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06-24-18: Pride photographer Shawn Goldberg takes selfie with Toronto mayor John Tory. Shawn Goldberg // Shutterstock.com
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Toronto mayor slips money into drag queen’s thong on Mother’s Day

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — John Tory, the mayor of Canada’s largest city and the father of four children, celebrated Mother’s Day by attending a drag queen brunch in the heart of city’s homosexual district.

Moreover, a video clip tweeted by Cosmin Dzsurdzsa, senior editor of the Post Millennial, shows Tory slipping a bill into the thong of a drag performer, who then sits on his lap while Tory laughs and rubs the drag queen’s back.

“John Tory doing whatever it takes to not be called a bigot in 2019,” tweeted Dzsurdzsa, who wrote in the Post Millennial he contacted the mayor’s office for a comment but did not hear back.

LifeSiteNews also contacted the mayor’s office asking why Tory chose to celebrate Mother’s Day at the Drag Queen Brunch at Toronto’s Glad Day Bookstore on Church Street but did not receive a response by deadline.

Glad Day Bookstore, which bills itself as Toronto’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore, tweeted Monday its appreciation for Tory’s patronage.

“thanks for the visit and the conversations - it's important to celebrate every kind of family, and nowhere does that better than our drag brunches!” the business tweeted.

Formerly a businessman and broadcaster, Tory was first elected Toronto mayor in 2014, when he defeated Doug Ford, who went on to be elected premier in a Progressive Conservative landslide last June, while Tory was re-elected mayor in October.

Before his successful career in municipal politics, Tory had a disastrous run as leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives, beginning with the September 2007 election, in which Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals were re-elected with a majority and Tory himself did not win a seat.

Tory stayed on as leader but resigned in January 2009 after losing a by-election in the traditionally safe Conservative riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.

“When you look at that video, you can understand why John Tory was such a terrible failure as a Conservative leader and why he has no support from any of the suburbs,” Gwen Landolt of REAL Women told LifeSiteNews.

“He could never get elected as a Conservative. He certainly wasn’t one. It’s pretty obvious he’s out of touch with the party,” said Landolt, adding that Tory’s behaviour at the drag queen brunch is “not anything that a moderate, reasonable person would find acceptable.”

That’s echoed by Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group, which red-lights Tory as pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQ.

“John Tory is the failed former leader of the Ontario PCs who alienated the party's base with his left-wing policies. Although Tory claims to be a ‘conservative’, he’s as liberal as can be on moral issues,” says the Campaign Life website, which notes that Tory routinely marches in Toronto’s “Gay Pride” parade.

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Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, October 14, 2016, Madrid, Spain. Carlos R. Alvarez/WireImage/GettyImages
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Top Vatican diplomat optimistic on China deal as persecution of Catholics continues

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By Martin Barillas

BEIJING, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The official English-language news service of China’s communist government proclaimed that Cardinal Pietro Parolin sees “positive developments” in bilateral relations and that Pope Francis sees China as a “great country.”

The interview with Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, was unprecedented for China and the Global Times, the official newspaper of the communist government. Parolin was interviewed by journalists Francesco Sisci and Zhang Yu. In the exchange, Parolin indicated what may be the intentions of the September 2018 agreement between the Holy See and Beijing, saying it is for “the benefit of the entire Chinese Catholic community, which I embrace fraternally — above all those who have suffered most and continue to suffer[.]"

Relations between the Holy See and China have been hampered by China’s persecution, torture, imprisonment, and murder of Christians and Catholic priests and prelates. To counter the influence of the Vatican, China created the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which is not in communion with the pope and appoints its own bishops and priests. Catholic clergy and laity who are faithful to the pope have operated in secret in what has been termed an Underground Church. The Chinese government has imprisoned those suspected of involvement in the Underground Church, as well as congregations of other Christians of so-called “house churches.”

Parolin responded to the journalists’ first question by saying there is “increased trust between the two sides.” The dialogue between the Catholic Church and China, Parolin said, flows from Pope Francis’s desire to avoid debating differences over their respective values. Parolin said that neither side would give up its identity or its respective purpose. He said the Holy See and China “are not discussing theories about their respective systems nor do they want to reopen questions which by now belong to history.” It is “practical solutions,” Parolin said, that the pope is seeking with regard to “the lives of real people who desire to practice their faith peacefully and offer a positive contribution to their own country.”

Parolin addressed the issue of Catholics who have criticized the deal reached by the Holy See and China. These “criticisms,” he said, “may arise in the Church or in China or from elsewhere.” It should come as no surprise, said Parolin, that criticism emerged “after such a long period of confrontation.” He urged respect to be shown to critics, saying “it seems to me human and Christian to show understanding, attention and respect for those who express such criticism.” However, he said that “criticisms which come from prejudiced positions and which seem to seek to preserve old geopolitical balances are another matter.” While Parolin said Pope Francis is “well aware” of recent events, the pontiff’s main interest in the dialogue is “on the pastoral level.” The pope, he said, is showing trust and respect for the people of China and is hoping for “an equally sincere and positive response.”

The Vatican’s top diplomat said, “Many questions still need to be addressed and we are facing them with willingness and determination." The Vatican is seeking, he said “enduring solutions, which are acceptable to, and respectful of all concerned.”

Later in the interview, Parolin asserted that the pontiff “sees China not only as a great country but also as a great culture, rich in history and wisdom.” The Holy See, Parolin said, hopes  China “will not be afraid to enter into dialogue with the wider world” and “will be able to overcome mistrust and build a more secure and prosperous world.”

Parolin echoed one of the pope’s themes about global issues, saying, “In the words of Pope Francis, we would say that only by being united can we overcome the globalization of indifference, working as creative artisans of peace and resolute promoters of fraternity.”

Regarding possible collaboration between the Holy See and China, Parolin said areas such as “peace, the fight against poverty … migration, the ethics of scientific development and the economic and social progress” are among those that could be addressed. However, he said the “dignity of the human person” and “fundamental rights” including “religious freedom” should be at the center of that collaboration.

Among the critics of the agreement reached by the Holy See and China are members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former archbishop of Hong Kong. Zen said the provisional agreement between the Holy See and China on the appointment of bishops is a mistake. The agreement, he said, is being used by the Chinese government to coerce underground Catholics to join the official Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Pope Francis, he said, “didn’t get anything from this agreement,” which “made him lose his authority.”

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Diocese allows school religious vaccine exemption for only non-Catholic families

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By Martin Barillas

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City has barred Catholic parents from exempting their schoolchildren from vaccines for “religious” reasons while making religious exemptions “still allowable for other Christian and religious groups.”

Citing the mandatory state policy for all schools in Missouri, which requires immunizations for all public and parochial school students, the Catholic School Office of the Jefferson City diocese released a statement to parents informing them of its new policy. Stating that it will be effective as of July 1, the statement asserted that the “Catholic Church supports immunization for the health of children and the common good of public health.” The new policy requires that all students must be immunized or in the process of being immunized in accordance with Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services regulations.

The statement affirmed that students are barred from the Catholic schools unless they are immunized or can provide a valid exemption from the rule. A medical exemption from the rule must be confirmed by a physician, while a religious exemption must be “confirmed by a statement from the family’s faith leader,” it read. It noted, however, in a move that some critics see as an undermining of parental rights, that “religious exemptions for Catholic families will not be accepted.”

Originally, all religious exemptions to the immunization were barred, according to an earlier statement from the Catholic School Office. In a subsequent letter to parents, the office wrote: “After sharing this policy, it became apparent that the policy could be perceived as infringing upon the religious beliefs of non-Catholic families. Certainly, this was not our intention.”

The policy is being criticized for discriminating against Catholics by not allowing them an exemption for religious reasons.

“They have decided that Catholics are the only people on planet Earth who may not receive a religious exemption to attend the Catholic schools in the Jefferson City Diocese. Why? Well, because.... they are Catholic,” commented one blogger.

There are many parents who refuse vaccines on religious grounds because of the vaccines’ connection to the abortion industry. Some vaccines are derived from cell lines obtained from aborted babies. The Catholic Faith opposes abortion.

