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Laura Nicole

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After lawsuit, bus company that compared pro-lifers to KKK will run pro-life ads

Laura Nicole
By Laura Nicole

March 14, 2019 (Live Action News) — A pro-life group in Lafayette, Indiana, can now place its ads on the side of the government-run CityBus transportation company's buses, at the conclusion of a lawsuit that comes after CityBus denied the group's request.

In the fall of 2017, Tippecanoe County Right to Life submitted an advertisement intended for display on the sides of CityBus. The two-by-eight ad features two ultrasound photos and a newborn photo side by side. The words "Me," and then "Me, again" appear over the ultrasound photos, and "Still me" over the newborn photo. However, the advertisement was denied by the company, as the general manager deemed that it expressed a political viewpoint, a violation of the company's advertising policy.

According to the lawsuit, the manager compared the group to the Ku Klux Klan when the company told the pro-life group that accepting their ad would mean "it might have to accept ads from other organizations — like ones that wear hoods and burn crosses."

In the past, CityBus has run ads for mayoral and other political candidates, voter drives, and ballot issues, as well as health and advocacy groups.

According to the First Amendment lawsuit, Tippecanoe County Right to Life claims that there was "government discrimination against protected speech due to the viewpoint expressed," because the pro-life organization "believes that it is critical to educate the public about the humanity of unborn children and the harms of abortion," and that "one reason abortion is permitted in America is that many people do not understand the scientific truth about the humanity of unborn children."

Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the pro-life organization, said in a statement Thursday, "It's a scientific fact that unborn babies are just as human as the newborn babies we cherish, and Tippecanoe County Right to Life's ad shares that truth in a compelling way. We are thankful that CityBus is now allowing this educational message to reach people as they study, shop, and commute. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all people, regardless of their beliefs or their viewpoint."

In accordance with terms of the lawsuit, CityBus has removed the provisions in its advertising policy that it had used to reject the ad. It also agreed to pay attorneys' fees and damages.

Alliance Defending Freedom is a national nonprofit that addresses issues related to religious liberty, marriage and family, and pro-life issues, and in June of 2016 won a similar case in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The organization initially filed suit against CityBus in July 2018. In November, a federal judge ruled that the case could proceed.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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‘We’re always required to choose life’: Paris archbishop gives profound Lenten pro-life homily

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Why is life sacred? For Catholics, the answer to this question is central to the commitment to the defense of innocent human life, from its conception to its natural end.

As a former medical doctor who was a general practitioner from 1979 to 1990 and  specialized in medical ethics at the Créteil School of Medicine after receiving a university degree in 1994, Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris is a recognized expert in the field. His homily for the first Sunday of Lent in his Cathedral, Notre-Dame de Paris, was a striking and thought-provoking reflection on the value of life, which cannot be disassociated from the reality of God and His love.

The temptations of Christ in the desert, explained Archbishop Aupetit, commenting on the gospel of the day, are truly linked with the realities of life and death, and the way man should consider them.

“This life goes infinitely beyond its organic expression,” he said.

From his preaching, the inherent evil of the willful destruction of human life — but also that of choosing to live at the price of rejecting God, or of refusing suffering against the will of God — becomes very clear.

Archbishop Aupetit’s sermon offered beautiful insights into Jesus’ human sufferings, in particular His 40 days of fasting. Here is LifeSite’s translation:

“The Devil exhausted all types of temptation, this gospel tells us. It is about the temptations Jesus, the Son of God, went through in so far as he assumed our humanity. They join the most fundamental temptations that affect our human life. They are about life, God, and love. That is: the three matters that allow our humanity to enter into the salvation of God. This salvation is quite easily accessible to us if we believe St. Paul: ‘For, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved’ (Romans 10:9).

“The first temptation is about life and death. As a matter of fact, the Devil comes to tempt Jesus when He is on the point of dying. The thesis of a doctor friend helped me to understand what this phrase of the gospel means: ‘After 40 days, Jesus was hungry.’ When we fast, taking only water, we suffer for about three or four days, which is the time necessary for the sugar in the body to rebalance. Then hunger disappears thanks to the balance that appears when the body draws on its reserve of sugar in the muscles and the liver. After about 30 days, or 40 for the more robust, hunger reappears, meaning that all the reserves have been exhausted and that the person is going to die. It is the hunger of death. This temptation of the Devil saying he will change stones into bread amounts to asking Jesus to escape from death. It is the same temptation He heard on the day of His passion: ‘If you are the Son of God, descend from the cross!’ (Matthew 27:40).

“The second temptation is about our relationship to God. It relates to idolatry, that is, the way in which we move away from the Lord in order to serve our ambitions, our thirst for glory and recognition. Christ does not draw His glory from human vanities. His descent to the very lowest point of our humanity shows us where we should search for the glory that comes from God, the glory that has a value for eternity. On Palm Sunday, the crowds acclaim Him. At other times, the people want to make Him king, but Jesus steals away. He knows where true glory lies: ‘“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike’ (Matthew 11:25). The wise and the learned are those arrogant and pretentious men who believe they can do without God. Jesus on the cross is clad with the Glory of God, which is to love unto the end.

“The third temptation is about love. We always need to know just how far those who love us are capable of going because of that love. Tempting God is not having confidence in Him and putting Him to the test. Jesus will not tempt his Father, even in the paroxysm of anguish. At Gethsemane, at the heart of the most profound dereliction, Jesus will ask His Father to spare Him the horrible suffering of the cross. Yet He ends his prayer in trusting abandonment: ‘Still, not my will but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42).

“On this first Sunday of Lent, we see the fight that we must undertake. We are always required to choose life, but this life goes infinitely beyond its organic expression. This is why all life is sacred. If Jesus accepted to pass through death, He who is the Son of God, it is to show us that even in the most complete degradation, in the most fragile of lives, we must recognize the divine presence. After having chosen life, we must also choose the one who is its source: God. Lent allows us to put the Lord back into the center of our existence. It is a benediction. Let us not pass it by. At the end, we must make an act of faith, that is, of total confidence in the love of God which accompanies us everywhere and always, whatever the trials, in the joyful and in the sorrowful moments of our lives.

“The temptations of Jesus put us again face to face with essentials: life, God, love. They are the most terrible temptations that will always cut across our existence. In contemplating the Lord’s combat, we will strive to welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit which allows us to choose life, to adore God and to receive love so that we in turn can live thanks to it. The Resurrection of Jesus is His victory for our salvation.”

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Public school suspends Christian student for sharing Bible verses

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LEBANON, Ohio, March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― An Ohio teenager received an “in-school suspension” for having posted Bible verses around her school early this month.

Gabby Helsinger of Lebanon High School was inspired by the LGBT Pride flag posters posted up around her school to write out some Bible verses to do some messaging of her own. She stuck them on lockers and walls, only to find teachers taking them down.

In a video published by her mother Tina on Facebook, Gabby explained what happened next.

“The next day, I got called to the office and there is a letter that says that I have an ISS, which is an in-school suspension, and the reason why I have it is because ‘abuse of others, disrespect, rudeness’ because I put Bible verses up ‘targeting the GSA organization.’”

Gabby told viewers that she didn’t know what the “GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) was or meant.”

She had noticed, however, people in her school who she thought were in need of help that such an organization could not provide.

“They don’t need to be living in the confusion of wondering if they should be gay, bi, lesbian, trans — anything like that,” she said. “And I know that God is the only way that they can be healed [of] that.”

Gabby said this is why she posted the Bible verses.

“I was not targeting any kind of organization or anything like that,” she asserted.  

When she was called to the office, she explained to a school authority that she had wanted to spread the Word of God.

Gabby told the official that she didn’t believe she needed permission to post the verses, as students often stick post-it notes on lockers. She also pointed out a double standard in school: one for Christians, one for LGBT activists.

“I asked him why whenever anything to do with God or Jesus ... gets brought up, it gets taken down right away, but we can put up gay and Pride stuff all over the school and not have to take it down,” she recalled.

Gabby also intimated that students at her school could talk about LGBT philosophy with more freedom than they could talk about God.

“When you talk about God or Jesus, you just get put down, and you’re not allowed to talk about it,” she reported.

Gabby said that although there are faith-based clubs at Lebanon High School who pray by the school flag every Wednesday morning, they don’t have the same institutional backing as “the gay club”: unlike the Christian clubs, it appears in the school’s monthly news video.

In a message posted below Gabby’s video testimony, Tina Helsinger stated that she had challenged the punishment, saying “Posting a Bible verse is not abuse of others, disrespect/insolence/rudeness and in no way was it targeting GSA.”

But according to Tina, Principal Scott Butler said that Gabby was targeting the GSA and therefore had to report for her in-school suspension.

Faithwire has reported that Lebanon City School Superintendent Todd Yohey told them that “the school’s Student Code of Conduct does not prohibit the sharing or posting of religious text or imagery on school grounds.”

The Helsingers have asked the public to support them in protesting Gabby’s suspension, adding to the Facebook testimony that “Lebanon schools [celebrate] evil and punish[] righteousness.”

“If you feel she is being unjustly punished please flood emails and calls to the Principal and Assistant Principal if Lebanon High School,” Tina added. “Their email addresses and phone numbers are below!”

[email protected]

[email protected]

LifeSiteNews has reached out to Vice Principal Butch Ferrero by email and telephone, but he had not responded by the time we published. Gabby’s suspension was scheduled for yesterday.

