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Chicago archdiocese cancels trip to see Elton John’s ‘Rocketman’ with ‘gay male sex’ scene

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By Martin Barillas

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CHICAGO, May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An outing by parishioners of Holy Name Cathedral — Cardinal Blase Cupich’s archiepiscopal see in Chicago — to watch the R-rated Rocketman film with its “gay male sex” scene has been canceled following a report by LifeSiteNews.

Heralded as the first film by a major production company to feature homosexual acts on screen, Rocketman depicts the life and times of singer Elton John, an English entertainer whose flamboyant antics, homosexual lifestyle, and pop/rock songs have won plaudits and popularity for decades.

In a parish bulletin released by Holy Name Cathedral, an outing to watch Rocketman on June 2 was announced, as were other outings and activities. LifeSiteNews contacted the archdiocesan communications office, as well as the the contact person listed in the parish bulletin, multiple times via telephone and email. However, nobody responded to requests for information.

An email tip sent by a reader indicated that the film outing has been canceled.

Cardinal Cupich has been criticized for saying “clericalism,” rather than homosexuality, is responsible for the sex abuse crisis that has wracked the Church in the United States. Also, he has lauded Fr. James Martin, S.J. as one of the “foremost evangelizers in the Church today,” despite criticisms that the priest’s statements do not square with the Church’s regarding sexuality.

In a review, critic John Mulderig writes that Rocketman is “a polished and generally appealing film.” However, he warns that the film “deals with its subject’s homosexuality in a way that puts it at odds with scriptural values.” The Catholic News Service has rated the film as “morally offensive” because of its “romanticized view of homosexual relationships, strong sexual content, including semi-graphic aberrant activity, partially glimpsed full nudity and decadent sensuality, drug use, a scene of urination and much rough and crude language.”

Learn more about Cardinal Cupich’s views and past actions by visiting FaithfulShepherds.com. Click here.

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Vigano vindicated? Catholic voices debate Msgr. Figueiredo revelations

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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VATICAN CITY, May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Catholic pundits are arguing over whether or not Archbishop Viganò was vindicated by revelations by Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo about sanctions placed on the sexually abusive then-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Figueiredo, once McCarrick’s personal secretary, published an eleven-page statement including correspondence from the disgraced now laicized cleric, showing that Church leaders knew about Pope Benedict’s sanctions on McCarrick but did not enforce them. One of those leaders was the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl. This tallies with Viganò’s 2018 statement that many Church leaders, including Wuerl, knew of the sanctions.

Wuerl continues to insist that he did not know of the sanctions on McCarrick.

Figueiredo’s testimony appeared at the same time the wider world was introduced to a Spanish-language interview with Pope Francis in which the pontiff denied ever knowing of  McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with seminarians. In his testimony, Viganò stated that he had told the Argentinian pontiff about it himself.

John Zmirak, a frequent contributor to The Stream, told LifeSiteNews that Viganò’s testimony about cover-up at the highest levels of the Church is being confirmed.

“Every piece of news that emerges, each new document that’s leaked, confirms the stark truthfulness of Archbishop Viganò’s testimony,” he said via social media.

Referring to Monsignor Figueiredo’s disclosures concerning his superior, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Zmirak said:

The dots are being connected, one by one, and they seem to point to Pope Francis. Now we’re expected to believe that Wuerl knew all about McCarrick, but kept it from Pope Francis. As did Viganò, and everyone else who knew. How plausible is that? Must we outrage the rational minds God gave us to keep extending the benefit of the doubt to Francis?

Referring to Pope Francis’s interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki, in which the pontiff hinted that Archbishop Viganò was “paid” for his testimony, Zmirak continued:

When he accuses Vigano of lying for financial gain, how should we evaluate that grave accusation against a successor of the Apostles? How long will Francis refuse to release the abundant documents which would resolve this question? I for one am sickened by his pretense that he stands like Our Lord, innocent and silent[.]

Damian Thompson, the editor-in-chief of the U.K.’s Catholic Herald, stated on Twitter that there is a rumor that Pope Francis is “becoming isolated” as his denials of knowledge about clerical sex abuse, including by McCarrick, are badly received.

“Sense in Rome that the Pope is becoming isolated as one denial after another is greeted with scepticism (or worse). Much talk of Maradiaga, formerly closest papal ally, now utterly mired in scandal. Francis apparently adopting tactics of Cardinals Wuerl & Farrell re McCarrick,” he tweeted.

Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith, a frequent contributor to the Catholic Herald, tweeted that Archbishop Viganò was “vindicated.”

But Pope Francis’ English biographer, Austen Ivereigh, tweeted in response that Figueiredo’s disclosures reflected badly on the Vatican whistleblower.

“Viganò yet again proven a liar,” Ivereigh wrote.

“His claim was that Francis lifted McCarrick sanctions. Figueiredo shows sanctions were private, not legal and ignored by everyone incl. Benedict. McCarrick continued in 2013 as before, ‘without any sense of the lifting of sanctions.’”

Lucie-Smith then suggested that Ivereigh was shooting “the messenger.”

In Catholic World Report, author Christopher Altieri said Francis’s denials in this interview with Alazraki made the situation in the Church “worse” but also that Figueiredo’s partial confirmation of Viganò’s testimony made it “better.”

After saying Cardinal Wuerl’s “protestations of ignorance” about McCarrick were “increasingly implausible,” the author addressed Francis’s strangely repetitive disavowals.

“Pope Francis himself, in a lengthy interview with Televisa’s veteran Vaticanologist, Valentina Alazraki ... also offered protestations of ignorance. ‘About McCarrick, I knew nothing,’ Pope Francis said. ‘Obviously,’ he continued. ‘Nothing,’ he repeated, ‘nothing,’ he said again,” Altieri reported.

“Francis also said he could not remember whether the former nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, spoke to him about McCarrick when they met in 2013. ‘When [Viganò] says he spoke to me that day — he came — and I do not remember if he told me about this — if it is true or not,’ the Pope told Televisa. Viganò claims Francis asked him about McCarrick,” Altieri continued.