A 2005 letter from the Pontifical Academy for Life stated that using morally tainted vaccines, such as those derived from cell lines of aborted babies, may be morally licit. However, once a person learns that a vaccine may be morally tainted, the letter stated that health care providers and vaccine-manufacturers should be advised of any objections to the use of the vaccine. Accordingly, parents may be justified in citing their objection to morally tainted vaccines being used to immunize their children, particularly when the vaccine is for an illness that is not substantially threatening, such as chickenpox.

Two particular fetal cell lines have been used extensively in vaccine development. One is known as WI-38, which was developed at the Wistar Institute in Pennsylvania, while the other is MRC-5, developed for the Medical Research Council in England. WI-38 was developed by using lung cells taken from a baby girl aborted at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy by a mother who felt she already had “too many children,” according to Dr. Stanley Plotkin, who developed a Rubella vaccine using WI-38. The MRC-5 cell line was developed from the lung tissue of a boy baby who was aborted at 14 weeks of gestation.

There exist a number of alternative vaccines approved by the federal government that are not derived from fetal cell lines. However, there are currently no FDA-approved alternatives for Adenovirus, Chickenpox, Hepatitis A, Measles, Mumps, or Rubella (German measles). A new version of the Adenovirus vaccine is currently approved for use only in military personnel. New vaccines are being developed for other diseases (e.g., Ebola) on the basis of aborted fetus cell lines.

In April, a judge in Kentucky denied a Catholic high school student’s request for a preliminary injunction to allow him to return to school despite being unvaccinated for chickenpox. The judge sided with the Northern Kentucky Health Department, which, in the midst of an outbreak of the disease, had required all students to be inoculated. The student in question was enrolled at Our Lady of Assumption Academy in Walton, Kentucky.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 75 new cases of measles were recorded in the U.S. in the last week. The total of 839 cases, according to the CDC, makes it the worst outbreak of the virus since 1994. Since May 10, there has been a 9.8% increase in measles cases across 23 states, which, according to health officials, is due to misinformation about the measles vaccine.

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Canonist: Open letter accusing pope of heresy ‘thought-provoking’ but ‘unconvincing’

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By Lianne Laurence

May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The open letter accusing Pope Francis of heresy is “thought-provoking” and “instructive” but ultimately “unconvincing,” says renowned American canonist Ed Peters.

The letter asks the world’s Catholic bishops to “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation” of a pope committing heresy, and its original 19 signatories — who include Dominican theologian Fr. Aidan Nichols, Professor John Rist, and Dr. Peter Kwasniewski — have burgeoned to 87 since its April 30 publication.

It’s also sparked wide-ranging responses in the Catholic world. Peters, who holds the Edmund Cdl. Szoka Chair at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, weighed in May 9 in the U.K.-based Catholic Herald.

While the authors have the right under Canon 212 §3 to publish their “contentious opinions,” the letter “stumbles in several crucial respects” in outlining a canonical case for heresy against the pope, Peters said. “Most seriously, it fails to grapple with the ‘principle of benignity’ in the interpretation of law and evidence.”

The principle that the accused in a criminal case be granted “the benefit of the doubt” is “fundamental to the Western legal tradition,” Peters said. And canon law has for centuries “expressly demanded that ‘in penal matters the more benign interpretation must be followed’ (Regula Iuris 49),” he noted.

That means one must “construe penal norms as narrowly as is reasonably possible (c 18) and judge the accused only and strictly in accord with law (c 221 §3).”

But the letter “consistently fails to appreciate, or even allude to, the principle of benignity as it impacts any penal matter, let alone one involving a pope,” said Peters.

Moreover, the assertion that several statements of Pope Francis are “heretical” as “understood in their most obvious sense” is “canonically irrelevant,” he observed.

According to “the principle of benignity, if an orthodox interpretation exists for an ambiguous theological assertion, that benign interpretation must be ascribed to the words of the accused,” he said.

“Heresy cases are not impossible under canon law, but they are, and are meant to be, very difficult,” Peters noted.

“As a brief against the pope for, say, chronic misuse of his office (c 1389, a crime for which a pope cannot be tried), I find the letter thought-provoking; as an admonition to His Holiness that his words and actions have attracted serious, unprecedented, negative attention, I find the text instructive,” he said.

“But as a canonical brief for a papal heresy case, I find it unconvincing.”

Peters pointed out the “principle of benignity” protects the letter’s signatories as well, and he rejected the view they can be punished for this action.

“The letter, though wrong-headed, can, and thus should, be taken in an ecclesially acceptable sense,” he said.

But Brian McCall, editor-in-chief of Catholic Family News and one of the original signatories of the letter, argues that the time to give Pope Francis the “benefit of the doubt” has passed.

The open letter outlines seven propositions that “appear to be held by the pope” that “appear to contradict the faith[.] … There seems to be enough evidence here that this is worthy of an investigation,” McCall said in a video interview with Matt Gaspers of Catholic Family News, a traditionalist Catholic newspaper associated with the late Fr. Nicholas Gruner.

Taken together, the propositions Pope Francis is alleged to hold are “really an underlying denial of the Catholic doctrine of justification,” which teaches that “following baptism and with the grace of God, it is possible to comply with the Commandments,” McCall said.

The pope’s understanding of justification seems to be “in many ways based on a Lutheran understanding” of this doctrine, he said.

Pope Leo X’s bull Exsurge Domine condemning Martin Luther as a heretic included Luther’s contention that Catholics could receive Holy Communion “without confession and proper preparation” (no. 15), observed McCall.

As to the letter accusing Pope Francis of heresy, “[t]here’s some who have have said, you know, you can’t really even make this accusation because many of the pope’s statements are ambiguous, and the principle of Catholic law is that you have to give the benefit of the doubt,” he said.

But the pope has in many cases “resolved the doubt” as to what he “really believes,” McCall contended.

The “strongest example” of this is Francis endorsing the letter by the bishops of Buenos Aires on Amoris Laetitia and ordering it be part of the “official acts of the magisterium,” he said. The Buenos Aires letter asserts that Catholics in marriages not recognized by the Church can receive Holy Communion in certain circumstances.

“He’s just eliminated the doubt,” McCall said. “So now we’re in a whole new world.”

The bishops, “if they act, need to confront” the pope, he said.

“That’s the whole point of confronting an accused heretic. To say, here’s what you’re supposed to believe: accept or deny,” said McCall.

“And hopefully, they’ll do that.”

Canonist Peters has written elsewhere that the “crucial question” from a canonist’s perspective is “who would determine whether a given pope has fallen into heresy,” a question he says canon law is silent about, but not canonical tradition.

Franz Wernz — a famed canonist who was elected as the superior general of the Jesuit order in 1906 — expressed that tradition in his work Ius Canonicum.

Wernz speculated that while no one on Earth can remove power from a pope since there is no higher office than “Roman pontiff” that is capable of passing such judgment, nevertheless, a general council could determine that a pope had committed heresy, and in doing so, had effectually cut himself off from the true vine, thereby forfeiting his office.

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Cardinal Claudio Hummes
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Cardinal keeps repeating ‘diversity,’ ‘new paths’ to come from Amazonian Synod

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

ROME, Italy, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The German-Brazilian cardinal appointed the relator general of the Amazonian Synod has emphasized that the Church will be asked to embrace “diversity” and novelties as a result of the October meeting.

According to the Catholic Herald, a relator general “is responsible for providing a comprehensive outline of (a) synod’s theme at the beginning of the meeting and for summarising the speeches of synod members before work begins on concrete proposals for the pope.”

In an interview with the editor of La Civiltà Cattolica magazine, Antonio Spadaro, SJ, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, 84, used the word “diversity” eight times to describe his vision of the unity of the Church.

In response to fears that the “upcoming synod might have repercussions on the unity of the Church,” Hummes said Church unity must welcome “diversity.”

“Today much is said about the unity of the Church,” Hummes stated. “It is of fundamental and utmost importance.”

“However, it has to be understood as a unity that welcomes diversity, following the model of the Most Holy Trinity,” the cardinal said.

“That is, it is equally necessary to highlight that unity can never destroy diversity. Concretely, the synod accentuates the diversity within that great unity. Diversity is the richness of unity, protecting it against becoming uniformity, against providing justifications to control.”