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AWESOME! Hundreds flock to see underwater crucifix in Lake Michigan

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By Stephen Kokx

PETOSKEY, Michigan, March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Northern Michigan is best known for its beautiful trees, shimmering lakes, and gorgeous sand dunes. What the region is not as well recognized for is being home to some of the most unique crucifixes in America.

In the small town of Indian River, located 30 miles south of the state’s Upper Peninsula, stands the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods. Erected in 1959, the giant, 55-foot tall, 7-ton crucifix that acts as the Shrine’s centerpiece is the largest crucifix in the world. An estimated 300,000 people visit the site each year, which was declared a shrine by the U.S. Bishops Conference in September 2006.

In the nearby vacation destination of Petoskey, there exists another out of the ordinary crucifix. But instead of soaring to the sky, this one rests 22 feet below the surface of Lake Michigan.

This past Saturday, March 9, approximately 600 sightseers lined up to walk out onto the frozen water to peer through a hole carved in the ice so they could catch a glimpse of an 11-foot, 1,850-pound marble crucifix submerged at the bottom of Little Traverse Bay since the 1960s.

How did the crucifix arrive at that strange location? According to Inside Edition, a family living in a town on Michigan’s east side lost their 15-year-old son to a farming accident in 1956. They were so grieved over his death they commissioned a $2,500 crucifix to be made in Italy. When it arrived in the U.S. damaged, they refused it. A local diving club member purchased the crucifix and had it placed at the bottom of Little Traverse Bay in 1962 in remembrance of a diver who drowned. It has been there ever since and acts as a memorial for all who have perished in Michigan’s Great Lakes.

In 1985, the crucifix was moved closer inland and a year later its first public viewing was held. In 2015, the last time weather conditions permitted the typically annual event to occur, a record crowd of more than 2,000 people showed up.

WPBN reported that some of this year’s visitors traveled as far as Texas and Alaska. Jesus’ body on the cross is 5 feet tall and is missing its right arm. Several commemorative plaques have been placed around the crucifix. Divers in the area take care of and clean the crucifix on a regular basis.

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Petition demands Marvel Studios scrap ‘gay’ superhero

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By Martin Barillas

Tell Marvel that children are not 'ready' for LGBT superheroes. Sign the petition here.

March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A petition launched today by LifeSiteNews is demanding that Marvel Studios not indoctrinate children with homosexual ideology by rumoredly introducing a homosexual main character in an upcoming superhero film. 

On March 7, Marvel chief of production Victoria Alonso told Variety magazine, “The world is ready” for an “LGBT superhero.” She averred at the premiere of “Captain Marvel” that Marvel Studios is committed to “diversity.” Studio president Kevin Feige said in an interview with ET that the idea was "percolating" at the Studios. Earlier, “That Hashtag Show” website reported rumors that an “openly gay” man will be cast as the lead character in Marvel Studios’ 2020 superhero movie "The Eternals."

Directed at Alonso and Feige, the petition objects to Marvel’s bid to impose a politically correct, homosexual theme in “The Eternals” movie. Saying that children and their parents don’t expect to be indoctrinated with LGBT propaganda by Marvel films, it called on the multimillion-dollar producer of films like “‘The Avengers” and “Spider-Man” to “let children be children” and instead lead them into a fantastic world where superheroes can “save the world, irrespective of sex.”

"For all kinds of reasons, this is wrong, and I will go out of my way to tell all of the parents I know about this, if it comes to pass," states the petition, which has already been signed by almost 5,000 people in less than 12 hours. 

Noting that the homosexual lifestyle has proved to be dangerous, including physical and mental health issues, the petition recalls the words of the fictional Ben Parker, who tells the future Spider-Man “with great power comes great responsibility,” and asks Marvel Studios to be responsible and refrain from sexualizing children and teenagers.

“But, regarding the practice of homosexuality, the real world offers a much harder lesson, based in reality … specifically, a far higher incidence of serious physical and mental health problems among practising homosexuals than among the general population,” the petition states. 

“We call on you to safeguard the impressionable minds of children,” the petition states, adding that the producers should scrap the idea of sexualizing the upcoming “The Eternals” by making a lead character out to be a homosexual.

The webpage for the LifeSiteNews petition features links to information from the CDC and other authorities about the real risks posed by homosexual behavior. For example, homosexual and bisexual men accounted for 67 percent of HIV cases in 2016.

A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed other significant risks among homosexual and bisexual men and women. The Health Hazards Of Homosexuality website noted that the JAMA study found that compared to heterosexuals, “Gay men were more likely to report severe psychological distress, heavy drinking and moderate smoking; Bisexual men were more likely to report severe psychological distress, heavy drinking and heavy smoking,” and lesbian and bisexual women reported multiple chronic conditions, including heavy drinking and smoking, as well as severe psychological distress.

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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin
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Kentucky passes bill banning abortions based on race, sex, disability. Gov. vows to defend it

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By Calvin Freiburger

FRANKFORT, March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Kentucky’s Senate voted Wednesday to pass legislation that would ban abortions driven by discrimination against certain characteristics of the preborn child, sending it to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk and setting the stage for another legal battle.

Introduced by Republican state Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty, House Bill 5 would ban any abortion sought on the basis of the baby’s race, sex, color, national origin, or disability. Abortionists would be required to certify they were unaware of any such motive before aborting. Violators would be guilty of a Class D felony (punishable by 1-5 years in prison), see their medical licenses revoked or suspended, and be potentially liable for civil damages.

The state House voted 67-25 to pass the bill last month, and now the Senate has passed it 32-4, CBS affiliate WKYT reports.

“All human life has intrinsic value,” Prunty declared. Last month she argued that the bill would simply extend to the preborn the “15 clauses that protect the sanctity of life and civil rights” in current law.

Also last month, University of Notre Dame developmental psychologist and public policy fellow Mary O’Callaghan testified before the House Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection that an estimated 70% of Down syndrome-diagnosed pregnancies end in abortion. “Make no mistake, preventing these children’s births through abortion is prenatal screening’s ultimate goal,” she warned.

The left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) quickly announced it would be suing to block the law from being enforced, with ACLU of Kentucky staff attorney Heather Gatnarek calling it a “thinly veiled effort of the Kentucky General Assembly to advance their anti-abortion agenda under the guise of an anti-discrimination bill” that “will do nothing to improve the lives of Kentuckians with disabilities.”

Bevin took to Twitter to respond to the ACLU with defiance. “Bring it!” he wrote. “Kentucky will always fight for life.”

Two days earlier, Bevin wrote an op-ed blasting Democrat Attorney General Andy Beshear for refusing to defend Kentucky’s previous pro-life laws from legal challenge, vowing that his own legal team will continue to “fight with all of our intellect, our talent, and our heart to defend the innocent.”

The battle between Kentucky and the ACLU may ultimately prove to be moot, as the law’s fate could be decided much sooner if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to hear arguments regarding a 2016 Indiana law that includes the same limits.

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Democrats introduce bill to force taxpayer-funded abortions

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of female Democrats in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have introduced legislation to fund elective abortions directly with taxpayer dollars through federal healthcare and insurance programs.

The Hyde Amendment is the language added to federal budgets every year that forbids most taxpayer dollars from funding abortions except for those in cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother’s life. While most Democrats grudgingly accept its yearly renewal and instead focus their efforts on defending federal funding to Planned Parenthood (through which taxpayers indirectly pay for abortions), pro-abortion activists have long dreamed of completely eliminating limits to abortion funding. On Tuesday, a group of Democrats re-introduced legislation to do just that.

Democrat Reps. Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, and Diana DeGette are leading the re-introduction of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act in the House of Representatives, with Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Patty Murray introducing it in the Senate, according to a press release on Lee’s website.

The text of 2019 version has not yet been published, so it remains to be seen whether it differs from previous sessions, but the version introduced last year requires the federal government to “ensure coverage for abortion care [sic] in public health insurance programs including Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program,” “ensure coverage for abortion care” in “its role as an employer or health plan sponsor” or “as a provider of health services.”

It also declares that federal, state, and local governments “shall not prohibit, restrict, or otherwise inhibit insurance coverage of abortion care by private health plans,” and expresses the “sense of Congress” that “restrictions on coverage of abortion care in the private insurance market must end.”

“[For] decades, conservative lawmakers have worked to whittle down that constitutionally-protected right to the point where it’s now effectively inaccessible for low-income women who rely on Medicaid, for female service members and for millions more women nationwide,” Duckworth said. “The Supreme Court didn’t protect these rights only for wealthy women, and they didn’t say only for women who live in certain states.”

Even if one accepts Roe v. Wade’s highly-criticized claim that the Constitution contains a “right” to abortion, the Constitution doesn’t generally require government to force some citizens to finance other citizens’ exercise of the rights it does protect, such as speech or bearing arms, and the U.S. Supreme Court has not found such an obligation for abortion.

The Hyde Amendment has been credited with saving more than two million babies since 1976, according to the March for Life Education & Defense Fund. In January, a Marist Institute poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus found that Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion 54 percent to 39 percent.

The EACH Woman Act has no chance of becoming law in the next two years, as Republicans hold a pro-life majority in the Senate and President Donald Trump would veto the bill if it somehow reached his desk. Yet its reintroduction this week serves as motivator for pro-abortion voters and a preview of what Democrats may do if they retake the Senate and White House in the 2020 elections.