“Even if the former nuncio himself misremembers who initiated the conversation, Francis’s claim is that he can’t for the life of him recall whether his nuncio told him one of his cardinals is a pervert. Let that sink in.”

However, Altieri was heartened by Figueiredo’s decision to come clean on what he knows about the McCarrick cover-up.

“Truth will out,” Altieri concluded.

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Warner Bros. parent company says it will ‘reconsider’ Georgia filming if heartbeat law survives

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By Calvin Freiburger

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May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The parent company of the entertainment giant Warner Bros. is the latest major Hollywood company to suggest that it may boycott Georgia if the state’s law protecting preborn babies with detectable heartbeats overcomes a legal challenge.

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, starting in January 2020, it will ban abortions in all other cases as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed it into law earlier this month, declaring Georgia a “state that values life” and “stand(s) up for those who are unable to speak for themselves.”

The film industry generates substantial jobs and revenue for the Peach State, leading dozens of other celebrities to threaten a boycott to punish Georgians for enacting it. A handful of smaller studios have announced they’re refusing to film in Georgia, while prominent creators J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele have said they’ll donate profits from an upcoming project in Georgia to pro-abortion organizations. Director Ron Howard, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and the streaming service Netflix have also threatened to boycott if the law takes effect.

“We operate and produce work in many states and within several countries at any given time and while that doesn’t mean we agree with every position taken by a state or a country and their leaders, we do respect due process,” Warner Media said Thursday in a statement, Variety reports. Even so, it added, “We will watch the situation closely and if the new law holds we will reconsider Georgia as the home to any new productions. As is always the case, we will work closely with our production partners and talent to determine how and where to shoot any given project.”

Warner Media owns Warner Bros. (which in turn owns dozens of entertainment properties, including Marvel’s top competitor DC Comics, Cartoon Network, TMZ, and Turner Classic Movies), CNN, HBO, Cinemax, TBS, TNT, and more.

The qualifier about not having to agree with every policy of a given shooting location, combined with the non-committal language framing the final decision as resting on a variety of factors, may be an attempt to pre-empt a rejoinder like the one Disney and Netflix faced this week when critics noted that the companies continue to film in foreign nations where abortion is illegal and are willing to market their films in China despite the country’s actual human rights abuses such as its one- (or two-) child policy.

Other major Hollywood studios are holding their fire for the moment. The Motion Picture Association of America has said only that it will “continue to monitor developments.” Comedian Tyler Perry, who has a 330-acre studio in Atlanta, has declined to comment because, according to a Hollywood Reporter source, “he likes to stay way below the radar.”

Regardless, pro-life leaders are remaining defiant. U.S. senator David Perdue (R-Ga.) emphasized that despite Hollywood’s threats, the Peach State has once again been “rated for the sixth year in the row as the best state in the country in which to do business” by the trade publication Site Selection.

“We’re elected to do what’s right — and standing up for precious life is always the right thing to do,” Gov. Kemp said. “We are the party of freedom and opportunity. We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk.”

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Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood Federation of America's president for eight months.
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Abortion makes over half Planned Parenthood’s non-government income: analysis

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Planned Parenthood 2017 to 2018 annual report Revenue

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May 31, 2019 (Live Action News) — Planned Parenthood's estimated abortion revenue totaled more than half (52%) of the organization's non-government health services revenue, reaching nearly $200 million ($190.3) for the second year in a row, according to an analysis conducted by Live Action News.

The stunning numbers confirm what Planned Parenthood's new president Dr. Leana Wen claimed when she identified abortion as Planned Parenthood's "core mission." As Live Action News previously documented, in 2017, although Planned Parenthood claimed abortion made up just 3.4 percent of its services, the abortion vendor was able to increase abortions nearly four percent (3.54%), from 321,384 in 2016 to 332,757 in 2017, the highest number committed by the corporation since 2011.

To calculate the latest data, Live Action News used the same methodology utilized in 2016: examining revenue and median abortion costs and comparing them against reported abortion totals in Planned Parenthood's 2017–2018 annual report, in which the organization reported committing 332,757 abortions.

1. Average cost of abortions 

Planned Parenthood's website notes the cost of a surgical abortion:

An abortion in the first trimester can cost up to $1,500, but it's often less. The price of an abortion depends on where you get it (hospitals are often more expensive), and whether or not you have health insurance that will cover some or all of the cost. The cost also varies based on how long you've been pregnant — a second-trimester abortion usually costs more.

It also says this about the cost of a medication abortion:

The abortion pill can cost up to around $1000, but is often less. The cost of a medication abortion varies and depends on where you get it and whether or not you have health insurance that will cover some or all of the cost.

However, this year, Live Action News was able to locate more specific pricing at Planned Parenthood's website.

Early Abortion/Medication Abortion Pill

  • Planned Parenthood's former "special affiliate" the Guttmacher Institute, reports that the average amount paid for an abortion in a nonhospital setting at 10 weeks' gestation and with local anesthesia was $508, in 2014. The average paid for an early medication abortion (up to 9 weeks' gestation) was $535.
  • However, at Planned Parenthood, the cost of medication abortion in Indiana or Kentucky is $600, while in Kansas it ranges from $650–$700 and $700–$815, and in California Planned Parenthood charges $600– $750.

For our measurement, we will use $508 for early surgical abortions and $600 for medication abortions.

Here's what a medication abortion entails, according to former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino:

In-Clinic Surgical Abortion

  • Guttmacher's reported median cost at 20 weeks was $1,195 in 2014.
  • Planned Parenthood's Orange and San Bernardino facilities published a general range of $500 to $3,000.
  • Planned Parenthood's Ohio facility breaks abortion costs down as follows:
  • 13 – 13.6 weeks $625
  • 14 – 14.6 weeks $650
  • 15 – 15.6 weeks $800
  • 16 – 16.6 weeks $825
  • 17 – 17.6 weeks $950
  • 18 – 18.6 weeks $1000
  • 19 – 19.6 weeks $1100

For our measurement, we will average Planned Parenthood's Ohio abortion prices and use the $1,195 price for abortions past 21 weeks, although they are likely higher.