Hummes, who is the son of a German mother and German-Brazilian father, said Latin American diversity “has to be welcomed by the Church in Europe and the whole world without fear and with a great openness.”

The Catholic Church has existed in Latin America since the 16th century, but Hummes believes  the “Church of Latin America can bring new lights to the European Church and to the world, while the Church in Europe has to give us ancient lights, which are very important.”

‘One culture alone cannot exhaust the richness of the Gospel’

Curiously, Hummus concentrated only on “Europe” in his discussion of inculturation, ignoring the other influential, and more ancient, Catholic communities such as as those of Asia Minor and North Africa, where the celibate monastic movement was born in the third century AD. The cardinal also spoke of European culture as if it were a traditional monolith, not several different cultures with geographically unique Catholic devotions and traditions that do not contradict orthodox faith.

“Initially, Christianity found a place for inculturation in European culture, and this good process has remained valid up until today,” he told Spadaro.

“But that one act of inculturation does not suffice. The pope says that one culture alone cannot exhaust the richness of the Gospel. The Church does not wish to dominate other cultures, but respects that initial European inculturation,” he continued.

Hummus then said the Church has to “appreciate the diversity of cultures” that will enrich and not undermine it.

“Diversity does not attack the unity of the Church; it strengthens it,” he continued and proceeded to link diversity with future novelties.  

“It is important not to be afraid of these things. So if we speak among ourselves and manage to find new paths for the Church in Amazonia, this will be for the benefit of the whole Church,” Hummes said.

These “new paths” may include a change in the discipline regarding priestly celibacy and even include an entirely new way of thinking about the priesthood and sacramental ministry. Earlier this month, Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck, the head of the German bishops' Latin America commission, told reporters that the Amazonian Synod in Rome will lead to a “break” in the Church and that “nothing will be the same as as it was.”

Regarding the continuing mission to the indigenous people of the Amazon, Hummes said, “So often we worry about managing to transplant the European (sic) models of priesthood onto the indigenous priests. But someone has rightly noted that too much concern is given the profile of the ordained ministry, putting it before the community that receives it.”

The cardinal believes that some communities don’t need the “historical” model of the celibate male priest-missionary.

“Let us not spend ourselves defending a sort of historical figure that a minister has to align with, without possible variations, so that in this way the community must accept and keep it only because that is how we send it to them,” he said.  

“Yes, ministers are to be sent, but we have to know how to send them, in a way that respects the concrete community with its own specific needs. Ministers should be thought out starting from the community: from its culture, its history, its needs. This is what openness means.”

Changes made for the sake of ministry to the Amazonian countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and French Guyana will have “universal repercussions,” Hummes said, but the Synod will focus on the needs of Amazonia.

“It is clear that its entire process has and will have universal repercussions, but the synod has an aim that needs to be focused so not to remain generic,” he told Spadaro.

“Pope Francis was very clear on this: do not lose sight of the objection, which is Amazonia. ‘New paths for the Church’ means new paths for the Church in Amazonia …”

The Amazonian Synod will also focus on environmental concerns through the lens of Pope Francis’ new “integral ecology.” While discussing the relationship between Jesus Christ and the natural world, Hummes cited both the pontiff and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ.

“The most important aspect of integral ecology, (Francis) has said, is that God became definitively related to this earth in Jesus Christ,” Hummes explained, “and Jesus is the culminating point we are all journeying toward.”

Hummes said creation was not “made for us” and that its “final purpose is transcendent: it is God.”

“In fact, one day all of them, in a mysterious way, in the logic of the resurrection, will take part in the definitive Kingdom. God will not destroy his creation, but will transform it in an Easter sense,” the cardinal said.  

Cardinal Hummes is known to be a proponent of married priests. According to liberation theologian Leonardo Boff, the Brazilian cardinal requested permission for priests who had left  ministry and married to be allowed to return to active service. In 2014, he suggested that the Church might rethink its stance on female ordination.

Also in 2014, Hummes caused an uproar when he was asked if Jesus would be in favor of gay marriage if he “were alive (sic) today.” The cardinal replied, “I don’t know. I formulate no hypothesis on this.”

More recently, Hummes has dismissed the cardinals who issued the dubia concerning Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, saying in 2016, “We (other cardinals) are 200; they are only four.

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High Court Justice David Williams
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UK judge rules in favor of foster parents allowing 4-year-old boy’s gender transition

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LONDON, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A judge in the United Kingdom ruled that a couple may send their 4-year-old foster son to school in girl’s clothing after allowing him to identify as a girl.

High Court Justice David Williams of the Royal Courts of Justice in Westminster decreed that despite objections by social services of Lancashire County, which had argued that the unnamed couple had “acted in a precipitate manner in relation to perceived gender dysphoria,” the boy should not be removed from his parents’ care as had been requested by Lancashire council officials.

According to the Daily Mail, experts had given glowing reports about the parents and their parenting skills. However, school officials had expressly asked the parents to refrain from sending “H” in girls’ clothing.

The judge’s decision to sanction the gender transitioning of such a young child is believed to be unprecedented in the UK.

During a closed hearing in April, Justice Williams praised the “attuned and careful” foster parents, who requested the judgment be made public so that there would be no “cloud of suspicion hanging over them.” The boy was identified as “H” in court records.

According to Justice Williams, “Issues relating to gender identity and the medical understanding of such issues is complex and developing. Inevitably, there is some lag between those professionals at the cutting edge and others, in which I include myself, which might have played some role in how these proceedings came about.”

Experts testified in court that “H,” in their view, showed behavior “consistent with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.” They advised that they “provided clinical justification” for the parents to foster gender transitioning. Justice Williams found that “H” identified as a “content, alert and socially engaged little girl.” He determined that “H” was not harmed by a “complete transition into a female occurring at a very young age,” saying there was not evidence “it was actively encouraged rather than appropriately supported.”

According to court records, six-year-old “C” said his brother “H” was a “'boy when she was born.” However, he added, that “H” is “now a girl and would grow up to be a woman.”

According to the Spectator.co.uk, the foster couple had sent “H” to school in a girls’ uniform at age 3 and had allowed their biological son to do so at age seven. Also, a third foster child who had been in their care is reportedly showing “gender identity issues.” Altogether, the couple has two biological and three foster children.

The Spectator reported that expert witness was provided by Vickie Pasterski, a psychologist employed by the private London Transgender Clinic. While the number of patients attended by staff frome National Health Service of the UK does not increase staff income, private clinics such as the London Transgender Clinic appear to profit by increasing the number of patients served.

In late 2018, staff at the NHS Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at London’s Tavistock Clinic asserted that some cases of children claiming gender dysphoria had not been adequately assessed. Some patients agreed with senior staff about these concerns, leading to an investigation. In February 2019, the governor of the NHS trust who operated Tavistock resigned, having denounced its ”‘blinkered” attitude to the concerns.

Five former NHS clinicians who resigned from Tavistock allege that “life-changing medical intervention” for children and teens had been granted “without sufficient evidence of its long-term effects.” Some children, they said, were misdiagnosed as “transgender” because they had experienced same-sex sexual attractions.

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‘Gosnell’ star blasts Hollywood fury over Georgia heartbeat law: ‘Absolute joke’

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By Calvin Freiburger

May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — One of Hollywood’s most prominent dissenters from left-wing orthodoxy spoke out about many of his fellow actors’ protests against Georgia’s newly enacted law banning abortion once a heartbeat can be detected, taking aim at the entertainment industry’s pretense of moral superiority.

House Bill 481 forbids abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected except in cases of rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile.” If allowed to take effect, it will ban abortions in all other cases as early as six weeks into a pregnancy starting in January 2020. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed it into law on Tuesday, declaring Georgia a “state that values life” and “stand[s] up for those who are unable to speak for themselves."

While the bill made its way through the legislature, dozens of celebrities and several Hollywood institutions such as the Writers Guild of America threatened to boycott the state if the ban was signed. The film industry has generated considerable jobs and revenue for Georgia’s economy. A handful of smaller studios have since announced they’re refusing to film in Georgia, and far-left actress Alyssa Milano is calling for women to take part in a “sex strike,” because “until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy.”

Dean Cain, who portrayed real-life Detective James Wood in last fall’s Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer, appeared on Fox News Monday morning to discuss their efforts, affirming similar remarks by U.S. senator David Perdue (R-Ga.).