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Sandmann attorney releases video on defamation suits against CNN, Washington Post

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By Calvin Freiburger

March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The law firm representing Covington Catholic High School junior Nicholas Sandmann has released a new video arguing that their defamation suits against CNN and the Washington Post are not merely to restore Sandmann’s good name, but to prevent the mainstream media from eroding America’s social fabric.

Immediately following January’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., the press erupted with claims that a video showed boys from the Kentucky religious school harassing Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist, outside the Lincoln Memorial. But additional extended video and firsthand accounts soon revealed that Phillips was the one who waded into the group waiting for its bus and decided to beat a drum inches from Sandmann’s face, while members of the Black Hebrew Israelites fringe group shouted racial taunts at the kids.

As additional video came to light many journalists and other public figures quickly deleted their snap condemnations of the students, and last month an independent investigation commissioned by the Diocese of Covington (which had initially condemned the boys) cleared the students of wrongdoing.

Yet some have tried to keep it alive and others have refused to unequivocally retract and apologize for their original claims. So attorneys representing the students have threatened to sue numerous media figures and Phillips himself for defamation, with Sandmann’s attorneys filing a $250 million lawsuit against the Post, and an even larger suit against CNN.

On Wednesday, the law firm representing Sandmann, L. Lin Wood, P.C., released a video manifesto on the significance of their suits.

The Post and CNN “recklessly spread lies about a minor to advance their own financial and political agendas,” the video says. “Despite raw video debunking the false narrative, the Post and CNN doubled down on their reckless lies.”

It plays video of a CNN contributor expressing outrage that Sandmann “clearly doesn’t blame himself” and “puts the blame on the adult,” and left-wing pundit Bill Maher saying, “I blame that f***ing kid; what a little prick.”

“How long will we allow these media giants to tear the fabric of our lives to further their own agendas?” the narrator asks. “Will they ever be held accountable?”

“Yes, they will,” it continues, declaring that with these lawsuits Sandmann is standing not just for himself but “for you...Nicholas and his legal team will not be stopped until these Goliath corporations are held accountable for their lack of journalistic integrity. Until then, no one's reputation is safe.”

“If you took the time to look at the full context of what happened that day, Nicholas Sandmann did absolutely nothing wrong,” attorney Lin Wood says in interview footage played at the end. “If they can get away with this against a 16-year-old boy, then we're all at risk. There has to be change.” The video closes with a #ReformOurMedia hashtag.

Last week, the Post issued an “editor’s note” acknowledging some inaccuracies in its original coverage, but without a formal retraction or apology. This attempt to “whitewash its wrongdoing” was “too little and too late,” Sandmann’s legal team responded. CNN has so far declined to comment.

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Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
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Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Democrats ‘comfortable ripping babies straight from a mother’s womb’

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration has no intention of softening its rhetoric about Democrats and their radical views on abortion, judging by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ latest denunciation of the party’s refusal to vote against infanticide.

During the Monday press briefing, Sanders was asked about a report alleging that President Donald Trump told a private meeting of Republican donors that “the Democrats hate Jewish people,” based on the party’s refusal to unequivocally sanction Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar for a series of anti-Semitic comments. Sanders refused to confirm or deny the quote, but it led to an exchange on the broader subject of Trump’s rhetoric.

“Do you think that the President has thought at all — going into this 2020 campaign — that the rhetoric just needs to be lowered, whether it’s talking about Democrats, the media, immigrants?” CNN’s Jim Acosta asked. “Or should we just plan on hearing the President use the same kind of language that we heard in 2016 and all through the first couple of years of this administration?”

“Look, I think that the real shame in all of this is that Democrats are perfectly capable of coming together and agreeing on the fact that they’re comfortable ripping babies straight from a mother’s womb or killing a baby after birth, but they have a hard time condemning the type of comments from Congresswoman Omar,” Sanders responded. “I think that is a great shame.”

Late last month, the U.S. Senate voted 53-44 in favor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would supplement existing law by specifically requiring abortionists to get infants born alive after failed abortions to hospitals. Despite clearing a simple majority, the vote fell short of the 60 votes necessary for the bill to overcome the current filibuster rules and pass.

All but three Democrats opposed the bill, including every senator currently seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. Republicans including President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have forcefully denounced Democrats for protecting infanticide, which is suspected to have contributed to a sudden ten-point spike in pro-life public opinion.

Democrats who control the U.S. House of Representatives have repeatedly blocked efforts to bring the anti-infanticide bill up for a vote.

“Last night on the floor, for the 17th time, we asked to bring up born-alive protection. For the 17th time, Democrats refused,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday.

In response, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and GOP Rep. Ann Wagner plan to file a discharge petition that can force a vote on the bill regardless of leaders’ opposition if it gets at least 218 signatures (a simple majority). When the House considered the same legislation in 2015, only five Democrats backed it, and the number of pro-life House Democrats has decreased since then.

Readers can click here to read, sign, and share LifeSiteNews’ petition urging the House to vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. At the time of this writing, the petition has amassed more than 13,000 signatures.

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Morris Dee Biography / Youtube screen grab
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Far-left law center that labels ‘hate’ groups fires founder, suggests workplace misconduct

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By Doug Mainwaring

MONTGOMERY, Alabama, March 14, 2019, LifeSiteNews – In a surprise move, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) — the left-leaning law center infamous for its anti-Christian bias and for labeling respected conservative organizations as “hate” groups  — announced that it has fired its founder. 

A press release issued by the SPLC suggested that misconduct in the workplace played a role in founder Morris Dee’s termination:

Effective yesterday, Morris Dees’ employment at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was terminated. As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world. When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.

Today we announced a number of immediate, concrete next steps we’re taking, including bringing in an outside organization to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices, to ensure that our talented staff is working in the environment that they deserve – one in which all voices are heard and all staff members are respected.

The SPLC is deeply committed to having a workplace that reflects the values it espouses – truth, justice, equity and inclusion, and we believe the steps we have taken today reaffirm that commitment.

According to the Associated Press (AP), Founder Morris Dees would only say that his departure from the SPLC “involved a personnel issue.”

Although the SPLC’s mission is ostensibly to be a watchdog for “hate” group activity in the United States, in practice it serves to diminish the influence of conservative and Christian enterprises, if not to crush them.

Social media giants rely on SPLC nearly exclusively in order to determine what messages and groups to ban from their sites, while corporations turn to SPLC to judge what organizations to do business with.  The result has been that more and more, conservative and Christian voices are being driven out of the public square. 

The SPLC was founded in 1971 by Dees, an Alabama attorney, and another attorney, and Joe Levin, and civil rights activist Julian Bond became its first president.   

While the group initially targeted white supremacist groups, its mission expanded to combat any group considered by progressives to not be politically correct.  As such, the SPLC has become a great protector of abortion rights, and the ever-expanding agendas of the LGBT+ movements.  

Its designation of pro-life and pro-family groups as “hate groups” has triggered violence, including the 2013 attack of a gunman who opened fire in the lobby of the Family Research Council (FRC) Washington DC headquarters because he viewed FRC as anti-gay. 

Last summer, 48 conservative organizations joined forces to call on governments, corporations, and media to cut ties with the SPLC. 

Last June the organization was forced to pay $3.4 million in a defamation suit brought by an organization it falsely labeled as “anti-Muslim extremists." The news of the settlement and SPLC's public apology made as many as 60 organizations labeled by SPLC as "haters" consider legal action of their own. 

Despite this, the organization’s influence continues to grow. 

In order to expand its influence on American culture, the SPLC has established the SPLC Action Fund, which will enable it to play a greater role in U.S. elections. In recent years the SPLC has amassed more than a half billion dollars in assets, with a reported $121 million warchest tucked away in offshore accounts, allowing the SPLC to use its Political Action arm to perhaps become a dominant force in in American politics. 

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Robert 'Beto' O'Rourke
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‘Beto’ O’Rourke joins crowded field of pro-abortion Democrat presidential contenders

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By Martin Barillas

DES MOINES, Iowa, March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Failed pro-abortion U.S. Senate candidate Robert “Beto” O'Rourke joined a crowded field of Democrats contending for the presidency this week, telling Vanity Fair, “I’m just born to do this.”

Almost unknown nationally after serving a quiet career in the U.S. House representing a district near El Paso, O’Rourke rose to prominence as media-savvy fundraiser. The 46-year-old failed in his effort to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, in 2018, but became the topic of an HBO documentary.

O’Rourke has a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and a zero percent rating from National Right to Life. Family Research Council Action also gave O’Rourke very low ratings during his time in the U.S. House.

In addition to being pro-abortion, O’Rourke has praised socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” saying he hasn’t “seen anything better that addresses this singular crisis we face – a crisis that could, at its worst, lead to extinction.”

In a video announcement on Thursday, O’Rourke said, “this is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us,” referring to what he called “interconnected crises” in the economy, democracy, and climate. “In other words, this moment of peril produces perhaps the greatest moment of promise for this country and for everyone inside of it.”

Responding at the White House, President Donald Trump said of O’Rourke that he had never seen “so much hand movement.”

“I said, ‘Is he crazy or is that just the way he acts?’” Trump continued. “I’ve actually never seen anything quite like it.”

“Study it – I’m sure you’ll agree,” he told reporters.