Abortions in the second trimester are often called dismemberment abortions as described in the video below:

2. Number of abortions by trimester

Live Action News broke down the 332,757 Planned Parenthood abortion numbers as follows:

  • Medication abortions: 103,155 (31 percent per Guttmacher's most recent abortion data)
  • Abortions 13–15 weeks 20,631 (6.2 percent per Guttmacher 2014.)
  • Abortions 16–20 weeks 12,645 (3.8 percent per Guttmacher 2014.)
  • Abortions 21 weeks and greater 4,326 (1.3 percent per Guttmacher 2014.)
  • First trimester surgical abortions: 192,000 — the remaining balance of abortions.

3. Estimated abortion revenue: $190,274,370

To determine Planned Parenthood's estimated abortion revenue, Live Action News multiplied the number of abortions by trimester with the average cost of abortions, as follows:

  • Medication abortions: 103,155 (31%)  x $600 = $61,893,000
  • Surgical abortions (first trimester): 192,000 (balance) x $508 = $97,536,000
  • Surgical abortions (13–15 weeks): 20,631 (6.2%)  x $650= $13,410,150
  • Surgical abortions (16–20 weeks): 12,645 (3.8%)  x $970= $12,265,650
  • Abortions after 21 weeks: 4,326 (1.3%) x $1,195 = $5,169,570

Total estimated abortion revenue using these figures is $190,274,370

Percentage of abortion revenue

We then broke down the percentage of abortion revenue using figures from a revenue statement located in Planned Parenthood's 2017–2018 annual report.

Note that there are two sources of revenue for "health services," which include:

  • Government Health Services Reimbursements & Grants (taxpayer dollars) — $563.8 million
  • Non-Government Health Services Revenue — $365.7 million

Percentage of non-government health services revenue: 52%

If we divide Planned Parenthood's estimated abortion revenue ($190,274,370) by the total non-government health center revenue of $365,700,000, we find that abortion makes up 52 percent of Planned Parenthood's non-government health services revenue.

Percentage of non-government health services plus tax dollar revenue: nearly 20.5%

However, even if we include the $563.8 million in government dollars with the $365.7 ($929,500,000 million), abortion revenue can be estimated at 20.5 percent of all Planned Parenthood's health services revenue.

Percentage of all Planned Parenthood revenue: 11.4%

Then, if we include all revenue sources ($1,665,100,000), abortion revenue would exceed an estimated 11.4 percent.

According to our calculations, over the past few years, estimated abortion revenue has steadily risen at the abortion corporation:

  • 2017: Estimated abortion revenue: $190,274,370
  • 2016: Estimated abortion revenue:  $177,631,103
  • 2015: Estimated abortion revenue:  $164,404,332

Between 2016 and 2017 government funding to Planned Parenthood (over half a billion dollars annually) rose nearly four percent (3.69%) even though the abortion vendor has been embroiled in numerous scandals, abuses and fraud, including covering up for child sexual predators as well as disgruntled employees, claiming a toxic work environment and pregnancy discrimination.

With increasing abortions generating millions in revenue for Planned Parenthood (while national abortion totals decrease) is it any wonder why actual health services like cancer screenings and well women exams at Planned Parenthood have decreased? Planned Parenthood has vowed in 2019 to focus even more on its abortion "cash cow," and if radical amendments such as the Equality Act or Medicare for All are passed, we can expect those numbers to skyrocket even more.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Italian Family Minister endorses procession of reparation for Gay Pride

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By Diane Montagna
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Procession of Reparation for the Public Scandal of Modena-Pride. The quotation beneath the image of the Sacred Heart reads: “In sins against nature, whereby the very order of nature is violated, an injury is done to God” (Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II q. 154, art. 12)

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ROME, May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Italy’s Minister for the Family has openly endorsed a “Procession of Reparation to the Sacred Heart” being held in the northern Italian city of Modena on Saturday, June 1. The aim of the procession is to atone for a “gay pride” event being held in the city the same day.

Asked about the event in a recent video interview, Lorenzo Fontana, Minister for the Family and vice-secretary for Italy’s Northern League party, said he “absolutely agrees” with the procession. 

“I am happy that you all are doing this, and I wish you good luck,” Fontana told organizers. “Let’s hope that no one thinks he can prevent a public demonstration, which is democratic. I hope that you will be able to do your best, because certain Christian values are the foundation of our history, our identity and our tradition, and we need to uphold them.” 

LifeSite spoke to one of the key organizers, Cristiano Lugli, ahead of the procession. Lugli, a young layman, talked about the importance of this public act of reparation, particularly in light of the “LGBT” lobby’s tightening grip on Italian school children through the promotion of gender theory in the classroom. 

Lugli also discussed the need for the Vatican to speak out. “The Holy See sometimes speaks against gender theory,” he said, “but then it receives ‘LGBT’ activists. This is a very serious matter.” 

He said that he and other organizers have received “every kind of insult” and “even death threats” for organizing the procession.

“We are not surprised by the gays or atheists who insult us,” he noted, “but by those ‘Catholics’ who tell us that we will burn in hell for having organized a reparation procession.”  

Many people, he said, have even invoked Pope Francis’s words to criticize the procession, telling organizers: “Who are you to judge?” 

“Unfortunately,” Lugli said, “the Church of Rome also has a great responsibility, since it has stopped teaching the Catechism and opened itself to the ideas of the world for fear of being judged. But it is the Church that has always judged the world, not vice versa.” 

“If the Church no longer stands as the guardian of the one Truth who is Jesus Christ, then everything becomes relative.”  

Here below is our interview with Cristiano Lugli on the Procession of Reparation.