Cain first noted that it is “hysterical” that some of the companies to announce boycotts have never filmed in Georgia anyway, then proceeded to give his colleagues a civics lesson.

“The people of Georgia made their mark, made their decision, and that’s what they did,” he said. “And now we have Hollywood coming in, saying, ‘Listen, we want you to have our values, we’ll tell you what you should do and how you should do it in your state.’ I don’t think they understand civics very well.”

By contrast, Cain said that if he were hired to film a role in Virginia, he would speak out against Gov. Ralph Northam’s infanticide comments, but “it wouldn’t stop me from going to work” because “my job is my job.”

“Hollywood pretending to be the bastion of moral superiority is an absolute joke,” he added, “because it is not by any stretch of the imagination.”

The Washington Post notes that the most recent fiscal year enjoyed $2.7 billion in direct spending on filming of Hollywood blockbusters such as the Marvel Studios films and popular series such as The Walking Dead. Georgia is particularly lucrative to filmmakers thanks to substantial tax credits offered by the state.

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Vatican magazine’s former editor backs decriminalization of abortion

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

ROME, Italy, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― The former editor of the Vatican’s women’s magazine says she does not like abortion, but she wants to keep it legal. 

Lucetta Scaraffia, 70, was permitted by Benedict XVI to found a women’s magazine for the Vatican’s principal newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano in 2012. But although she recently told a reporter for the UK Guardian that she believes abortion is bad, Scaraffia doesn’t believe it should be a crime. 

“I’m against abortion because I think it’s bad, but I don’t think women should be criminalised for it,” she told interviewer Angela Giuffrida this month.

Scaraffia explained her position further in an interview with the UK’s Catholic Herald earlier this year. 

“Doubtless abortion is a sin and, as such, it has to be condemned by the Catholic Church,” she said. 

“But this does not mean it should be punished as a crime by the state. For women, before anything else, abortion is a wound, both physical and psychic, inflicted on themselves which they will pay for, consciously or unconsciously, during their whole life. This is already sufficient punishment, above all if one realises that the man who has made her pregnant has nothing to pay, though he has the same responsibility,” she continued. 

“To punish the woman, and only her and not the man who shares the responsibility, is therefore a grave injustice. As a result, I am in favour of the decriminalisation of abortion.”

Speaking as a historian, Scaraffia said that abortion entered civil criminal law for the first time with the Napoleonic Code and the motivations were motivated not by morals but by the need for soldiers. She believes abortion was legalized in the West when it became understood that numbers of soldiers were not as necessary to winning wars as technology.

The child of a Catholic mother and a Masonic father, Scaraffia fell away from her childhood faith in the 1970s and, according to the Guardian, campaigned for the legalization of abortion in Italy. She returned to the Catholic faith in her thirties when she was a history professor at  Sapienza University in Rome. She began contributing to L’Osservatore Romano in 2007 after Benedict XVI asked editor Giovanni Maria Vian to find women to write in the paper. 

Despite being a committed feminist, Scaraffia is considered a theological conservative. She does not believe in women’s ordination, abortifacients, surrogacy, equality of outcome in women’s and women’s jobs and wages ― but she still believes abortion should be legal.   

This belief runs contrary to the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states that the right to live of every human being, including unborn children, is a necessary part of a society and its laws. In Section 2273, the Catechism states as follows: 

The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation

"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death." 

"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."

“To speak to Scaraffia often feels like navigating a moral maze,” complained her Guardian interviewer Angela Giuffrida, who took issue with Scaraffia’s more conventional pro-life, pro-motherhood beliefs. 

The Guardian’s interest in Scaraffia stems from her magazine’s March 2018 exposé on the exploitation of women religious by priests as domestic servants and its February 2019 article detailing clerical sexual violence against nuns. Scaraffia also piqued the interest of the secular press by sending a strongly-worded letter of resignation to Pope Francis. 

Scaraffia and eight of her editorial staff quit Donne Chiesa Mondo on March 26 of this year. Following the unflattering stories about exploitative clergy, Scaraffia believed that her magazine’s parent publication, L’Osservatore Romano, had begun to interfere with her magazine’s autonomy. 

Scaraffia did not take a salary for her work as the editor of Donne Chiesa Mondo.  

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Chile advances bill permitting euthanasia for 14-year-old kids

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By Martin Barillas

SANTIAGO, Chile, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Last week, legislation advanced in Chile’s congress that would allow euthanasia for children as young as 14.

The Committee on Public Health in the lower chamber of Chile’s congress approved a bill that would allow 14-year-olds to obtain the means for medically-assisted suicide.

The bill requires authorization from a legal representative for patients 14 to 16 years of age. If a request is denied, the patient may seek intervention from a family court judge to determine whether he or she “meets the legal requirements for obtaining medically-assisted euthanasia.”

For patients 16 and older, the bill states that attending physicians are obliged to “inform the patient’s legal representatives,” but the patients are allowed to proceed with euthanasia at will and without further authorization.

The euthanasia movement received a boost in 2015 when 14-year-old Valentina Maureira appeared in a video appealing to then-President Michelle Bachelet that she be given the means to end her life. “I urgently want to talk to the president,” said the girl, who added, “I‘m tired of this sickness, and she can give me the injection to make me sleep forever.”

In January, 20-year-old Paula Diaz died naturally after having unsuccessfully requested permission from President Sebastián Piñera to access euthanasia. Diaz, who had suffered a rare disease that caused intense pain and spasms, had requested permission for medically-assisted euthanasia during the administration of leftist President Bachelet.

Chilean Minister of Health Jorge Acosta told La Tercera that the president “is frustrated that the response that the government gives to a child in pain is that the best thing that can happen is to end his life.” Acosta went on to say, “That is not consistent with respect for the dignity of all human beings and particularly of children who are suffering. That is a failure of medicine, it is a failure of palliative care and it is a failure of the state."

Congressman Jorge Duran responded to Acosta, "Let’s not mix apples and oranges,” adding, “We are talking about the suffering of child and that goes beyond palliative care.”

Duran represents the National Renovation party in Congress and was the only member of his party to vote in favor of the bill. President Piñera led the National Renovation party to victory in 2017. The party has the greatest number of members in the lower house.

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Michigan Legislature votes to ban dismemberment abortion

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By Stephen Kokx

LANSING, Michigan, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Republican-led Michigan State House and Senate voted to ban dismemberment abortions today.

House Bills 4320 and 4321 and Senate Bills 229 and 230 would modify the state’s existing partial-birth abortion ban to include dismemberment abortions, often referred to as dilation and evacuation abortions. Dismemberment abortion is one of the most common but also most gruesome second-trimester abortion procedures, as it involves ripping the arms and legs off an unborn baby’s body with a pair of forceps. The bills include an exception if the mother's life is in danger.

The Senate voted 22-16 in favor of both bills, while the House voted 58-51 in favor. Every Democrat voted against banning dismemberment abortions.

If signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the legislation would make dismemberment abortion a felony. However, Whitmer has previously promised to veto pro-life laws that arrive at her desk, telling Planned Parenthood last month it has a “powerful backstop in a veto from my office.”

“If she refuses to sign it, we'll find 400,000 people who will and bypass her veto!” Right to Life of Michigan vowed immediately following the vote.

Today’s vote comes at a time when top Michigan Democrats have been ramping up their attacks on pro-life, pro-family values.

In March, state Attorney General Dana Nessel, a “married” lesbian and feminist who has been accused of being anti-Catholic, announced that taxpayer-funded adoption agencies with religious objections to placing foster care children into homes of homosexual “married” couples will no longer be able to cite their faith as a legitimate reason to opt out of providing that service.

Nessel is also investigating the Michigan-based Church Militant website, a staunchly conservative Catholic organization, because the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center labeled them “anti-LGBT.”

If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, Nessel, who has added her name to a lawsuit challenging the legality of pro-life “heartbeat” legislation, has said she wouldn't enforce a state abortion ban.

House Bills 4320 and 4321 were approved by the Michigan House Judiciary Committee with a 7-5 vote. They previously passed the House’s Families, Children, and Seniors Committee by a 5-4 margin on May 1. At that hearing, veteran pro-life activist Dr. Monica Miller, a Michigan resident, testified in support of the legislation. She also testified before the Senate.