In 2011, as an El Paso City Councilman, O’Rourke berated a Catholic priest who was arguing against same-sex “marriage.” He criticized the priest for the “moral failings of the Church you represent, especially as you try to take the moral high-ground in this debate.”

“Luckily, I don't need your approval to move forward,” O'Rourke said at the time. “I want to know why this, for you, has become the burning issue of its day, and how you can stand here with a straight face and say that this is a priority for the Church.”

“I can think of two obvious cases where the Church has failed on a global level. For one, I know in the very recent past, the Pope, our current Pope, was in Africa, telling the people in that country [sic] who are suffering a holocaust of HIV and AIDS infection, not to use condoms,” he continued. “I can think of another very significant and serious problem within the Catholic Church, which is the proven widespread abuse of children within the care of the Catholic Church.”

O’Rourke has said his mother, who apparently is “pro-life,” shares his support for abortion giant Planned Parenthood and that her “single greatest disappointment” is that “her son is not more faithful in attending Mass every Sunday.”

O’Rourke’s views on abortion and homosexuality match those of every other Democrat who has announced he or she will seek the party’s 2020 nomination.

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How you can play a part in truth-filled Catholic news

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By John-Henry Westen

Millions of readers around the world come to our site every week to find the truth. They want the stories that mainstream media completely ignores, and they want to understand how to discuss these stories within their social circles. Of crucial importance in our current time is the sexual abuse crisis the Catholic Church faces. Catholics from all across the globe are seeking out our news in order to get the stories that bishops and others in the hierarchy just won’t tell.

Thanks to the LifeSite giving family, we are independent from Church hierarchy and are able to provide a news service you know you can trust. This is YOUR opportunity to make possible professional news coverage for the sake of the Faith, the unborn, marriage, and freedom.

Without your support, we cannot reach as many faithful Catholics as we need to transform our our Holy Mother and cleanse her of the rot which has infiltrated her for far too long. Together we can have a powerful impact.

Will you join us with a gift today?

Please take a look at this video to see how LifeSiteNews is demanding accountability and representing the voice of the faithful.

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Aborted babies are still being used in today’s vaccine production: Expert

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The “sordid history” of vaccine production using aborted babies began with the eugenics movement and has become a billion-dollar industry that threatens parents’ rights and fills the pockets of pharmaceutical companies and abortion providers, a leading advocate for ethical vaccines has said.

Speaking to a packed hall in Rome on March 13, Debi Vinnedge revealed this “horrific history,” which dates back to eugenicists like Planned Parenthood foundress, Margaret Sanger. Vinnedge separated myth from fact with documentation from the scientists involved in this research, and explained why aborted babies are still being used in vaccine production today. 

LifeSite spoke with Vinnedge, founder of “Children of God for Life,” ahead of the Rome conference sponsored by Renovatio 21. In our interview, Vinnedge briefly sketches the history of vaccine research using aborted fetuses, including the “barbaric” practice of ensuring babies were aborted alive so that their organs might be harvested without anesthetic.   

Speaking to the legality of aborted fetal research, Vinnedge also explains that it has been “federally funded in the United States since 1993, when President Clinton signed it into law after intense lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry.”

“There is a huge market worth billions of dollars due to the creation of patents, sale of the cell lines by companies that actually store and resell aborted fetal material,” Vinnedge said. 

The founder of “Children of God for Life” pointed out that such research and vaccine production is filling the pockets of “universities, biotech companies, the pharmaceutical industry and of course, Planned Parenthood who was caught in an undercover sting discussing how they ensure obtaining intact organs for sale.” 

“Even the medical profession and our Catholic Church” is unaware of the “horrific history of forced abortions involved in vaccine research and thousands more that led to the ultimate final production,” Vinnedge said. “The truth needs to be made known about this sordid history and it is my goal to see that is done, and ultimately to put an end to this barbaric practice.” 

Vinnedge explained further that a “major roadblock” to “making progress to stop this injustice” is “the tacit approval of using the aborted fetal vaccines when there is no alternative.” 

In fact, as recently as 2017 the Pontifical Academy for Life — under the leadership of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia — made a disturbing shift in support of aborted fetal vaccines, on the grounds that “in the past vaccines may have been prepared from cells from aborted human fetuses,” but today “the cell lines used are very distant from the original abortions.”

“Until our physicians and clergy leaders unite worldwide demanding the moral alternatives, the pharmaceutical industry is not going to change,” Vinnedge insists. “In fact, as history and the current trends are proving, it’s only going to get worse.”     

Here below is LifeSite’s interview with Debi Vinnedge and a video of her presentation at the March 13 conference sponsored by Renovatio 21, under the theme: “Faith, Science and Conscience: using aborted fetuses for pharmaceutical production.”  

LifeSiteNews (LSN): Debi, what personally led you to found ‘Children of God for Life’?

Debi Vinnedge (DB): I have always been pro-life but in 1999 when I read about proposed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research I was deeply disturbed. And I was even more upset to learn that none of my prolife friends had ever heard of this, nor did they even know what a stem cell was.  Back then, there just wasn’t much information available and so, with the help of Richard Doerflinger who was then at the USCCB prolife office, and members of the Catholic Medical Association, I began to educate the public and massive protest campaigns began. When the Clinton administration tabled the idea a couple of months later, I was happy and thought my work was over. But within weeks I learned about the use of aborted fetal cells in vaccines and medicines and I knew God had a plan and my work was cut out for me. Children of God for Life was founded with the sole purpose of educating the public and putting an end to this gross exploitation of our unborn.

LSN: There is considerable debate surrounding vaccines. Some people are completely against vaccines, others are completely for them, while still others are somewhere in the middle. What is your general position on vaccines? 

DB: I believe the decision about whether to vaccinate or not lies solely with the parents. Children are a gift from God to the parents. They are not owned by the State, nor should the State try to make their medical decisions. One thing I have learned over the past 20 years is that children are not like cattle. All children develop differently and have different needs. Without question, vaccines can and have caused serious adverse reactions and deaths as evidenced by our own government payout of nearly $4 billion to the families of vaccine damaged children. Certainly not all children have these reactions, but one cannot deny the fact that they exist. I find it utterly disgusting when parents are ridiculed and persecuted simply because they do not want to risk the vaccines — either for medical or moral reasons.

LSN: In your presentation, you discuss some of the history of experimentation with aborted fetuses, and how this led to using aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines. Can you share with our readers the main points of this history? 

DB: This is probably one of the most shameful eras in the history of our country dating back over 100 years to a time when the eugenics movement became widespread under people like Harry Laughlin and Margaret Sanger. People with any type of handicap and unfortunately, women who were unwed mothers were deemed “feeble-minded” and “unfit to breed.” They force-sterilized these women and in many of these women, they also force-aborted their babies. At the same time, there was a worldwide polio epidemic and scientists began working on producing a polio vaccine. In the 1930s they openly admit to using these aborted fetuses in their polio vaccine research.

In one such science publication the researcher noted that “In many cases the (fetuses’) hearts were still beating at time of receipt in the polio research labs.” This is absolutely unconscionable! What they were trying to do is create what is known as a “cell line” for culturing the polio virus. To explain, viruses grow well on various types of tissues — both human and animal as well as other culture mediums. So in order to produce thousands of doses, scientists established cell lines taken from various tissues in several organs such as heart, thymus, retinal and lung. They culture the cells from the tissue in the labs and once there is a healthy stable growth, this is now a cell line that can be frozen and then reconstituted and used over and over in the future. But, just as all humans have finite lifespans, so do the normal human cells used in vaccines. Most of the vaccines today that use aborted fetal cell lines were derived from the aborted babies’ lung tissue.

LSN: How widespread is research on aborted fetuses today? And how are aborted fetal cell lines being used today? Are there particular vaccines that contain them? How can parents inform themselves about which vaccines are safe and ethical and which are not?

DB: Because of the finite lifespan of these cell lines which Leonard Hayflick discovered in his research on cell senescence, scientists have developed more and more aborted fetal cell lines to replace the current WI-38 (Wistar Institute, specimen number 38) and MRC-5 (Medical Research Council, specimen number 5) which were created over 50 years ago. The newest to be introduced by China is WALVAX 2 – from a 3 month gestation female baby lung tissue, the 9th abortion that was part of their research.  It is intended to replace these two cell lines. In addition, there are several vaccines and medicines using other aborted fetal cell lines such as PER C6, HEK-293, IMR-90, IMR-91, WI-26 and lambda hE.1. But unless one reads the package insert or in some cases, the actual patents, they would have no way of knowing and doctors do not give that information prior to vaccination. Children of God for Life keeps an updated list on our website that can be viewed here— or from the home page click on the "Vaccine" tab, then "Vaccine Chart."

LSN: Is the US government supporting it? And does US law require that parents be informed of what vaccines contain? 

DB: Aborted fetal research has been federally funded in the US since 1993 when President Clinton signed it into law after intense lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry. And while right now, there is no legal obligation for physicians to advise parents, many prolife doctors do!  In addition, there is legislation pending in at least one state – Illinois, HB0342 that would require vaccine recipients to be fully informed.  See the proposed bill here

LSN: Who is profiting from the use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines and more broadly by aborted fetal research?

