation and had to be delivered prematurely. 

The baby's mom, Joy Amadee Osborne, wrote a beautiful testimony to her son's life (read full testimony below). They named him Mike.

"We were planning to meet you in August but we met you yesterday instead," she wrote in her March 3 post. 

The mom marveled about how perfectly formed her little baby was. And the pictures show exactly what she's talking about.

"You (a baby boy!) came out of my womb and you were 'fully formed.' In miniature, developing detail, your body was all there (hands, legs, feet, toes, fingers, ears, nose holes, mouth, lips, big eye sockets, collar bone, ribs, and many more seen and unseen parts," she wrote. 

“'You were skillfully wrought'” and we couldn’t stop marveling at the craftsmanship of such a tiny human. Measuring in at 3.5 inches long, we witnessed humanity. We saw a person. We saw life. YOU testified of your Creator and so did we. The nurses agreed and marveled as well," she added. 

When reading the mom's powerful testimony, I could not help but feel sad about all the people who think abortion of babies like Baby Mike is acceptable because they think it's "women's healthcare," or "reproductive rights," or the "right to choose," or whatever euphemism they want to call it. 

The fact is, Baby Mike's parents got it right. Their son and every other baby in a mother's womb is a member of the human family created in God's image who deserves the rights, respect, and justice owed to every other born member of the human family. 

I'm horrified to think of the uncountable numbers of babies every year who are the same age and size as Baby Mike who are torn apart limb from limb, or poisoned, or disintegrated by vacuum suction because those who are more powerful have convinced themselves that the weakest among us who may be an inconvenience are disposable. 

Baby Mike's pictures speak to the truth of the humanity of every unborn baby. Baby Mike's pictures testify to the common humanity that we all share with one another. Baby Mike's pictures are a call to action for everyone to do more to end the diabolic assault on humanity called abortion.

I just love how the mom ended her letter to her son. "So, we love you, 'Baby Mike.' Your life mattered and you lived it well."

His life mattered, not just because the parents attached value to it, but because Baby Mike was a human being with an eternal soul who was created to be loved and to love. And every baby in the womb is created the same way and should be viewed the same way. Love will one day end abortion. And these parents lived it fully. 

***

Joy's full testimony to the life of her son Mike, reprinted by permission. 

Dear Baby Mike, 
We were planning to meet you in August but we met you yesterday instead. Your Daddy and I want to testify to others what we have seen and experienced and witnessed of our God. 

I went in on Friday, March 1, for a brief, routine (almost 15-week checkup) that left us with the news that while you were there as expected, your heart was not seemingly beating anymore. About an hour later, during a more in-depth ultrasound (at the hospital), it was confirmed for me. “This is baby’s head, this is baby’s body---but sadly, there is no heartbeat for baby and there hasn’t been for probably at least a few days.” I graciously smiled and acknowledged that it was obvious to me as well. No movement on the screen. No explanation needed or given. 

We came back to the hospital yesterday, Saturday, March 2, to deliver you. I was induced around 12 pm and at 3:02 pm, we witnessed something as amazing as the full-term birth of our four sweet children (who have been graciously cared for by friends the past 2 days.)

You (a baby boy!) came out of my womb and you were “fully formed.” In miniature, developing detail, your body was all there (hands, legs, feet, toes, fingers, ears, nose holes, mouth, lips, big eye sockets, collar bone, ribs, and many more seen and unseen parts. “You were skillfully wrought” and we couldn’t stop marveling at the craftsmanship of such a tiny human. Measuring in at 3.5 inches long, we witnessed humanity. We saw a person. We saw life. YOU testified of your Creator and so did we. The nurses agreed and marveled as well. 

This Scripture has been a blessing in my life lately and it reads, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book.” Psalm 139:13-18

The medical decision is that your life stopped just shy of 14 weeks. These were “the days that were written in God’s plan for you” and while we are sad to say good-bye, we have been blessed by your life. You have been a tiny teacher and God has used you mightily. 

The last few weeks, Jason and Nick (who have loved the thought of adding you to our family and wouldn’t entertain the thought you possibly being female  lol) decided to name you ‘Mike’. I’m not sure this would have been our final decision but when the nurse asked us yesterday, “Do you want to name your baby?” ---we agreed that “Baby Mike” seemed somehow appropriate and I was blessed to have this detail predetermined by your thoughtful brothers. 

The name ‘Michael’ means “Who is like God?” I am reminded of Isaiah 40 which I had been reading all week long (prior to your delivery, not knowing what the future held) so thankfully, I knew/know the answer and could/can confidently proclaim, “No one is like God. No one else holds the seas. No one else counts the stars. No one else reduces rulers. No one else can be compared to Him. No one else is never tired. No one else creates life in the mother’s womb. No one else sustains life outside of the womb. He is the one who died for sins, He is the ultimate Counselor and (thankfully) He is Sovereign over all.” 

Today, we will go home without you in our arms but you will not be forgotten. Your silent voice screamed loudly yesterday. It screamed over and over and over-----“No one is like your God, Mommy! No one is like your God, Daddy! No one can do what He does. He formed me, He will sustain you and He is the God who cares.”

So, we love you, “Baby Mike.” Your life mattered and you lived it well. We will see you again. 

Mom and Dad
(Jason, Nick, Kylie and Lincoln)

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If the government forces women to fight in combat, we should burn our draft cards in the street

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By Claire Chretien

March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – St. Joan of Arc, one of my favorite saints, led an army at 18. Pope Leo XIII’s famous assertion that Catholics are “born for combat” has been an inspiration to me since becoming involved in pro-life work – fighting for the pre-born is indeed a (nonviolent) battle, and we must be tireless warriors.