Holding up photographs of dismembered babies to lawmakers, Miller said that the “cut-to-pieces” babies she found in trash bags in dumpsters behind abortion clinics on the state’s east side were Michigan’s “dark secret.” Democrats serving on the committee did not ask Miller any questions during or after her testimony, despite aggressively challenging other pro-life experts who appeared in support of the legislation. Footage of Miller’s powerful remarks has been viewed on YouTube more than 355,000 times.

In 2017, 1,777 dismemberment abortions took place in Michigan. Of those, 98 percent occurred in the second trimester, between 13 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. From 2013 to 2017, the state averaged 26,200 abortions per year.

Contact Gov. Whitmer on Facebook, Twitter, and on her website. Or call 517-373-3400 or 517-335-7858 (Constituent Services).

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USA Powerlifting continues ban on men who say they’re ‘female’ from competing with real women

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By Calvin Freiburger

May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – USA Powerlifting (USAPL) will continue to forbid gender-confused men who think they're women from competing against actual women for the same records, following an overwhelmingly one-sided vote to maintain the current policy.

USAPL’s national board of governors held a vote on the matter Thursday, Outsports reports. 46 members voted against lifting the ban versus just four in favor, with one abstention. Speakers for and against the change were heard prior to the vote, including “Queer and Trans Fathlete” JayCee Cooper (for) and USAPL Therapeutic Use Exemption committee chair Dr. Kristopher Hunt (against).

The vote follows months of pro-LGBT consternation over a “Transgender Participation Policy” USAPL released in February, for which Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) demanded Minnesota officials investigate the organization (Minnesota’s Democrat Attorney General Keith Ellison rejected her request).

“Men naturally have a larger bone structure, higher bone density, stronger connective tissue and higher muscle density than women,” it argues. “These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone do not go away. While MTF (male-to-female) may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over than of a female.”

Recent years have seen multiple controversies arising from gender-confused men competing in women’s sports such as mixed martial arts, rugby, boxing, and cycling. The 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation recently revoked titles and trophies given last month to American powerlifter "Mary" Gregory for ostensibly breaking multiple records last month, following confirmation that Gregory was actually a man.

“USAPL has continuously operated in bad faith throughout this process,” the Women’s Strength Coalition alleged in a statement lamenting the vote. “Our proposed policy may not have passed today, but our fight for trans inclusion is not over. Women’s Strength Coalition and Pull for Pride will not stop pushing for a trans affirming and inclusive policy until all are welcome on the platform.”

“In general, men are better athletes than women,” Louder With Crowder’s Courtney Kirchoff wrote. “Women’s sports are so women can compete with other women [...] Women’s sports are a safe space for women to compete with other women. There are valuable lessons to be learned from competing. And a lot of satisfaction from winning."

“Transgenders coming into women’s sports erases women from women’s sports,” she argued, “and thus erases the entire point of women’s sports: again, not for entertainment and not for men. But for women to compete.”

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VP Pence tells Christian grad students to prepare for ‘persecution’: WATCH

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By Martin Barillas

LYNCHBURG, Virginia, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Vice President Mike Pence told graduating students at Liberty University in Virginia that they should prepare for "opposition" in a world where the "persecution" of Christians has reached the level of "genocide."

"The truth is, we live in a time when the freedom of religion is under assault," the vice president told the 2019 graduating class at Liberty University on Saturday (read full remarks here).

"Yesterday, I was informed by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that today Christians suffer more persecution around the world than any other religion.  In fact, the United Kingdom released a report just last week that said persecution of Christians worldwide is 'near genocide levels,'" Pence added. 

Connecting the persecution of people of faith in the United States with their brethren in other countries, Pence deplored violence against religion: “In the last few months, we’ve seen unspeakable attacks on people of faith — on Jewish synagogues in Pennsylvania and California, on mosques in New Zealand, Christian churches in Sri Lanka, and on three historically black churches in Louisiana. No one should ever fear for their safety in a place of worship, and these attacks on people of faith must stop.”

Pence told the graduates that they are living in a time when “it’s become acceptable and even fashionable to ridicule and even discriminate against people of faith.”

Alluding to efforts during the Obama administration that assailed religious institutions that refused to endorse abortion and contraception, Pence said, “You know, it wasn’t all that long ago that the last administration brought the full weight of the federal government against the Little Sisters of the Poor merely because that group of nuns refused to provide a health plan that violated their deeply held religious beliefs.  And when the state of Georgia recently was debating legal protections for the unborn, a bevy of Hollywood liberals said they would boycott the entire state.”

On a personal note, Pence recalled the ridicule to which Mrs. Pence has been subjected for teaching at a school that professes traditional Christian teachings about sexuality and marriage. Pence said, “And when my wife Karen returned to teach art at an elementary Christian school earlier this year, we faced harsh attacks by the media and the secular Left.  And a major newspaper reporter actually started a new hashtag, called ‘Expose Christian Schools,’ inviting students to share their 'horror stories' of Christian education.”

Referring to the principles enshrined in the Constitution, the vice president said, “The freedom of religion is enshrined in our First Amendment and in the hearts of every American.  And these attacks on Christian education are un-American.”

He also spoke to the success the Trump administration has had in nominating justices to the Supreme Court and defending religious liberty, vowing, “We will always stand up for the right of Americans to live, to learn, and to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience.”  

Pence told his listeners that he had not come “so much as your vice-president but as a brother in Christ,” and added, “if what you’ve seen and heard and learned in this place has also taken hold in your hearts, go from here and live it out, share it, because America needs men and women of integrity and faith now more than ever.”

Telling graduates that intolerance is found not only overseas but also at home, the vice president said, “Throughout most of American history, it’s been pretty easy to call yourself Christian. It didn’t even occur to people that you might be shunned or ridiculed for defending the teachings of the Bible. But things are different now.”

Pence added, “Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs. So as you go about your daily life, just be ready. Because you’re going to be asked not just to tolerate things that violate your faith; you’re going to be asked to endorse them. You’re going to be asked to bow down to the idols of the popular culture.”

“So you need to prepare your minds for action, men and women.  You need to show that we can love God and love our neighbor at the same time through words and deeds.  And you need to be prepared to meet opposition.”

Reflecting on the Biblical story of three Jewish youths who were cast into a fiery furnace by an enraged pagan king, Pence told Liberty University grads that God will abide with them despite their trials in the world. “As you strive for greatness, know that you’ll face challenges, you’ll face opposition,” said Pence. “But just know this: If, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, you end up in the fire, there’ll be another in the fire.”

Crediting the university training and their Christian faith to sustain them, Pence said, “Have faith that He Who brought you this far will never leave you, nor forsake you, because He never will.”

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PBS kids’ cartoon ‘Arthur’ features homosexual ‘wedding’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean
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PBS cartoon 'Arthur' featured Mr. Ratburn 'marrying' a male in its May 13, 2019 episode. PBS / video screen grab

BOSTON, Massachusetts, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A children’s cartoon series featured a homosexual "wedding" for its season premiere episode yesterday. 

“Arthur,” the longest-running animated series for children in the USA, began its twenty-second season with the surprise "marriage" of Arthur the Aardvark’s teacher Mr. Ratburn to another man. 

In the episode, Arthur and his classmates are intrigued to discover that their teacher is getting married and begin to investigate who his bride might be. When the children appear at the ceremony, they discover that Mr. Ratburn doesn’t have a bride. Instead, he walks down the aisle of the wedding tent on the arm of a male aardvark named Patrick. 

The adult aardvark winks knowingly at the viewer whereupon 8-year-old Arthur and his classmate exchange delighted smiles. 

A parent who watched the episode yesterday evening and contacted LifeSiteNews and contrasted the reactions to the cartoon characters to those of her children. 

“The [cartoon] children are a bit surprised but mostly nonchalant about the whole thing,” she wrote from Topeka, Kansas. “Needless to say, in the real world, our children were shocked and confused.” 

Other adults and teens, however, took to Twitter to expressed their glee over the new twist in Mr. Ratburn’s portrayal. 