LifeSite: Cristiano, tell us about the Procession of Reparation. 

Lugli: The public procession of reparation will be held in Modena on Saturday morning, June 1, at 10:00. It has been organized by the Committee of Saint Geminiano, a group of Catholic faithful from Modena and Reggio-Emilia who place themselves under the protection of the city’s patron saint: the fourth century bishop of Modena, San Geminiano. 

The Procession of Reparation is being held on the same day as a “gay pride” event in Modena. 

A large crucifix will be held aloft at the front of the procession. We will pray the rosary, chant the litany of the saints in Latin and make the act of reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus composed by Pope Pius XI. Extracts from Pius XI’s encyclical on reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Miserentissimus Redemptor, will also be read.

We believe that “gay-pride” is a very serious act against God, against Our Lady and against the Saints, because it tends to subvert the natural order willed by God himself. It is a public sin against nature, and the Magisterium of the Church teaches that a public and manifest sin must be met with a public act of reparation. This is the purpose of the procession.

The gay pride movement and “gender theory” have taken stronger hold in Italy, haven’t they?

Unfortunately, yes. “Gay pride” events have been organized to take place all over Italy early this summer. The “LGBT” lobby in Italy, as in the rest of the world, is very powerful. The “gay pride” march being held in Modena, for example, is being sponsored by the city: this means that it is also paid for with our taxes. This is absurd!

“Gender theory” is now widespread throughout the Italian school system, with children being exposed to it at a very young age. In recent years, a left-wing government introduced Law 107 (also known as “Good School” Law) insidiously injecting gender theory into academic curricula. There are also many “LGBT” associations that have gained ground in the schools through projects passed off as “sex education.”

Have similar acts of reparation been organized in the past, in Modena or in other cities?

Yes. Modena’s procession is the 4th great act of reparation since 2017. The first was held in Reggio Emilia and two others took place in Rimini. Other small acts of reparation for “gay-pride” events have been held in other cities as well.

I understand this procession has the support of the local archbishop of Modena, His Excellency Erio Castelluci. As far as you know, have local bishops shown support for processions of reparation in the past? 

In the case of the Reggio-Emilia and Rimini processions, the local bishops were substantially opposed to such acts of reparation. In the case of Modena, the Archbishop received us in a private audience and, although he specified that the initiative is not strictly speaking being organized by the diocese, he has nothing against the fact that this procession is taking place, and he shares our motivations for holding it. I believe he also lent support because the organizers of the “LGBT pride” event used a symbol of the Cathedral of Modena to create their logo: a truly blasphemous act, and I do not think the bishop liked it at all.

The “LGBT” group also committed another blasphemous act by photographing two young women kissing beneath the photo of our poster of the Sacred Heart.

In today’s secular and ecclesial climate, it can be risky for a bishop to show such support. Were you surprised?

In fact, it is somewhat surprising that the archbishop of Modena has taken this position, but I also believe that his stance is very valuable. A bishop is called to be a shepherd who is willing to defend the sheep and the Church in all things. But in times like these, we must also be content with those small gestures that give us hope...

You spoke about how “gender theory” has made its way into Italian schools. Italian children and adolescents are therefore at stake. Would you like Pope Francis, the Holy See and the Italian bishops to do more to fight gender theory?

Absolutely. The problem is that, so far, little has been done. Indeed, in Modena, in a “Catholic” school called “Scuola Madonna Pellegrina,” [School of Our Lady the Pilgrim] parents discovered that teachers had spoken to the children about gender theory. They started a collection of signatures to report everything to the bishop, but the bishop effectively denied that the problem existed. The Holy See sometimes speaks against gender theory, but then receives “LGBT” activists. This is a very serious matter.

Italy is a traditionally Catholic country, but secularism has taken hold to a large extent. How have Italians generally responded to the idea of a procession of reparation?

We have received insults of every kind, even death threats. Italy’s problem was the Christian democracy party, which governed for many years and turned Catholics into cowards. These “democratic Catholics” are democratic even when it comes to the Gospel. They profess to be Christians, but when you tell them, for instance, that God created marriage to be between one man and one woman, they say times have changed and the most important thing is to give the same rights to all. 

Therefore, we are not surprised by the gays or atheists who insult us, but by those “Catholics” who tell us that we will burn in hell for having organized a reparation procession. They say, “Jesus loves everything and everyone.” Unfortunately, the Church of Rome also has a great responsibility, since it has stopped teaching the Catechism and opened itself to the ideas of the world for fear of being judged. But it is the Church that has always judged the world, not vice versa. 

If the Church no longer stands as the guardian of the one Truth who is Jesus Christ, then everything becomes relative. Many people, in fact, use the words of Pope Francis and say: “Who are you to judge?" Unfortunately, there is also a lot of confusion on the subject of homosexuality.

Have you received any other notable support? And do you have any new hopes after the recent European elections?

The Saint Geminiano Committee has received the extremely important support of Italy’s Minister for the Family, Lorenzo Fontana. He is one of the few Catholic ministers. We interviewed him during a recent visit to Modena, and he absolutely agrees with our procession and supports it. Minister Fontana added that, contrary to what some people believe, it is important publicly to display Christian symbols, which he said are at the “foundation” of “our identity” and “our tradition.”

Although the sovereign front in Europe is still rather weak, even following the European elections, we hope that something will change. Particularly in Italy, it is important that political forces such as Matteo Salvini’s and Lorenzo Fontana’s League Party finds the strength to fight especially murderous laws uch as the legalization of abortion. They also will need to forcefully oppose the “LGBT” lobbies that aim to destroy the natural law and the purity and innocence of children. We’ll see, but in the meantime we trust in Divine Providence which will surely assist us on Saturday during the procession of reparation in Modena.

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Cancer-stricken seminarian’s wishes granted to be ordained a priest, say his first Mass

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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WARSAW, Poland, May 31 (LifeSiteNews) ― A cancer-stricken seminarian was ordained to the priesthood last week as he lay in a hospital bed.  