DB: Universities, biotech companies, the pharmaceutical industry and of course, Planned Parenthood who was caught in an undercover sting discussing how they ensure obtaining intact organs for sale. And one university in Washington reported fulfilling over 4,400 fetal material requests in just one year! There is a huge market worth billions of dollars due to the creation of patents and sale of the cell lines by companies that actually store and resell aborted fetal material.  A quick browse through companies such as Coriell Cell Repository and American Type Cell Culture provides the cell lines, the source, the gestation of the baby and more.  

LSN: In your presentation, you talk about the need to separate myth from fact in the discussion on vaccines? What are the main myths out there? And what are the facts?

DB: Unfortunately, misinformation is widespread but here are the most common misconceptions and the actual facts:

MYTH: “The abortions were not done with intention of vaccines…”

FACT: Documentation from the researchers themselves clearly show their direct involvement and intent for over 100 years.

MYTH: “Descendant cells are not part of the original aborted fetus…”

FACT: The DNA is intact and identical to first cells harvested. If not, FDA and WHO would require a test each time cells were used. By its very definition, these are human diploid cells that contain the DNA from both parents – they do not morph into anything else over time. 

MYTH: “It was only a couple of abortions from the past …”

FACT: Hundreds of abortions were performed before perfecting cell lines.

MYTH: “No further abortions are needed now or in the future…”

FACT: New aborted fetal cell lines — thousands of new abortions

LSN: What is the message you want people to take away from your presentation?

DB: There is a great deal of information in my presentation that even the medical profession and our Catholic Church is not aware of, especially regarding the horrific history of forced abortions involved in vaccine research and thousands more that led to the ultimate final production. It never ceases to amaze me when some of the myths I mentioned before have been taken as fact, especially the number of abortions and direct participation by the pharmaceutical industry in the research. To give you an example, years ago when we wrote to Merck to ask them to produce moral alternatives to the aborted fetal vaccines, they stated they had nothing to do with the original aborted fetal research. Yet in one of Leonard Hayflick’s published science papers in which he was describing his work with the aborted fetuses to produce a cell line, at the end he gives grateful acknowledgment to Dr. Anthony Girardi, Merck Research Institute for his help. The truth needs to be made known about this sordid history and it is my goal to see that is done, and ultimately to put an end to this barbaric practice.

LSN: What advice would you give new parents to help them navigate the issue of vaccines?

DB: Talk to their doctor about their concerns with the vaccines and the possible use of moral alternatives for at least some of the vaccines. For example, one of the first vaccines a baby will get is Pentacel which combines DTaP with Polio and HiB. That vaccine uses aborted fetal cells in the polio portion and there are moral options. Parents should ask their doctor for those alternatives and if he/she refuses to listen, find another doctor! Sometimes parents ask me if they should or should not use the vaccines if there is no moral option, but that is a question they need to take to God in prayer and then do whatever He puts in their heart.

LSN: Is there anything you wish to add?

DB: The tacit approval of using the aborted fetal vaccines when there is no alternative is a major roadblock to making any progress to stop this injustice.  Until our physicians and clergy leaders unite worldwide demanding the moral alternatives, the pharmaceutical industry is not going to change.  In fact, as history and the current trends are proving, it’s only going to get worse.  

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Tonya Callaghan, author of Homophobia in the Hallways: Heterosexism and Transphobia in Canadian Catholic Schools Twitter
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Lesbian prof: Church teaching makes Catholic schools ‘hotbeds of homophobia’

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By Lianne Laurence

CALGARY, Alberta, March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A lesbian and former Catholic school teacher has written a book claiming Alberta and Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools are “potential hotbeds for homophobia,” for which she appears to argue Catholic teaching is to blame.

Tonya Callaghan quit teaching in a Catholic school, where she allegedly suffered “homophobia” daily, after a homosexual student committed suicide. In an article for  The Conversation, Callaghan attributed that to homophobic bullying.

She then devoted herself to the research of “homophobia and transphobia” in Catholic schools, and “also to begin to question and understand how these phobias are institutionalized.”

Callaghan — now a University of Calgary assistant professor of education — discovered the problem is Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

Her book, Homophobia in the Hallways: Heterosexism and Transphobia in Canadian Catholic Schools, was published in December and documents that Catholic boards in Alberta and Ontario fired “lesbian and gay teachers because they married their same-sex partners,” “because they wanted to have children with their same-sex partners,” or because they were “transitioning from one gender to another.”

Such “recurring discrimination against sexual and gender minority groups could be due to the central contradiction within Catholic doctrine itself: the church’s teaching best summarized as ‘It’s OK to be gay, just don’t act on it,’ — a position some Catholics reject,” she explained.

“Where schools promote such contradictory messages associating respect and depravity with LGBTQ people, they have made Alberta and Ontario Catholic schools potential hotbeds for homophobia,” Callaghan wrote.

New Ways Ministry, a dissident group that seeks to change Catholic teaching on homosexuality, lauded Callaghan as a scholar whose work reveals “how involved the Church is in discrimination.” Her article from The Conversation was also reprinted in the National Post.

LGBT agenda pushed in Catholic schools

Alberta and Ontario governments arguably have already long been pushing the LGBT agenda into Catholic schools.

Both provinces compel Catholic schools by law to allow Gay/Straight Alliances (GSA) if a student requests one: Alberta’s Tories passed Bill 10 in 2015, and Ontario’s Liberals Bill 13 in 2012.

Bill 13 was implemented as part of Ontario’s 2009 Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, which mandated all Catholic and public school boards develop an equity policy, and recognize sexual orientation as grounds for non-discrimination, regardless of the board’s moral traditions on the subject.

GSAs are touted as clubs to combat bullying, but pro-family groups say they are venues for LGBT activists to promote homosexuality and transgenderism to impressionable students.

Alberta’s current NDP government went much further with Bill 24 in 2017, which bans schools from telling parents their child has joined a GSA. The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedom has challenged Bill 24 in court as unconstitutional.

More recently, Education Minister David Eggen ordered a review in December of the hiring contracts of Alberta’s 17 Catholic school boards after a former Catholic principal filed two human rights complaints against the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) – which Callaghan pointed to as further proof of her theory.

Barb Hamilton alleged during her 15 years with CCSD she was discriminated against because she was a lesbian, and had no choice but to resign, reported CTV at the time.

The CCSD has a contract clause stating teachers must “follow and model to others, both in and out of school, a lifestyle in harmony with the practices and beliefs of the Catholic Church,” it reported.

Eggen is “deeply concerned to learn that any school board was making their employees sign a document that says it is not OK to be gay. He believes that it is simply not acceptable in today’s Alberta,” his office told Grandin Media.

He wants to make sure such clauses are legal, Eggen told CTV.

“You can have attestations of faith, I mean, that’s one thing,” he said, “but to deny someone employment or termination based on sexuality or other factors is definitely not acceptable.”

A ministry spokesperson told LifeSiteNews she had no update on the review “at this point.”

Catholic schools protected by constitution

Eggen could have been taking a page from Callaghan’s book, though unlike her, he did not invoke the Charter.

“Using Catholic doctrine to fire LGBTQ teachers and to discriminate against queer students in Catholic schools violates Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the equality rights provision,” Callaghan contended.

“Shouldn’t publicly funded Catholic schools respect the law?”

But legal and educational experts counter Catholic schools are doing that.

Callaghan “seems to have overlooked the fact that schools under the BNA Act and Section 29 of the Charter of Rights are allowed to continue their own particular teaching in the schools,” Gwen Landolt of REAL Women of Canada told LifeSiteNews.

“She’s also overlooked the Charter Section 2 right of freedom of religion,” added lawyer Landolt.

“Legally, Catholic schools can teach the full faith and that includes human sexuality,” echoed Lou Iacobelli, chair of the Parental Rights in Education Defence Fund.

The Church teaches that “chastity is the remedy for same-sex attracted individuals since acting on those feelings is contrary to natural law,” and Catholics “are called to accept everyone with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“But only the unquestioned promotion and celebration of homosexuality is acceptable for those who identify as LGTBQ,” Iacobelli said.

“It’s time to stop the fake and political homophobic argument against Catholics and anyone else who doesn’t completely agree with normalizing homosexuality,” he added.

“Real diversity would include different views or it’s not diversity at all.”

Callaghan has “embarrassed” herself and her university, says Catholic lawyer Geoff Cauchi.

“The Catholic Church does not agree with these academics’ understanding of the term ‘homophobic,’ and it is breathtaking to see them take the position that their understanding of the term should be imposed on the Catholic community,” he told LifeSiteNews in an email.

“I’m amazed it did not dawn” on Callaghan “that the resistance of teachers and administrators at Catholic schools to the imposition of the LGBTQ political agenda at their schools and their efforts to maintain a genuine Catholic identity at their schools might have a legitimate constitutional and legal foundation,” said Cauchi.

If Callaghan and others “don’t like this fact, they have every right to lobby members of the public to create a groundswell of support to amend the Constitution to repeal the denominational rights of the Catholic community,” he added.

“But until any such amendment is passed, it is unethical and undemocratic for them to lobby MPPs and educrats to deliberately deny Catholics their denominational rights.”

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Fr. Larry Richards
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Fr. Larry Richards backpedals claim Church Militant sent him ‘death threats’

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By Lianne Laurence

DANA POINT, California, March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Celebrity priest Fr. Larry Richards has taken to Twitter to backpedal his allegation that Catholic media organization Church Militant threatened to “kill” him.