A ruling last month from a federal judge, though, concerns the kind of combat in which women should not be forced to serve. Citing the Supreme Court decision that imposed same-sex “marriage” on all 50 states, a U.S. District judge ruled that requiring only young men to register for the selective service is unconstitutional.

That, combined with the renewed push to ratify the so-called Equal Rights Amendment, should worry everyone who recognizes that there are fundamental differences between the sexes.

What kind of society forcibly sends its mothers, daughters, and sisters to the front lines of war? Apparently, the same society that thinks it’s empowering to give us the “right” to kill our own offspring throughout pregnancy and even right after birth.

If women are drafted alongside men, who will care for our children who weren’t aborted? The government? There’s no statute saying young men with little children can’t be drafted; why should it be any different if women are to be drafted on the premise of “equality?"

There are other reasons to oppose drafting women. The average man is physically stronger and bigger than the average woman. The military already has alarming rates of sexual assault and rape. Many of the places where the United States sends troops are not exactly feminist in their cultural attitudes toward women.

If the U.S. ultimately does draft women, and I am one of the unlucky ones told I’ll be shipped off to combat, I will literally stand in the street and burn my draft card. Other young ladies will be welcome to join me.

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Argentina pro-life leader: Activists are using little pregnant girls to push legal abortion

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By Jonathon van Maren

March 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Last August, following the stunning upset victory of pro-lifers in Argentina, who fended off the legalization of abortion by a mere handful of votes in the senate, I intervieweda prominent Argentinian pro-life activist to discuss how the pro-life movement mobilized millions of people and what their strategy was going forward. Earlier in 2018, over three million pro-lifers had marched in the streets to demand that the government maintain protection for pre-born children in the womb, and tens of thousands took to the streets in celebration when the senatevoted narrowly against legalizing abortion. Buenos Aires became a joyful sea of blue handkerchiefs, the powerful symbol of the pro-life movement.

Pro-life activists have been preparing for the next assault on protections for pre-born children ever since, with many left-wing politicians promising to legalize abortion by other means. Abortion activists have also been seeking a difficult and tragic case to utilize in the media and build national and international support for their agenda, similar to what took place in Ireland in 1992 with the ‘X’ case. Earlier this month, an 11-year-old rape victim gave birth via C-section, apparently after requesting an abortion several times. Doctors worked to save both lives, and the abortion was refused because of complications over the girl’s guardianship.

The media is deceitfully implying — or outright claiming — that Argentina’s pro-life laws prevented this girl from getting an abortion in order to attack protections for pre-born children as cruel. Most of the international headlines state that “Argentina refused 11-year-old rape victim an abortion,” or something to that effect. In fact, abortion is actually legal in Argentina in the case of rape, and there was no law preventing the girl, who has been dubbed “Lucia” for privacy reasons, from getting an abortion. Rather, this was a complex case involving the girl’s family situation and other factors—but that, of course, interferes with the media’s preferred narrative that scores of underage rape victims are being forced to give birth because of Argentina’s pro-life laws.

To discuss what comes next for Argentina’s pro-life movement, which has suffered every slander imaginable from the international media over the past several weeks, I spoke with Camilo Duro, a 24-year-old pro-lifer working on the ground with the organization Frente Joven, a pro-life NGO that “seeks to reduce maternal and infant mortality by addressing its main causes [and] providing support to women with pregnancies at risk.” Frente Joven was also one of the leading organizations fighting the legalization of abortion last year. 

What is currently going on in Argentina?

Today we have no idea what's going to happen undoubtedly because "the green side" is handling a communication operation. They're using a new hashtag "#NiñasNoMadres" (#GirlsNotMothers) and the media are [spreading] news of little girls pregnant, eleven or twelve years old, victims of sexual abuse. They're putting local governments and public opinion under pressure. Actually, the last two cases had the same result: premature cesarean between 23 and 25 weeks. One of the babies already died after a few days of life, and the last one, Faustina, is fighting for her life. 

An abortion bill will be presented at the end of March. We have our big March for Life in two weeks, on March 23, [for] the Day of the Unborn Child. Two million people are expected to attend throughout the country.

After last year's pro-life victory, do these latest events threaten to bring abortion to Argentina once again?

Yes, it's not over. We are organized and giving options to our politicians to fight this inside Congress. The abortion bill is yet to come, so we're waiting. Meanwhile, we're thinking about a new communication campaign to reinforce our slogan "Save Both Lives."

What is the pro-life movement doing to respond to what is happening?

This week we announced a new free telephone line to help vulnerable pregnant women. We're working on a new sexual education plan, without gender ideology or promotion of early sexuality. In fact, we have five teams working on different tasks.

What is the abortion movement's strategy?

They want to pressure local governments to apply an illegitimate protocol created during the presidency of Cristina Kirchner. That protocol enables [women] to have an abortion in three cases: rape or sexual abuse, health risk (not life risk, just health, so they use "psychological health" as an excuse) or mental disability of the pregnant woman. But neverthelessit will probably [gain support] in Congress.

What do we in North America need to know that the media is not telling us?

First, we need our support throughout social networks. We're giving information through Twitter, Facebook andInstagram. Every week "Unidad Provida" is using a new hashtag to inform or to repudiate the big media fake news. It is also very important to know that we have an election year, and there's no pro-life candidate yet. It is a huge problem and pro-life people, especially inside the country, are showing disagreement [with the pro-abortion crowd] on Twitter. 

***

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews the "Godfather" of the US pro-life movement Joe Scheidler. 91-year-old Scheidler says that it was during a speech he attended by Senator Henry Hyde in Chicago in the early 1970s that he became interested in the pro-life fight. “I listened very carefully to Henry's talk and then I started studying the whole pro-life issue of fetal development,” he says. “I thought this was going to destroy our country because we are taking protection away from the most helpless — the unborn.” You can subscribe here, and listen to the episode below: 

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