Father Michał Łos, who is seriously ill, was ordained to the diaconate and the priesthood last Friday, May 24 in the oncology ward of the Military Hospital in Warsaw by Bishop Marek Solarczyk, 52. He was surrounded by his religious superiors, other members of his order and his family.    

A member of “The Little Work of Divine Providence,” an order founded by St. Luigi Orione, Łos had taken his final monastic vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and loyalty to the Pope the day before.

According to Polish media, Łos comes from Dąbrowa Tarnowska, a town in southern Poland, and was studying at a theological seminary in Ołtarzew when, shortly before Easter, he was diagnosed with a rapidly-growing cancer. His religious superiors decided to allow him to take his final vows and also applied to Pope Francis for a dispensation so that he could be ordained a deacon and a priest in the same Mass.

The young priest’s greatest desire was to celebrate his first Mass. Fearing the he would not live long enough or have the strength to do so, Łos’s order published video and photographs of his ordination and appealed to the Polish nation to pray for him.

Daria Pietrzak of Częstochowa told LifeSiteNews that “an ocean of prayer” for the young priest came from “all over Poland,” and his dream came true: He was able to celebrate his first Mass.  

“This story moved me very much,” she added in Polish. “The desire of this young priest to become a priest, to be able to celebrate even just one Mass, was amazing.”

“Neither illness nor life was important to him; his only goal was to unite himself with Christ and celebrate just one Mass,” she continued

Pietrzak said that so many well-wishers flocked to the hospital to visit Łos that his order had to ask people over Facebook not to come. The Orionists explained that he is too ill to receive but just a few visitors and that his family must have priority.  

Pietrzak believes that the young man’s earnest desire to become a priest before his death was a “magnificent sign for Poland” given by God so soon after the release of a documentary about clerical sexual misconduct, Jeszcze nie mów nikomu (“Tell No One.”)

“We should pray for all priests at all times,” Pietrzak added.

Filip Mazurczak, a Polish-American student in Kraków, told LifeSiteNews today that there still does not seem to be a noticeable loss of faith in Catholicism in Poland since the documentary’s release.  

“Last night, I went to St. Mary's Church in Krakow's main market square,” he reported.

“The last Thursday of every month they hold what's known as "Chrystus w Starym Mieście" (“Christ in the Old City”) ― Mass and then Eucharistic adoration. The basilica was packed. Not only was there no room to sit, but there really was no place to kneel, either. Almost every square inch of the church was covered with people, the majority of whom were 25-35 years old,” he continued.

“Of course, this is just one church,” he admitted.  

“I think, though, that most practicing Catholics in Poland are able to separate the sins of some priests from the substance of the faith and realize that we go to church to encounter Christ, not the priest.”

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Conservatives MPs fight for religious freedom laws in Australia after rugby star’s firing

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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CANBERRA, Australia, May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Conservative MPs are demanding better protection for Australians of faith in the wake of a Christian rugby star losing his job for expressing his religious views on social media.

According to a report in the the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia’s former deputy minister, Barnaby Joyce, “wants laws to exempt religious beliefs from employment contracts.”

"You can't bring people's faith beliefs into a contract," Joyce told the Morning Herald.

"Your own views on who God is, where God is, or whether there's a God should remain your own personal views and not part of any contractual obligation."

The newspaper stated that Australia’s attorney general is “expected” to bring a “Religious Discrimination Act” to Parliament in July ― “acting on a pre-election commitment to boost protections for people of faith against discrimination and vilification.”

The issue of religious freedom in Australia, boiling under the surface throughout the strange trial of Catholic Cardinal George Pell for historical sexual abuse of a minor, burst into prominence with a bang when rugby star Israel Folau was fired for using social media to warn sinners that they will go to hell if they do not repent.

In April, Folau, 30, published a poster on Instagram reading “Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators, Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves.” Beside the image, he added, “Those that are living in Sin will end up in hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”

Quoting St. Paul's letter to the Galatians, Folau also posted, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians KJV 5:19-21).

Folau had earlier fallen afoul of LGBT activists, first in September 2017 by stating he would not vote for “gay marriage” in the Australian referendum on the issue, and then in April 2018 after he posted a humorous cartoon illustrating the difference between life as one plans it and life as God plans it.

When a commentator asked him what was God’s plan for gay people, Folau replied, “HELL … Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”

In the furor that ensued, Folau wrote a blog post entitled “I’m a Sinner Too” that explained his Christian beliefs.  

The disappearance of a top Christian athlete from his sport was unpopular with both religious Australians and rugby fans. Pundits are giving partial credit for the election of the new conservative Coalition government to the Folau situation.

“"People were a little bit shocked that someone could lose their job because of what they believe," Joyce told the Morning Herald. "It made everyone feel a bit awkward and uneasy."

The Morning Herald also reported that Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said the election had brought a “new dawn” on religious freedom.

“This is vitally important to not only address our concerns but afford protection against these constant incursions from Labor, the Greens and their acolytes. It’s a new dawn on this issue,” Fierravanti-Wells remarked.

Meanwhile, it’s not just the new government that is pledging to strengthen religious freedom. According to “Rugby Pass” online magazine, the Rugby Union Players’ Union (RUPA) “said there will be a review into players expressing religious beliefs and set out clear guidelines around the matter.”

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Sweden joins United Kingdom in denying refuge to persecuted Christians

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By Calvin Freiburger

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May 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Sweden’s hostility to Christians seeking asylum from the Middle East is a matter of life and death, according to an alarming new report from a Swedish Christian organization.

Jacob Rudenstrand, deputy general secretary of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, writes at The Stream that a recent review of 619 asylum cases involving Christian converts from Afghanistan found that 70 percent were rejected because their professions of Christianity were considered phony, despite the fact that those who leave Islam are risking their lives if they remain in their homeland.