“DID ARTHUR REALLY HAVE A GAY MARRIAGE AND I MISSED IT? THAT'S SO FREAKING COOL Y'ALL,” said former child star, now House of Representatives intern Joshua Rush, 17, on Twitter. 

Rush played “Cyrus Goodman” of the “Andi Mack” show, the first same-sex attracted main character on the Disney Channel. The character was 12 years old when he was introduced to the show. 

“Arthur,” which features anthropomorphized animals, is aimed at children aged four to eight. It is broadcast on PBS Kids, and its educational purpose is purportedly to interest children in reading. The show is based on the Arthur adventure books by Marc Brown. Mr. Ratburn was originally based on Brown’s own middle school algebra teacher.   

This is not Arthur’s first foray into the adult world of same-sex partnerships. According to Variety, an “Arthur” spin-off  show called “Postcards from Buster” featured a female same-sex couple in 2005. The then-Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings wrote a letter of protest to the tax-funded PBS, underscoring that the show was meant to prepare children for school.  

“We believe the “Sugartime!” episode does not come within these purposes or within the intent of Congress, and would undermine the overall objective of the Ready-To-Learn program — to produce programming that reaches as many children and families as possible,” Spelling wrote in 2005.  

“Many parents would not want their young children exposed to the life-styles portrayed in this episode. Congress’ and the Department’s purpose in funding this programming certainly was not to introduce this kind of subject matter to children, particularly through the powerful and intimate medium of television,” she continued. 

PBS dropped this episode, but it was aired by some of its affiliates. 

Today PBS Kids states on its website that its goal is to make “a positive impact on the lives of children through curriculum-based entertainment with positive role models and content designed to nurture a child’s total well-being.”

“PBS KIDS encourages children to interact as respectful citizens in a diverse society,” the channel continues. 

“By involving parents, teachers, caregivers and communities as learning partners, PBS KIDS helps to empower children for success in school and in life. PBS’ bottom line is measured by how much it contributes to the welfare of America’s children.”

The "Arthur" episode yesterday marks another victory by LGBT activists to insert homosexual "representation" into beloved children's shows. 

To respectfully make your views known to the creators of “Arthur”, please contact: 

Jonathan Abbott
President and CEO, WGBH
One Guest Street
Boston, MA 02135
E-mail: Arthur
Audience and Member Services Phone:  617-300-3300

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Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims in his video prior to harassing the elderly woman.
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Brian Sims’ office, social media go dark after blowback for filming himself harassing pro-lifers

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By Calvin Freiburger

PHILADELPHIA, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Pennsylvania Democrat lawmaker infamous for filming himself berating peaceful pro-life protesters has disappeared from social media and barring the public from even entering the building where he keeps his office following intense backlash for his antics.

Two weeks ago, Brian Sims drew national attention by posting a video in which he followed a woman who was quietly walking and praying a rosary outside of a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood, attempted to shove his phone in her face, and repeatedly called her “shameful,” “disgusting,” “racist,” and an “old white lady.”

Another video shows him approaching three girls, who he calls “a bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here,” then offers “$100 to anybody who will identify these three.” Afterward, he approaches a male protester and asks, “What makes you think it’s your job to tell women what to do with their bodies?” But before the man can answer, Sims declares, “The truth is, I’m not really asking, because I don’t care. Shame on you,” and walks away.

The lawmaker at first responded to his critics with defiance, eventually conceding only that he was overly “aggressive,” while continuing to frame pro-lifers as “harassers.”

The videos sparked widespread outrage among pro-lifers, who in a matter of days organized a pro-life rally outside that Planned Parenthood location on May 10. Drawing hundreds of attendees, it featured pro-life speakers such as Lila Rose and Abby Johnson, conservative commentator Matt Walsh, area pro-life activists Dr. Monique Ruberu and Richard Krajewski, Ashley Garecht, the mother of two of the girls seen in the video, and more.

The pressure has apparently compelled Sims to keep a low profile. Over the weekend, he locked his personal Twitter account, on which he describes himself as a “LGBTQ activist and “#RuPaulsDragRace fanatic,” so his tweets cannot be viewed without special permission.

The Daily Wire notes that his personal Instagram and legislative Twitter accounts are still accessible, but haven’t been used since May 1 and May 6, respectively. Additionally, he has not posted to his Facebook account since May 4.

Additionally, Americans United for Life (AUL) revealed that when they attempted to visit Sims’ Philadelphia office, a police officer standing guard prevented them from even entering the building. “It’s just shameful that a publicly-elected representative, guarded by the police, is attacking the citizens of this great state and isn’t even allowing his own constituents to come to meet with him,” AUL president Catherine Glenn Foster lamented.

State Republican Party chairman Val DiGiorgio has requested that U.S. attorney William McSwain, Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro, and Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner open criminal investigations into Sims for “intimidation and harassment.” Krasner’s office confirmed that it is reviewing the request.

“Meanwhile, our legislature’s reputation, such as it is, continues to spread (and plummet). And Pennsylvania continues to rank with bottom-dwelling states in almost everything from infrastructure to education,” the Philadelphia Inquirer's John Baer wrote, lamenting the weakness of state leaders’ response to Sims’ behavior. “But I guess that happens when people you elect require lectures on even the fundamentals of civil behavior -- such as tolerance and decency.”

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Powerlifting federation revokes titles for male athlete who ‘broke’ female records

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By Calvin Freiburger

May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation has revoked titles and trophies given last month to American powerlifter Mary Gregory for ostensibly breaking multiple records last month, on the grounds that Gregory is actually a male and therefore ineligible.

Last month, Gregory competed in a competition in Virginia, during which “her” performance exceeded the world records for Masters world squat record, open world bench record, Masters world deadlift record, and Masters world total record, AOL reports. Gregory thanked the federation for treating him as “just another female lifter.”

But the news was soon met with disapproval from various corners, including several Olympic athletes, including British swimmer Sharron Davies and British track athlete Kelly Holmes:

On May 1, 100% Raw president Paul Bossi released a statement explaining that Gregory had registered for the competition as female, but “our rules, and the basis of separating genders for competition, are based on physiological classification rather than identification.” Because Gregory is “actually a male,” 100% Raw concluded that “no female records will be broken by [his] lifts,” and eventually, Gregory “will be placed in a different category once the Transgender Division is introduced with a new policy.”

“It infuriated me,” Gregory told Outsports. “I feel like I’m being tarred and feathered as this person who got in there, competing against 50 women, and just stomping all over them, and won by some magnificent total. Not to denigrate my own accomplishments or achievements, I’m so very proud of them, but the numbers that I lifted aren’t class leading.”

Gregory has not undergone so-called sex reassignment surgery, but he says he’s been taking estrogen and spironolactone for the past eleven months, which he claims has reduced his lifting ability.

Recent years have seen multiple controversies arising from gender-confused men competing in women’s sports such as mixed martial arts, rugby, boxing, and cycling. USA Powerlifting bars gender-confused men from competing with women, which Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota wanted the state to investigate (Minnesota’s Democrat attorney general, Keith Ellison, rejected her request).

“Men naturally have a larger bone structure, higher bone density, stronger connective tissue and higher muscle density than women,” USA Powerlifting argues. “These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone do not go away. While MTF (male-to-female) may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over than [sic] of a female.”

Gregory told Outsports that even if he can no longer compete for women’s titles, he plans to continue participating in the sport by serving as a referee with USA Powerlifting.

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UK hospital’s ‘false imprisonment’ fine is a first for denying a patient’s rights to leave

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Last weekend, a British newspaper reported on a legal first: A hospital was fined for “false imprisonment”; that is, for refusing to allow a patient to leave.

The details are complicated, but certain facts stand out.

The patient was unable to make decisions for herself, but devoted family members — two of whom were medically qualified — visited her daily. Doctors had written on the patient’s notes that the issue of her discharge was not to be discussed with them, however. The final act of the drama was her transfer to a nursing home without the family’s knowledge, let alone agreement, where she died shortly afterward.

This judgment sets a new precedent in English law, and I hope that it will not only enable patients and their families to get legal redress, but also begin to change the culture of those institutions themselves. The ruling may (up to now) be unique, but the situation certainly is not. Indeed, it so happens that I have myself very recently had firsthand experience of the attitude of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) in a similar case, the difference being that we won our battle to get a loved one discharged.