Richards made the claim at a January conference run by Legatus — an association of Catholic CEOs whose members include some of the most influential Catholics in America, LifeSiteNews’ Dorothy Cummings McLean reported Wednesday.

The 58-year-old popular priest issued a clarification Wednesday evening on Twitter, where he has 22,100 followers, but follows only one — Pope Francis.

“I was wrong in what I said about Church Militant - it was NO ONE in their LEADERSHIP who threatened me - it was one of their FOLLOWERS who called me on the phone and threatened me. I should have made that clear. We need to stop demonizing each other, I will stop first. Peace,” tweeted Richards on March 13.

Richards’ allegation came during a videotaped talk at the Legatus Summit on loving one’s enemies. 

“A couple of months ago I said something about Church Militant, and they threatened to kill me,” he said.  

“Literally,” added Richards. “I got death threats from a good Catholic organization that wanted me dead in God’s name.”

Church Militant has mixed feelings about Richards’ tweeted clarification, according to its Editor-in-chief of News, Christine Niles.

“While we appreciate the retraction from Fr. Larry Richards, his comments accusing Church Militant as an organization of threatening to kill him — which basically amounts to a crime — was made in a very public setting, at a public conference recorded on video, to a large audience, which was left with the impression that Church Militant was guilty of criminal conduct,” she told LifeSiteNews in an email.

“The very public nature of the defamation requires an equally public retraction. We aren’t sure a late-night tweet seen by a handful of individuals cuts it,” added Niles.

That was echoed on the Twitter thread under Richards’ retraction, although many expressed admiration for both Richards and Church Militant and urged reconciliation between the two parties.

“I hope that you offered a public apology on your radio show the Church Militant for this HUGE error,” tweeted Michael McGuirk.

“Father that's not enough & no matter who started it you & @Church_Militant have to finish it! Ask them for a public forum where you can express your concerns about their activities & they can respond & you can BOTH get wake up calls & mutually resolve to perform Christ's work!” tweeted OnTheSideOfTheAngels.

A parish priest of the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, Richards is a popular speaker, broadcaster, and founder of “The Reason For Our Hope Foundation.” He wrote Be a Man! Becoming the Man God Created You To Be, (Ignatius Press in 2009), and is completing a degree in Liturgy at the University of Notre Dame.

He also hosts EWTN Radio’s “Open Line” show every Thursday, and used this position to condemn Church Militant last September.

“Church Militant is not of God,” Richards said during a call-in show. “Stay away from Church Militant. I’m very clear about it. Church Militant is not of God.”

“It is from the devil himself,” he continued. “It brings division, division, division. Don’t ever listen to anything from Church Militant.”

According to Church Militant, EWTN removed the video after intense criticism.

Richards also criticized LifeSiteNews, Church Militant and the OnePeterFive website in a homily earlier that month, saying “...LifeSite – it’s not of God. It’s filled with anger. It’s filled with hate, and it’s filled with mistruth.”  


Celebrity priest Fr. Larry Richards alleges Church Militant sent him ‘death threats’

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Ohio Senate votes to ban abortions on babies with beating hearts

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By Calvin Freiburger

March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Ohio Senate voted Wednesday to pass legislation that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, moving the long-awaited measure one step closer to finally becoming law.

Senate Bill 23 is virtually identical to legislation unsuccessfully pushed last year, which would ban aborting any baby with a detectable heartbeat, except in cases of a physical threat to the mother. Preborn babies’ heartbeats can be detected around six weeks into pregnancy; violating physicians would face up to a year in prison.

The bill passed the chamber on a 19-13 vote, reports. It followed an 8-4 vote from the Senate Health Committee the day before, during which Democrat state Sen. Nickie Antonio tried and failed to add rape and incest exceptions.

During the floor debate the bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Kristina Roegner, criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s “viability” standard for abortion’s permissibility as a “moving target” subject to change based on medical advancements or the healthcare available to a particular woman, rather than any innate characteristics of the preborn child.

“We need a new standard,” she argued. “The heartbeat bill provides a sensible solution.”

The vote fell mostly along party lines, though GOP state Sens. John Eklund Matt Dolan, Nathan Manning, and Stephanie Kunze joined Democrats in opposing it. Eklund declared he couldn’t support it without rape or incest exceptions, because while in “every case” of abortion “the victim is innocent,” rape and incest leaves two victims and a “dilemma” he was “not altogether sure the legislature should be making for that mother.”

“How a human is conceived doesn’t make it any more or less human,” Roegner argued in response to calls for rape or incest exceptions.

Last December, the legislature came one vote short of overriding a veto by former Gov. John Kasich, who claimed the heartbeat bill was “contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion” and therefore wouldn’t be worth the cost of a drawn-out legal battle. Many pro-lifers note that nearly every pro-life law, no matter how modest, results in a legal battle.

The outgoing Kasich, a moderate Republican with a history of conflicting actions and statements on abortion, greatly angered Ohio pro-lifers at the time. But pro-lifers were emboldened by the election of the more conservative GOP Gov. Mike DeWine, who endorsed the heartbeat bill on the campaign trail and told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in January he will “absolutely” sign the law if it reaches his desk.

The Ohio House is all but certain to send the bill to DeWine’s desk. It passed overwhelmingly in the previous session, and the House currently has 60 Republicans to 38 Democrats.

Numerous states have introduced or enacted heartbeat bills over the past several months. They ban abortion much earlier than the “viability” standard set by Roe v. Wade, which some cite to claim the bills would waste time and money on a doomed legal battle. Their proponents, however, argue that their purpose is to force a Supreme Court review that could finally overturn the 1973 ruling, hope fueled by the speculation that President Donald Trump’s nominees to the high court are on their side.

“I think if you shy away from things just because there might be litigation we would not have seen the re-prioritization of the funds that we did a number of years ago that the 6th Circuit upheld yesterday,” Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof said, referring to the state’s victory Tuesday in a lawsuit sought by Planned Parenthood.

Also on Wednesday, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling on Congress to pass federal legislation that would require abortionists to get newborns to hospitals if born alive after failed abortions.

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How you can take a step to change the culture today

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By John-Henry Westen

I’m continually amazed at the response to our fundraising campaigns each and every time they roll around. Witnessing thousands of our readers step up to fund our mission is a sure sign that the movement to continue fighting for life, faith, and family is very much alive. We are always so encouraged by this - and as a reader of LifeSite, you should be too!

We're just a few days into the campaign and we've already raised just over $22,000 - but we still have $252,732 to go before March 29th.

Millions of readers around the world come to our site every week to find the truth. They want the stories the mainstream media completely ignores, and they want to understand how to discuss these stories within their social circles. You are the culture-changers. And because of the LifeSite giving family, we are independent and are able to provide a news service you know you can trust.

This is YOUR opportunity to make professional news coverage for the sake of the unborn, marriage, faith, and freedom a reality.

Without your support, we cannot reach as many culture-changers as we need to transform our culture. But together, we can have a powerful impact. Will you join us with a gift today?

Your donation to this spring fundraiser will enable us to:

  • Provide real-time, in-depth, on-the-ground coverage at the upcoming David Daleiden court case in San Francisco, international marches for life, and other stories which are often ignored by other media

  • Maintain our growing archive of 75,000+ news articles from the last 21 years, continue to publish 15-25 new stories each day, and successfully reach millions every single week

  • Spend hours, sometimes even days, interviewing officials, experts, and spokespeople to find the truth behind some of the most important events happening around the world

  • Provide insight into how pro-life and pro-family leaders are responding to the greatest issues of our time, and highlighting the great work they are doing, via our articles and our new podcast

At LifeSite, our goal is to create a movement of millions of well-informed pro-life and pro-family advocates around the world. We strive to equip them with the knowledge and the support they need to push back, stand strong in their beliefs, and CHANGE THE CULTURE!

I know you support this goal, and that’s why I feel confident asking for your help today.

To put it simply: If each person reading this would donate whatever they could (even just $10), we would surpass the goal! That’s all it would take!

If you’re not able to donate, we ask for you to support this work with prayer. Pray that we’re funded to continue this work, that God gives us direction in it daily, and that we may spread the truth to the ends of the earth.

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Cardinal Danneels in Rainbow vestments
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Dissident cardinal who covered up sex abuse dies. Pope praises him as ‘zealous pastor’

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By Claire Chretien
Pope Francis honored Cardinal Godfried Danneels (2nd from left) by letting him stand alongside the pope on the balcony on the night of his election on March 13, 2013.

March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Close papal collaborator Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who was caught on tape encouraging a sex abuse victim to remain silent and “acknowledge your own guilt,” has died at 85. The Pope has already issued praise for the deceased heterodox cardinal, calling him a “zealous pastor” who was “attentive to the challenges of the contemporary Church.”

“May God have mercy on his soul,” said John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief and co-founder of LifeSiteNews. “We pray Cardinal Danneels repented for his role in covering up sex abuse and advancing heterodoxy. We are praying for the repose of his soul,” he added.

Danneels, the former archbishop of Brussels, was the chairman of the Belgian bishops’ conference from 1979 to 2010.

He “served the Church with dedication, not only in his diocese, but also at the national level as president of the Conference of Bishops of Belgium, while being a member of various Roman dicasteries,” Pope Francis said in his telegram about the cardinal’s death.