Further, Christians seeking asylum are routinely subjected to theology “pop quizzes” to determine whether they are true Christians, on topics such as the Trinity, the sacraments, and various Christian denominations, as well as “some complex questions that not even experienced pastors have been able to answer.” Failing the test means deportation.

Worse, Rudenstrand says, is that the government often disregards churches and pastors who vouch for refugees’ faith. “Does the church report that the asylum seeker has been a faithful churchgoer?” he writes. “Been discipled? Been active in Sunday school or small groups? Confessed Jesus as Lord? Been baptized? It doesn’t matter.”

He adds that an asylum seeker’s prospects depend greatly on which political party controls the jurisdiction in which he or she applies. Judges appointed by the Sweden Democrats party rule against Christian converts 93 percent of the time, whereas judges appointed by the Left Party only reject 15 percent of converts’ applications.

“We are a secular government authority that [has] to test whether or not the belief is genuine. The job of the church, and the free church, is whether or not people should be part of the congregation,” Migration Agency chief legal officer Fredrik Beijer claims.

“Early next year the UN will review Sweden’s human rights record in the Universal Periodic Review,” Rudenstrand concludes. “For a country that prides itself for being a humanitarian superpower, the threat against Christians — especially those with a Muslim background — remains a blindspot.”

Other European countries have shown similar hostility to Christian converts from Muslim countries. In March, the United Kingdom’s Home Office initially refused an Iranian Christian’s asylum application because he claimed to have converted because Christianity was “about peace, forgiveness and kindness,” which a Home Office official who found his stated motive “inconsistent” with passages from Leviticus, Matthew, Exodus, and Revelations.

Christians native to Sweden fare little better in terms of religious liberty. Priests who refuse to perform same-sex “marriages” have been told to find other lines of work, schools have been forbidden from holding Bible lessons and pre-meal prayers, and the government has attempted to force midwives to participate in abortions.

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Canada’s state broadcaster uses Snapchat to introduce kids to sex, drugs, polygamy

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

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CALGARY, Alberta, Canada, May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Canada’s national broadcaster has been using social media popular with teens to introduce the young to harmful vices.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) first signed a deal with Snapchat in late 2017 and then created a deeper relationship with the photo-sharing platform in 2018. Since then the tax-funded media organization has been using raunchy Snapchat clickbait to get users, primarily teenagers, to answer quizzes or read articles about fringe sexual behaviours and drug use.

Last week, Keean Bexte, 25, of The Rebel Media explained to viewers that 90 percent of Snapchat users are aged between 13 and 24 and some are even younger. Predominantly female, Snapchat users use the platform for an average of 40 minutes every day. Snapchat makes its money through advertising, and the CBC partnered with the business to attract younger readers.  

“Now the CBC is not using Snapchat the way it uses Twitter or Facebook,” Bexte explained, “where there are real, critical adults scrutinizing their state-funded work.”

“The CBC is using Snapchat to speak directly to kids like a predator would if he were in a kid’s home if the parents weren’t there,” he continued. “Uncensored raw degeneracy.”

Among the stories being offered for the kids’ perusal is one, advertised with a photo of two young women gazing mistily at each other, about the benefits of “smoking narcotics before intercourse” and another, showing a man in bondage gear, about the sexual attractiveness of disabled people. Still another, published in full here, introduces kids to the concept of polygamy.

“I’m not exaggerating,” said Bexte. “The CBC urgently and repeatedly serves the 13-year-old boys of Canada clickbait to tell them how admirable it is to watch their future girlfriend run off and have sex with other men.”

To get the teens to read the actual story, the broadcaster’s Snapchat add briefly introduces “Alicia” and “Tristan” and then flirtatiously invites the children to “meet more non-monogamous daters.”

Bexte emphasized that Snapchat is used by teens and that the CBC knows it.

“This is explicitly directed at children,” he stated. “The CBC has read all of the metrics. They know who they’re serving these sex stories to.”

The young journalist was relieved that, when the CBC asked its Snapchat readers if they would try polygamy, 72 percent of them say no.

“Sex, drugs, pedophilia, disabled BDSM porn, underage porn consumption: the CBC is using a platform of kids to normalize degeneracy to Canadian youth,” Bexte said as he scrolled through a host of CBC snapchat ads featuring fetish gear, syringes, neon XXX, guns, gay cartoon characters, and sultry glances. “But don’t worry. We can actually stop them. Take your kid’s phone from them right now.”   

To make your views known to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, please contact the CBC online here, or call 1-866-306-4636 (toll free, Canada only), 1-866-220-6045  for the hearing impaired, or write to:

CBC National Audience Services
P.O. Box 500, Station A
Toronto, Ontario
M5W 1E6
Canada

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2020 ‘Catholic’ Dem candidate: Church is wrong on abortion, LGBT, all-male priesthood

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By Doug Mainwaring

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DES MOINES, Iowa, May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Democrat presidential hopeful Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) – who shocked the nation last week when she said that laws banning or limiting abortions are “against Christian faith” – has now gone further, declaring that the Catholic Church is wrong on abortion, homosexuality, and the priesthood.

“I think the Catholic Church can be wrong on many things. And I don't agree with their views on reproductive rights,” said Gillibrand, who was raised in the Catholic Church and still identifies as Catholic.

She also said she disagrees with the Church on “LGBTQ equality” and thinks Catholic priests should be allowed to marry and women should be ordained.

“I think they're wrong on those three issues,” said Gillibrand, adding, “I don't think they're supported by the Gospel or the Bible in any way. I don’t see it.”

“And I go to two Bible studies week,” insisted Gillibrand. “I take my faith really seriously. So I disagree.”

Gillibrand reiterated that she believes there should be no restrictions on abortion. Last week, she said in an Atlanta press conference that bills increasing protections for preborn babies with beating hearts are “horrifying.”  

“Already this year, Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky have all passed six-week abortion bills,” lamented Gillibrand, “with similar bills introduced in 10 other states. These are just some of the over 250 bills across the majority of state legislatures to restrict abortion access just this year.”