I had the opportunity, in a meeting that will be forever seared on my memory, to probe, along with other family members, exactly what is going on in the minds of these hospital managers.

“So,” they seemed to be saying, “we accept that it is very probable that the patient’s condition will improve if she goes home, with care from family members supplemented by regular medically-qualified support, support which will not cost the NHS a penny. We further accept that her prolonged stay in the hospital is having bad effects on her condition in both physical and psychological ways. And yet, we don’t want her to go home, because … because we’d like her to have improved in some of the ways which we acknowledge that we are making her worse, before allowing her to go home, where we acknowledge she will improve in these very same ways.”

There was an element here of box-ticking insanity, the kind of thing that can happen when badly written bureaucratic protocols discourage the use of common sense. However, there was more to it than that. The managers had convinced themselves that they knew best, and their purpose in having this meeting was, in fact, to explain to us why we were mistaken. It pained them to let go of the power they had over the patient; power, of course, they intended for good, but power all the same.

The combination of this attitude with an ever-increasing acceptance of active and passive euthanasia leads to a very dangerous situation.

It reminded me of the debate over the origins of the National Health Service after the Second World War. Up until then, there was a distinction between charitable hospitals and municipal (local government) hospitals. Catholics gave self-sacrificially to Catholic charitable hospitals, usually run by nursing sisters, because they had a very different spirit from the municipal ones. A Scottish bishop remarked when a Catholic hospital in his diocese was in financial straits during the war that if were taken over by the state he hoped it would not “become one of those heartless places.” Catholics came up with the money and it was saved.

The establishment of the NHS involved the state takeover of the vast majority of these charitable hospitals, a great many of which were then closed in the name of efficiency. The mastermind of the plan was Labour Party politician Aneurin Bevan. He referred to the popular perception of charitable hospitals, which were often small, when he remarked in 1946:

I would rather be kept alive in the efficient if cold altruism of a large hospital than expire in a gush of warm sympathy in a small one.

It is something of an irony that today the National Health Service is a byword for inefficiency (with a high rate of absenteeism), but is widely appreciated for its warm sympathy, at least at the level of day-to-day care. It is the decision-makers in this vast institution’s chaotic hierarchy who come in for criticism. It would seem that they have inherited the heartlessness of their municipal predecessors but lost the efficiency.

Any large organization is prone to the tendency of coming to exist for the sake its employees, or at least those of them who achieve a certain seniority, rather than its owners or clients. Where these employees have great power over clients, this is a particularly troubling situation. As Britain leaves behind a culture informed by the Christian spirit, even a legal system newly prepared to challenge the abuses of the National Health Service will be hard put to ensure that the real interests of patients — and the desires of their families — are given their proper weight.

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VIDEO: Is Pope Francis trying to open the door to contraception?

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By John-Henry Westen

May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church has faced an internal war against her teaching on contraception for decades with the Popes fighting valiantly to defend and explain why the Church promotes openness to life.

Unfortunately, on this teaching as much as many others, Pope Francis has introduced considerable ambiguity, and has even seemed to undermine the teaching in some of his informal remarks.

Today, on Episode 9 of The John-Henry Westen Show, I’m discussing the Pope Francis’ comments on contraception, and why they are such a departure from the Church’s traditional teaching on the issue.

The John-Henry Westen Show appears every Tuesday. It is a short weekly commentary on the most important news developments in the Church and culture. We are beginning with a series laying out the hard evidence for our concerns with Pope Francis. 

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel, and right here on my LifeSite blog.

It is also available in audio format on platforms such as SpotifySoundcloud, and Pippa. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe for the audio version on various channels, visit the Pippa.io webpage here.

We’ve created a special email list for the show so that we can notify you every week when we post a new episode. Please sign up now by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel, and you’ll be notified by YouTube when there is new content.

You can send me feedback, or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected]

Watch Episode 9 here:

 

Listen to Episode 9 here:

Transcript: Is Pope Francis trying to open the door to contraception?

One of the biggest struggles inside the Catholic Church since the 1960s was the internal war over contraception. If you know your modern Church history you’ll remember that a majority of Cardinals and bishops who Pope Paul VI asked to look into the question of contraception came back with a report suggesting that the Church change Her teaching and allow for it, for the use of the pill or condom for married couples in achieving family planning. A minority report written by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła (who was of course later to become Pope John Paul II) told Pope Paul VI that the Church’s teaching could not be changed. And we know what happened with the encyclical Humanae Vitae and the revolt in the Church that ensued. Well, it seems Pope Francis has not only reopened that debate but said the opposite on the question, but very few have even taken notice.

That is the subject of the John-Henry Westen Show today. I’m your host John-Henry Westen co-founder and editor in chief of LifeSiteNews.

Let’s begin as we always do with the Sign of the Cross.

In a March 2014 interview with Corriere della Sera, Francis said that the question of birth control must be answered not by “changing the doctrine” but by “making pastoral (ministry) take into account the situations and that which it is possible for people to do.” Speaking of Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, Pope Francis said, “Paul VI himself, at the end, recommended to confessors much mercy, and attention to concrete situations.”

During a November 2015 press conference on his return flight from Africa, Pope Francis was asked, “Is it not time for the Church to change its position on the matter? To allow the use of condoms to prevent more infections?”

In his response Pope Francis stated: “Yes, it’s one of the methods. The moral of the Church on this point is found here faced with a perplexity: the fifth or sixth commandment? Defend life, or that sexual relations are open to life?”

He continued:

But this isn’t the problem. The problem is bigger…  this question makes me think of one they once asked Jesus: “Tell me, teacher, is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? Is it obligatory to heal?” This question, “is doing this lawful,” … but malnutrition, the development of the person, slave labor, the lack of drinking water, these are the problems.

Let’s not talk about if one can use this type of patch or that for a small wound, the serious wound is social injustice, environmental injustice, … I think of the trafficking of arms, when these problems are no longer there, I think we can ask the question “is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Because, if the trafficking of arms continues, wars are the biggest cause of mortality…I would say not to think about whether it’s lawful or not to heal on the Sabbath, I would say to humanity: “make justice,” and when all are cured, when there is no more injustice, we can talk about the Sabbath.

And there are recent examples as well. In April 2018, an Argentinian religious sister acclaimed for her work against the trafficking and exploitation of children said publicly that Pope Francis told her responsible parenthood requires contraceptives in some cases.

In an interview with the Argentinian radio program Crónica Anunciada, Carmelite missionary sister Martha Pelloni said Pope Francis “told me three words” about the need for responsible parenthood among poor rural women: “condoms, transitory, and reversible.”

Sr. Pelloni, who is opposed to abortion, said the Pope told her various forms of contraception could be permissible to prevent poor women from choosing abortion. She included condoms, “a diaphragm, and as a last resort, which is what we advise for rural women that we serve, because I have a foundation for the peasantry, tubal ligation.”

“If there is sex education and state responsibility to care for women in poverty, we do not need to decriminalize abortion because it will not be necessary to have an abortion,” the superior of the Carmelite Missionaries said.

The Vatican neither confirmed nor denied the Pope’s comments to Sr. Pelloni. LifeSiteNews contacted Vatican spokesman Greg Burke for comment but received no response.

But the most devastating contradiction of the Church’s teaching came in 2016 when on his February return flight from Mexico, the pope was asked by one reporter whether the Church can “take into consideration the concept of ‘the lesser of two evils?’” when it comes to the question of preventing pregnancy to avoid transmission of the virus.

The pope opened his answer by categorically condemning abortion as a solution to the Zika virus, but on the question of avoiding pregnancy, he added: “We are speaking in terms of the conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment.”

"The great Paul VI in a difficult situation in Africa permitted sisters to use contraception for cases of rape,” he told reporters.

"Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil," the pope added. "In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”

The pope’s answer, in particular the apparent parallel he drew between the case of the nuns’ use of contraception and the case of the Zika virus, has widely led to the interpretation that the pope was approving the use of contraception in some cases.

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi on February 19th affirmed that the Holy Father was indeed speaking of “condoms and contraceptives” when on the flight back from Mexico, Pope Francis said couples could rightly “avoid pregnancy” in the wake of the Zika virus scare.