Danneels appeared with Pope Francis on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica after his 2013 papal election. The Pope personally appointed Danneels to participate in both synods on the family, a role the pontiff acknowledged in his statement on Danneels’ death: “Cardinal Danneels also took an active role in various Synods of Bishops, including those of 2014 and 2015 on the family.”

Danneels had admitted to being part of a group of left-wing prelates, the “Saint Gallen mafia,” who successfully conspired to elect Pope Francis.

The Cardinal was caught on tape in 2010 discouraging a sex-abuse victim from reporting that he had been abused for 13 years by Bishop Roger Vangheluwe. The victim was Bishop Vangheluwe’s nephew. Upon the release of the tape, during which Danneels also told the victim to “ask for forgiveness,” Vangheluwe admitted the abuse and resigned.

“He has been called to God at this time of purification and of walking toward the Resurrection of the Lord. I ask Christ, victor over evil and death, to welcome him in His peace and joy,” the papal telegram continued. “As a pledge of comfort, I offer a special apostolic blessing to you and to the relatives of the deceased Cardinal, the pastors, the faithful and all those who will take part in the funeral.”

The telegram was sent to Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, Danneels’ liberal successor.

In 2013, Danneels called laws allowing same-sex “marriage” a “positive development.” A 2015 book alleges Danneels congratulated the Belgian government when it legalized same-sex “marriage.” In spite of Catholic teaching, the cardinal endorsed the use of condoms as protection from HIV/AIDs. According to two Belgian politicians, Danneels also tried to convince the king of Belgium to sign a bill legalizing abortion in 1990.

A Reuters report on Danneels’ death didn’t mention his sex abuse cover-up scandal, but noted he was a “strong liberal voice within the Roman Catholic Church.” The article called the prelate “a jovial and gifted preacher.”

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Tony Perkins Tony Perkins

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Democrats fight for kittens’ right to life after voting to kill born-alive babies

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By Tony Perkins

March 14, 2019 (Family Research Council) — What do cats have that newborn babies don't? Democrats' support. In one of the sickest ironies no one is talking about, Senate liberals picked this moment — 17 days after they voted to kill America's perfectly healthy infants — to fight for the humane treatment of kittens. Maybe the DNC's strategists are out to lunch, or maybe the Left really is this shameless, but I can't wait to see some of these politicians standing on debate platforms next year telling the American people that when it comes to protecting living things: We chose cats over kids.

For sponsors like Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the optics are nauseating. Here he is, arguing that America "must stop killing kittens," when, three weeks ago, he stood in the U.S. Capitol and agreed with 43 Democrats that human beings should be put down. "The USDA's decision to slaughter kittens after they are used in research is an archaic practice and horrific treatment, and we need to end it," Merkley said with a passion that he and his colleagues couldn't muster for a generation of perfectly healthy newborns. His Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now — or KITTEN — Act wouldn't stop the research, but it would keep the animals from being destroyed.

"The KITTEN Act will protect these innocent animals from being needlessly euthanized in government testing," Merkley told reporters, "and make sure that they can be adopted by loving families instead." Does he even hear himself? They should be treated and adopted? That's exactly what Americans have requested for living, breathing babies. Democrats said no. Killing a child is a "personal decision," they said, and Congress shouldn't get in the way. What a comfort for abortion survivors like Melissa Ohden to know that, given the choice, Democrats would save a stray cat over her.

"The fact that we need a piece of legislation to tell the federal government to stop killing kittens is ridiculous on its face," Congressman Brian Mast (R-Fla.) argued. But "ridiculous" doesn't begin to describe a party that tells America to back away from the tables of crying newborns while it rushes to the rescue of kittens instead. I suppose we should also tell firefighters when they run into burning houses to look for the pets first? After all, on the Democrats' sliding scale of "wantedness," shouldn't we find out how loved someone is before we decide if they're worth saving?

Meanwhile, as if legal infanticide isn't revolting enough, House Democrats have decided Americans should pay for it. In what's turning out to be a test for the most unpopular majority in history, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) chamber is pushing a bill that would force a country who overwhelmingly opposes late-term abortion to bankroll it — along with abortions in any trimester. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), another liberal who can't seem to take taxpayers' "No!" for an answer, is trying to overturn the Hyde amendment. "It's just important as we move forward that we pass legislation that honors women's reproductive health and their decisions," she said.

But what about honoring taxpayers — two-thirds of whom fiercely oppose the idea of financing the Left's killing machine? And that includes "pro-choicers." Although the bill doesn't stand a chance in the Senate, it could still make history. If Pelosi keeps up with the Left's tone-deafness and brings DeGette's bill up for the vote, it would be the first time the House has voted to overturn Hyde in history.

While House and Senate Democrats seem obsessed with taking lives, at least one court is helping states protect them. In what may turn out to be the ruling that turned the Supreme Court tide, the Sixth Circuit Court sided with Ohio in defunding Planned Parenthood. For three years, the Buckeyes have been fighting to redirect the $1.5 million for abortion providers to real health clinics. Buckeye leaders, including former Governor John Kasich, were sick of "using abortion providers as the face of state health care programs." A lower court said too bad. But 11 judges on the Sixth Circuit disagreed, insisting that Ohio's law doesn't violate the Constitution "because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions."

And while President Trump didn't have anything to do with the ruling, he had plenty to do with the people who made it. Four of the 11 judges who defended Ohio's law were appointed by this White House. If you're wondering how much this administration's commitment to nominations matters, this is proof. There are men and women on benches across America today who are literally saving lives because this president made the courts a priority. Thanks to Donald Trump, pro-lifers know better than anyone: you don't need Congress to win on life.

Published with permission from the Family Research Council.

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Troy Newman, a founding board member of the Center for Medical Progress, whose undercover work exposed Planned Parenthood's selling of babies' body parts.
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Leading US pro-life activist asks for prayers as he faces Planned Parenthood in court

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By Troy Newman

March 13, 2019 (Operation Rescue) – By now, I'm sure you know that for years, I have been the legal target of Planned Parenthood Federation of America — the devil incarnate.

Today, I'm sitting down with the devil and his team of high-powered attorneys, who are doing everything they can to try and break me.

I'll be in depositions all day for the Planned Parenthood v. Troy Newman, et al. RICO lawsuit, which stems from my work with the Center for Medical Progress.

We may have punched Goliath in the teeth, but Goliath and his brothers got backup, and they want revenge.

Planned Parenthood's highly paid gaggle of attorneys is going to do everything they can to try and break me, but I WILL NOT BE BROKEN!

It seems like getting sued by abortionists is my full-time job these days.

This lawsuit has been going on since 2015 and will probably keep going another decade with appeals.

My attorneys are doing an amazing job, but I'm facing an uphill battle in a leftist San Francisco court.

If the people running Planned Parenthood think they can break my willpower to destroy their death machine, then they are WRONG. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness!

I'll be locked in a room all day, forced to answer a thousand questions by the ghouls at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

They are charging me with "racketeering" for exposing their criminal scheme to sell babies by the pound.

Yes, that's right — I'm being charged because I was a founding board member of the Center for Medical Progress, the group who published the now infamous truth about Planned Parenthood's cash for baby body parts scheme.

The bigger the baby, the more money they get for the dead baby...yet, here I am, in court with the devil being accused of's insane!

Planned Parenthood's attorneys subpoenaed everything — my emails, my financial records, every single thing you could imagine — and now they're going to ask me a slew of crazy questions in court.

I've been spending a lot of time preparing for this deposition in a notoriously pro-abortion state.

But that doesn't mean I've relented in my fight against the abortion lobby.

Operation Rescue has been at the forefront of exposing Planned Parenthood and putting their affiliates out of business for decades, and I won't let any legal battles — even the biggest one of my LIFE — stop me from advancing this critical work.

Thank you, and God bless you!

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Cardinal Reinhard Marx Popow/ullstein bild via Getty Images
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‘Need for change’: Cdl. Marx says German bishops will revisit Catholic sexual teaching

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By Maike Hickson

March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Reinhard Marx signaled today that the Catholic Church in Germany is open to revisiting Catholic sexual teaching that prohibits contraception, cohabitation, and homosexual relationships.

During their March 11-14 spring assembly in Lingen, Germany, the German Bishops' Conference discussed possible causes and reasons for the current clerical sex abuse crisis in Germany. Invited speakers raised the idea of ordaining the so-called viri probati (morally proven men), as well as accepting contraception, cohabitation, homosexual relationships, as well as gender theory. 

The German bishops have now decided to further discuss these themes in a series of discussions which they call a “synodal path.”

Cardinal Marx – the President of the German Bishops' Conference and archbishop of Munich-Freising – gave a press conference today at the conclusion of the spring assembly. He pointed out that the German bishops dealt with the “systemic” problems related to the abuse crisis, something that “was not discussed in Rome” at the recent sex abuse summit. Here, it is about “dangers of a systemic nature.” As far as he knows, Marx added, “we are the only local Church that confronts this question now.” 

The press conference had been delayed because, as Marx revealed, only in the last thirty minutes of their gathering were the German bishops able to agree on starting a “synodal process” in Germany to discuss these matters further. For this, three discussion forums will be led by Bishop Felix Genn (on celibacy), Bishop Franz-Josef Bode (on sexual morality), and by Bishop Wiesemann (concerning questions of power and participation). In September, the first results are to be presented. This process is to be undertaken “together with the Central Committee of German Catholics” (ZdK), Cardinal Marx, who showed himself very content with the outcome of this spring assembly, explained. He later told the audience that he had quickly called Professor Thomas Sternberg, the head of the ZdK, in order to receive his commitment to collaborate. 