The New York Senator holds 100 percent pro-abortion ratings with Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

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‘Transgender’ student crowned prom ‘king’ at Massachusetts high school

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By Calvin Freiburger

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HYANNIS, Massachusetts, May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A female student who has “transitioned” to identifying as a male has been crowned prom king at a Massachusetts High School in a vote made possible because teachers deemed her eligible.

Nicole “Nicholas” Bulman is a 19-year-old senior at Barnstable High School who began identifying as transgendered starting in eighth grade, the Cape Cod Times reported. She legally changed her name and, after what she calls years of consultation with a primary care doctor, endocrinologists, psychologists, therapists, and a support group, has undergone testosterone treatments and gender-transition surgery.

Her school community has reportedly been so overwhelmingly supportive that Barnstable teachers named him as one of five candidates eligible for this year’s prom king, according to teacher and Class of 2019 adviser Lyn Vazquez. “He’s just an all-around great person,” she said. “Teachers at Barnstable High School felt Nick was a great candidate.”

Bulman ultimately won, the Times reported in a follow-up, attending prom last week in a beard and full tuxedo, alongside friend and prom queen Kalyani Clarke.

“It just feels like a weight’s off my shoulders, like I can be more free and open with all those around me and I’m happy with myself,” Bulman told CBS Boston. Her mother, Jaime Gallagher, said she “love(s) the fact that Barnstable High School validated and acknowledged Nick in that way.”

Bulman, who plans to study psychology at Bridgewater State University, told the Times last week she was “now putting myself on the road toward being comfortable in my own skin.” Other young people to attempt similar transitions have experienced very different outcomes.

The University of Cambridge’s Stonewall report found that 96 percent of trans students in Scotland attempted self-harm through actions such as cutting themselves, and 40 percent attempted suicide. Forty percent in the United States have attempted suicide, as well, according to a 2016 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). According to a 2011 study out of Sweden, trans people remain 19 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population, even after sex-reassignment surgery.

While studies have found a “honeymoon period” of “reported relief and happiness” after sex reassignment treatment, Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, warned that it doesn’t last. "Ten years beyond transition, however, rates of additional mental illness begin to rise precipitously, to the point that 30 years following surgical transition (mutilation), the suicide rate is 19 times greater than that of the general population,” she said.

In 2017, LifeSiteNews highlighted the example of Brad “Ria” Cooper, a young man who became the youngest person in the UK to undergo a sex-change operation at age 15. Just three years later, Cooper decided to “transition” back to male, and at age 23 decided to live as a woman again.

"Now I’m going to be me – and I hope I will finally be happy,” Cooper said.

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Judge temporarily allows Missouri’s last abortion center to stay open

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By Calvin Freiburger

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ST. LOUIS, Missouri, May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge gave a scandal-plagued abortion facility in St. Louis a temporary reprieve Friday, less than 12 hours before it would have had to surrender its abortion license to Missouri health officials. Had Planned Parenthood had to do that, Missouri would have been without an open abortion center.

Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region has been fighting the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services over its annual license renewal, arguing the state is trying to “intimidate” abortionists by making renewal contingent on interviewing them about patient complaints.

The abortion giant filed a lawsuit in St. Louis Circuit Court seeking a restraining order to preserve its license, without which it would have had to stop committing abortions once its current license expired at midnight. During hour-long oral arguments Thursday, health officials expressed concerns about “at least one incident in which patient safety was gravely compromised” and “failed surgical abortions in which women remained pregnant,” as well as an alleged violation of informed-consent requirements.

The facility’s two staff physicians already submitted to interviews, but health officials still want to interview five contract physicians regarding seven of the incidents flagged by inspectors. Planned Parenthood attorney Jamie Boyer claims the abortionists refuse to speak with them on the grounds that their answers “could lead to criminal charges due to Missouri's restrictive abortion laws,” in the AP’s words.

On Friday, Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer granted the facility a temporary restraining order allowing it to keep committing abortions, NBC News reports.

A temporary restraining order “does not purpose to pass upon the merits of a controversy or dispose of any issue,” Stelzer stressed. But Planned Parenthood “has demonstrated that immediate and irreparable injury will result if petitioner's license is allowed to expire.”

During a Wednesday press conference, Republican Gov. Mike Parson had said it “would be reckless for any judge to grant a temporary restraining order ruling before the state has taken action on a license renewal.”

“It was a patient complaint that actually prompted the investigation into the clinic, and they found multiple violations,” Susan B. Anthony List vice president for communications Mallory Quigley told PBS Thursday in support of pulling the license. “A woman who went in for an abortion actually remained pregnant. There's talk of botched abortions, failure to do proper informed consent.”

“Actually, an ambulance has been called to this particular facility in St. Louis more than 70 times since 2009,” she continued, adding that “we know what happens when public health officials don't inspect abortion facilities. It happened in Pennsylvania for 17 years,” invoking the case of the notorious Kermit Gosnell.

“The predatory abortion industry had the gall to argue in court that laws protecting women should not apply to them and that ‘access’ to abortion was somehow more important than what happens to women who are exposed to that ‘access,’” reacted Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America.

CNN reports that the case is slated to be taken up again on June 4. If the St. Louis facility is ultimately forced to stop committing abortions, the AP reports that next closest abortion facilities will be in Granite City, Illinois (ten miles from St. Louis) or Kansas City (260 miles from St. Louis).

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Dems accuse Secret Service of ‘squashing’ trans rally. They were securing area of man in flames

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By Calvin Freiburger

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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) accused the Secret Service of “squashing” a transgender rally Wednesday for no good reason, when in fact the spot had been caught up in the aftermath of a grisly, suicidal protest by someone else.

On Wednesday, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Transgender Law Center organized a rally outside of the White House to protest the Trump administration’s latest moves to protect conscience rights in healthcare and allow homeless shelters to restrict sex-specific facilities to actual biological members of that sex.