Fr. Lombardi told Vatican Radio, “The contraceptive or condom, in particular cases of emergency or gravity, could be the object of discernment in a serious case of conscience. This is what the Pope said.”

According to Lombardi, the pope spoke of “the possibility of taking recourse to contraception or condoms in cases of emergency or special situations. He is not saying that this possibility is accepted without discernment, indeed, he said clearly that it can be considered in cases of special urgency.”

As LifeSite writer Matthew Hoffman pointed out, in what appears to be an almost perfect anticipation of the argument made by Pope Francis, Pope Paul VI taught in Humanae Vitae:

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, … Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.

Although Pope Paul VI recognized that lesser evils might be tolerated for the sake of avoiding greater evils, he expressly condemned the notion that one could morally defend an act of contraception, which he calls “intrinsically wrong,” by claiming that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one. This appears to be the precise reasoning of Pope Francis.

The Holy Bible indicates that God hates contraception. As the encyclical Casti Connubii says, God “regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, ‘Intercourse even with one's legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of the offspring is prevented. Onan, the son of Juda, did this and the Lord killed him for it.’"

The rejection of God’s command to be fruitful and multiply in our current age can be seen as the heart of the attack on marriage and the family. The late Cardinal Caffarra revealed at our Rome Life Forum last year that this attack is the fulfillment of Our Lady of Fatima’s prophecy of the “final battle between Our Lord and the Reign of Satan.”

The most significant decline in the birth rate did not begin as most think in the 60s, the descent began in 1930 with the promotion of the condom. It was the precursor to the sexual revolution, which was given the definitive spark with the pill. And it was directly correlated with an unprecedented rise in divorce rates.

Humanae Vitae warned of many of the consequences of the acceptance of contraception in ways which make it look like a prophetic document today.

The encyclical warned of four resulting trends: a general lowering of moral standards throughout society; a rise in infidelity; a lessening of respect for women by men; and the coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments.

A general lowering of moral standards is painfully obvious today.

Pope Paul VI warned: “Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires...”

Compare that to the strength of the Catholic Church’s response when the Anglican Church at the Lambeth conference gave a very tentative and shy approval to contraception.

When the Anglicans first approved of contraception in 1930 at the Lambeth Conference, it was done with words and sentiments very similar to the justifications for second marriage (without annulment) provided in Amoris Laetitia.

At Lambeth, the Anglican leadership didn’t just plainly say contraception was now permitted. They pointed to hard cases and employed many heart-rending justifications to get to what was the first breach against openness to life in the Christian world.

“Where there is clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles,” said the Lambeth resolution.

It continued:

The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience.

Despite all of the Christian-sounding justifications presented at the Lambeth Conference, the Catholic Church at the time pronounced its judgment on the Anglican decision in Pope Pius XI's encyclical Casti Connubii.

Pope Pius XI lambasted the Lambeth Conference approval of contraception. Even though he didn’t name the Anglicans he made it eminently clear to whom he was referring.

In paragraph 56 of Casti Connubii, the Pope described the Lambeth decision as “openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition” for “another doctrine” which constitutes “moral ruin.”

The decision “defiled” the chastity of marriage with a “foul stain,” he said.

Pope Pius’ conclusion on this point bears repeating for all of us to hear, even more urgently than was necessary in his own time.

He said: “any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.”

At LifeSiteNews we’re about caritas in veritate – love in truth. Do you love Pope Francis enough to pray and fast for him to end the confusion he has caused? Will you write to him beg him to end the confusion? For his sake, for the sake of the Church, for the sake of your children and grandchildren, it’s the charitable thing to do.

Remember to sign up to receive notice of each new episode of the John-Henry Westen Show at the links below.

By the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary may God bless you and your family.

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Faith and reason are under attack. The Catholic Church must defend both

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

May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the major themes of the papal writings of Pope Benedict XVI was the harmony of faith and reason — and not just their harmony, but the dependence of human reason on the creative divine Reason or Logos. For it is not merely the case that faith does not contradict reason, as if the two are compatible partners on an equal footing. Rather, human reason is a finite and fallible light that emanates from the prior, all-encompassing light of God, who is also the font of life, love, freedom, and wisdom.

Consequently, men can be truly reasonable and free only when they must submit their intellects and wills to this light and live in its radiance. Faith in divine revelation encompasses and elevates all the functions of reason. Without this light, men are doomed to the darkness of self-will, the tempest of irrational urges, and ultimately the madness of nihilism.

Put differently, unless we embrace God’s revelation in faith, which purifies and elevates the natural light of our mind, our own reason is fated to be its undoing. By refusing or abandoning faith, we undermine reason at its foundation. Those who labor to sweep clean the rooms of their minds, thinking to find in scientific and technical prowess a kind of secular salvation, end up verifying the somber words of Our Lord Jesus Christ when he speaks of the demon who, finding his old house “empty, swept, and garnished,” takes with him “seven other evil spirits more wicked than himself” and enters in to dwell there (Mt. 12:43–45).

Is this not what Americans, Canadians, the British, Australians, and so many others are witnessing as their beloved countries plummet with accelerating speed into the folly — nay, the insanity — of liberalism unbounded, which refuses allegiance even to reason and to nature in its insatiable quest for self without soul, liberty without loyalty?

To the “enlightened” of recent centuries, the Catholic Church was the great enemy of reason, progress, liberty. Wrapped in her dark robes of medieval superstition, she sought to enslave men with her dogmas and decrees, despising the goodness of raw nature. That was how things looked to a Jefferson or a Voltaire.

From our vantage in the twenty-first century, when for the first time large numbers of people seem incapable of recognizing, much less assenting to, the ironclad results of a valid syllogism or the normalcy of heterosexual love, it is sweetly ironic that the Catholic Tradition is increasingly the only bastion and defender of nature’s integrity and of the goodness of natural reason itself.

Even while I recognize that rational argument is a dying art with a steadily diminishing potential audience and that the appeal to reason can never be an exclusive means of approach or the last word — if only because, as Pascal sagely observed, “the heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing” — still, I have often thought that our day and age is exactly the right time for a major revival of Catholic apologetics.

Catholic, mind you; for there is a brand of apologetics very popular right now that specializes in the arts of proof-texting, razor-sharp distinctions, and blowing clouds of verbiage but fails to draw upon the liturgical, aesthetic, and ascetical-mystical depths of Catholicism — the things that most resonate in the hearts of believers and equip them with that sensus Catholicus by which to discern with the spiritual palate what is true, good, and beautiful, and to reject their contraries. What we need is not an apologetics of desiccated reasoning, but a three-dimensional exposure to the luminous reality of the Faith, which is encountered above all in the Church’s traditional rites of worship and her abundance of strong and subtle arts.

The stakes are higher than ever: not faith alone, but reason too is besieged. Christian faith is ridiculed as utterly irrational, when in reality, as the best minds have seen for the past 2,000 years, it is supreme and sovereign Reason — God’s Reason. Our own minds can begin to discern this beautiful reasonableness if we will make the effort. We owe it to Our Lord and to ourselves to prize and nurture the gift of reason as we do the gift of faith, so that we can be sane within, and talk sanity to a world hell-bent on going mad.

Even so, since we moderns are surrounded by the constant distraction of smartphones, emails, Facebook, Twitter, and who knows what else yet to come, this work of filling our minds with good things can be tough going, and perseverance is called for. Those seven demons mentioned by Our Lord would prefer to see the room of your mind “empty, swept, and garnished” with the latest fads and fictions, but you know better than to yield to their desires. Furnish your mind with solid truth that no demons — or their unwitting human captives — can gainsay.

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Is Pope Francis trying to open the door to contraception?

By John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
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The Catholic Church has faced an internal war against her teaching on contraception for decades with the Popes fighting valiantly to defend and explain why the Church promotes openness to life. Unfortunately, on this teaching as much as many others, Pope Francis has introduced considerable ambiguity, and has even seemed to undermine the teaching in some of his informal remarks. Today, on Episode 9 of The John-Henry Westen Show, I’m discussing the Pope Francis’ comments on contraception, and why they are such a departure from the Church’s traditional teaching on the issue.


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