Sternberg is known for his promoting the idea of married priests, Communion for “remarried” divorcees, and other progressivist themes.

In explaining the proposed topics that will be further discussed by the German bishops, Cardinal Marx pointed out three aspects: the question of power, of celibacy, and of the Church's sexual morality.

“The question is permitted: does celibacy always have to be?” he explained and added that “the Catholic Church now already has married priests.” Marx also referred to one of the candid speakers during the Episcopal meeting, Professor Eberhard Schockenhoff, who has proposed a loosening of the Church's moral teaching, to include the acceptance of contraception, cohabitation, gender theory, and homosexual couples. Cardinal Marx sympathetically commented on the contribution of this speaker, saying that Schockenhoff “presented it [the debate about sexual morality] very well.” There is, he added, also “a need for discussion about the Catechism.” 

Schockenhoff had been earlier a participant at a controversial May 2015 Day of Study in Rome in preparation for the second Synod on the Family, which had been organized by, among others, the German Bishops' Conference.

Cardinal Marx explained during today's press conference that “the majority of the bishops” thought that there “is a need for change” with regard to the sexual morality of the Church. The German bishops unanimously agreed to start a “synodal process” at the end of which they might, said Marx, send a “letter to Rome, when there are points that we cannot clarify,” thereby introducing their themes to the Universal Church. He later added that, in former times, the German bishops had already seen the need for such a discussion – even sending, after their national Würzburg Synod in the 1970s, a set of questions to Rome – but that they did not then receive any answers from Rome. At the time, certain things could still not be discussed openly, he added, “because there one could have problems with Rome.” “But,” he concluded, “that time is now over.”

Cardinal Marx made it clear that there has taken place a “turning point” in the Church. “Things cannot continue anymore as they did,” he stated. 

During the spring assembly on March 13, one of the officially invited speakers, Professor Philipp Müller, proposed to discuss further the idea of ordaining the so-called viri probati, morally proven married men. According to his proposal (which he has worked on with a colleague of his, Professor Helmut Hoping), married men who are 50 years or older, could be ordained. He explicitly referred here also to statements made by Pope Francis, but admitted that even the Pope has not yet made a decision in this matter.

Professor Eberhard Schockenhoff, who also spoke on March 13 at the Spring Assembly of the German bishops, now proposes a complete overhaul of the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. After rejecting the fundamental traditional claims that sexuality is ordered toward procreation – and thus it being licit only between a man and a woman, and in a sacramental marriage – and that human nature has been wounded by original sin and thus needs authoritative moral guidance, the Freiburg theology professor proposes the following progressive points:

  • that sexuality and lust be regarded in their positive characteristics as helping people to “assure themselves of their identity,” thus they be regarded as a “end in itself,” without reference to procreation; “sexuality determines the whole existence of man,” Schockenhoff claims;
  • while also affirming the “social end of sexuality and its significance for the preservation of human society” with the help of procreation, nonetheless artificial contraception should be accepted: “family planning also with the help of artificial means of contraception are not an act against life (as insinuated by magisterial condemnations), but, rather a service to life.”
  • “self sex,” that is to say, masturbation, “can mean a responsible dealing with one's own sexuality”
  • “homosexual acts realize positive values of meaning [sic], inasmuch as they can be an expression of friendship, reliability, fidelity, and assistance in life.”
  • while a monogamous marriage is “the best biographical and institutional frame” for human sexuality, Schockenhoff sympathetically refers to a document from the Würzburg Synod which asks “whether a relationship of an unmarried couple – as long as their relationship is oriented toward duration and exclusivity – is not a modern form of clandestine marriage.” Schockenhoff states that such an approach could regard the sexual life of such couples “positively,” as long as they “do not damage anyone.” 
  • homosexual relationships are to be “unconditionally accepted” and their sexual activity should not “be morally disqualified.” 
  • the Church should “accept with an approving language that there are people who cannot fully identify themselves as being either of the male of the female sex.” It is not in every person that the clear sexual identification is to be found.
  • while Schockenhoff still says that the Church should “hold on to an understanding of marriage as an emotional-integral life partnership between a man and a woman,” he is eager to make sure that herewith, “homosexual and intersexual people, as well as transgender persons” are not to be unjustly “discriminated against.”
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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter


Why frequently receiving Holy Communion helps make sexual purity possible

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By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Young Catholics today—and not only young ones—are experiencing an unprecedented bombardment of sexual propaganda and carnal temptations. Sins of the flesh have always been with us since the fall of Adam, but never before have there been such a multitude and easy availability of impure images and so many provocations to indulge in sin without regard to spiritual health or even psychological and physical health.

If C.S. Lewis was right to say “chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues,” it follows that we may also say: “unchastity is the most popular of the world’s vices.” Our modern situation was described well in advance by Our Lady of Good Success, who appeared to Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres in Quito, Ecuador, from 1594 to 1634, and told her in great detail about a “spiritual catastrophe” that would occur in the Church “shortly after the middle of the twentieth century.” Among the many prophecies was this one:

The third reason for the lamp being extinguished is because of the spirit of impurity that will saturate the atmosphere in those times. Like a filthy ocean, it will inundate the streets, squares and public places with an astonishing liberty. There will be almost no virgin souls in the world.

In like manner, Our Lady appeared to St. Jacinta of Fátima several times between December 1919 and February 1920. One of the things she said should give us pause: “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” She also said: “Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much.”

In his book The Message of Our Lady of Fatima, Dom Augustine Marie, OSB, comments on these words:

“More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” Sr Lucia, the last living Fatima seer, said this refers primarily to sins against chastity, also called sins of impurity. The reason for this statement is not because sins against chastity are the most grievous sins, but [because they are] the most common and (as Sr Lucia stated) “because of conscience,” since sins of impurity are less likely to be repented of than other sins. Why? 1) because the sense of injustice committed, which is the primary stimulus to repent of one’s sins, is not strongly felt when engaging in them, with the exception of adultery; 2) there is a greater sense of shame when committing certain impure acts and hence greater difficulty confessing them in the sacrament of confession, or even repenting of them in one’s heart; 3) sexual activity of all kinds is presented by our post-Christian—even anti-Christian—popular culture as natural and good, and sexual abstinence is even taught to be unhealthy.

As Dom Augustine Marie explains, although unchastity, immodesty, and related vices of intemperance are not the worst sins in and of themselves, they are undoubtedly among the most common, especially in certain age groups, and they are still deadly to the soul and corrosive of society. Whether one goes to hell for unrepented murder or unrepented fornication, for thievery or masturbation, in either case one ends up in hell, a place of everlasting torment and darkness; and even if Dante is right to portray hell as consisting of circles of greater or lesser punishment depending on degrees of malice, all of the damned experience the pain of losing God and the pain of sensible fire forever. This is absolutely something we want to avoid at all costs, through honorable self-control, repentance when we fall, humble unshakable confidence in God’s mercy, and continual recourse to Confession and Communion.

In quo corrigit adolescentior viam suam? in custodiendo sermones tuos (Ps 118:9). In this verse, which some Bibles translate “How can a young man keep his way pure?,” King David—who had some issues of his own with sins of the flesh—asks a question as old as the hills. The new answer that Christianity brings is: Christ Himself. We cannot succeed in being chaste or pure without Jesus. There is no adequate secular substitute. No educational program, however well designed, will take His place and do His work.

Christ brings us countless gifts, but two are especially precious: the knowledge of the truth by which we must live and the Holy Eucharist that unites us to the very Lord who purifies us and saves us. We need to know the way, and we need the strength to follow it. How tragic it is to see people trying to live without any sense of what is inherently right and wrong, true and false! Without such a map and compass, one will surely get lost in the wilderness, a prey to wild beasts. But no less tragic is it to see those who, aware of right and wrong, true and false, still falter and fail because they have not life within them to live righteously. “He who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (1 Cor 6:17).

St. Cyril of Alexandria, a Father and Doctor of the Church, exclaims in one of his homilies:

If you feel the itch of intemperance, nourish yourself with the Flesh and Blood of Christ, who practiced heroic self-control during His earthly life, and you will become temperate. … If you feel scorched by the fever of impurity, go to the banquet of the angels; and the immaculate Flesh of Christ will make you pure and chaste.

Commenting on this passage in his marvelous book Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love, Fr. Stefano Manelli says:

When people wanted to know how it came about that St. Charles Borromeo managed to remain chaste and upright in the midst of other youths who were loose and frivolous, they discovered his secret was frequent Holy Communion. … St. Philip Neri, a priest thoroughly knowledgeable in the ways of young people, remarked: “Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to the Blessed Virgin are not simply the best way, but in fact are the only way to conserve purity. At the age of twenty, nothing but Communion can keep one’s heart pure. … Chastity is not possible without the Eucharist.”

The Eucharist is Jesus Himself—true God and true Man, the God who made us and sanctifies us, the Man who knows our weaknesses and heals them with His flesh. It is He who assures us: “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Lk 18:27). Let us again and again approach Him with fear and faith, to let the power of His presence work miracles in us.

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