However, reports soon emerged that the Secret Service interrupted the rally and forced it to move to another location “without explanation,” prompting the DCCC to accuse them of abridging their First Amendment right to peaceful assembly:

In fact, the Secret Service was clearing the area after a 33-year-old Maryland resident Arnav Gupta had set himself on fire outside the White House. Gupta later died from his injuries; no motive for his actions is known at this time.

“All pedestrians around the White House complex were moved back for a short period of time due to security reasons and for personal safety,” a Secret Service spokesperson explained to the Washington Blade.

Two days after the fact, the DCCC has not taken down its original tweet insinuating the Trump administration was attempting to suppress protest of its policies, nor has it issued a follow-up correcting the record.

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'Sarco' death pod on display in Venice. exitinternational.net

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Euthanasia expert invents death pod with ‘die button’ that kills victims ‘within minutes’

By Martin Barillas
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'Sarco' designer Alexander Bannink and 'Dr. Death' Philip Nitschke discuss the death pod's design in a promotional video. Philip Nitschke / Vimeo screen grab
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An aged women looks into the 'Sarco' death pod on display in Venice. exitinternational.net
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A woman has a pretend moment in the 'Sarco' death pod on display in Venice. exitinternational.net

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

AMSTERDAM, May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An internationally recognized euthanasia expert known as “Dr. Death” has invented an “elegant and stylish” death pod in the shape of a coffin that users can climb into, push the “die button”, and meet their demise “within minutes” as liquid nitrogen quickly lowers the oxygen level. 

The death pod is the brainchild of Philip Nitschke, the founder of Exit International – an organization that promotes suicide – and is dubbed ‘Sarco’ since it can ultimately serve as a sarcophagus or coffin for the victim. 

“Sarco is a euthanasia device that uses liquid nitrogen to lower the oxygen level, delivering a peaceful death within minutes,” states a promotional video about what is being dubbed by its inventors as a “euthanasia machine.”

The machine is currently on display in Venice until November (see photos here). 

Instead of mass producing the death pod and encountering all kinds of legal problems in trying to market and sell a product that kills people, inventors have decided to release the plans so that victims can create the pod themselves by means of 3D printing machines.

Open source plans for the Sarco are to be made available online for this purpose.

“It’s beautifully designed. It’s functional in purpose. And its simplicity of its innovative technology is a wonder to behold,” said Australian Dr. David Swanton about the machine in a promotional video.

“It's utopian. It’s brave new world stuff, previously unthought of,” said Jan Clifford, an Australian, in praise of the machine in the video. 

Sarco designer and creator Alexander Bannink said the death pod was designed to make it as intuitive as possible to use. 

“You don’t want to explain to people that are on the verge of entering how to enter, because that needs to be clear from the design. So, there’s a handlebar, there’s a window that drives you towards that. The shape guides you, which is good...you can immediately see how to use it,” he said. 

Despite promising an empowering death experience where the user is entirely in control, users still need to obtain a code from a third party to activate the machine. 

“You can’t activate Sarco without obtaining a code. When you have that code, we are certain that you’re sane, that you’re sound of mind, and so you are eligible for a peaceful death,” said Bannink.

“And we have a 'die' button and also a 'stop' button, because that needs to be in there. There is also an escape hatch. So we make it a ‘safe’ product because that is what a good designer does,” he added, 

According to the Exit International website, Sarco's “elegant design” was "intended to suggest a sense of occasion: of travel to a ‘new destination’, and to dispel the ‘yuk’ factor” that is usually associated with killing oneself.  No drugs or skills or specialists are needed, while activation by eye movement or voice is anticipated to allow the capsule’s use by the disabled. “The goal of Sarco is to remove the need for any assistance,” the website states, adding that this "ensures any use of the Sarco is legal.”

"What could be better than having your family and close friends over for lunch, a glass of champagne — wines — and hop into the Sarco, and off you go on a peaceful, quick, and safe imaginary flight to heaven,” said Australian Sally Curlewis about the machine in a promotional video. 

Euthanasia and assisted suicide have been legalized in many countries including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and some U.S. states. Opponents to the practice note how a "slippery slope" effect in such countries has resulted in justifying death as a solution to more and more problems.

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I was raped and pregnant at 13. Abortion was the worst thing that happened to me

Julie Klose
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May 30, 2019 (Julieklose.com) – It was one of the last scenes in the movie Unplanned. Abby Johnson, played by actress Ashley Bratcher, had left her job at Planned Parenthood and was at the clinic’s gate boldly sharing with a young woman about protecting the life inside of her. It was while watching that scene when Serena Dyksen felt God telling her; it is now time to share her story. 

The release of the film Unplanned—the true-life story of former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson who became a pro-life advocate—has coincided with a wave of pro-life legislation enacted in numerous states, challenging the unconstitutional decision in Roe v. Wade. 

Alabama’s recent bold pro-life bill does not include an abortion exception for victims of rape or incest, creating a firestorm of opinions even among those who rally in support of overturning Roe v. Wade. 

But if you ask Serena Dyksen, if rape should be an exception to allow an abortion, then she wants her testimony to answer that question. 

“Women and men are sharing their opinions about abortion and the rape exception,” Serena commented. “Many are speaking about something they don’t know personally and are speaking on my behalf. But the truth is, they don’t know because they have not been through the trauma that I have experienced. It is time for me to talk about my rape and not let others speak for me.” 

Serena’s Planned Parenthood Story

Serena grew up in a dysfunctional home with her parents and one sister.  They moved quite frequently, and Serena remembers if her parents couldn’t pay their bills, then they would pack up and move; sometimes leaving in the middle of the night with only the clothes on their backs.

By the age of eleven years old, Serena’s family had moved next to a relative where she often babysat for their children. The husband in the home began to abuse Serena sexually, and at thirteen-years-old Serena found out she was pregnant. 

“I didn’t even know the word abortion,” Serena recalls. “I just remember my parents taking me to a doctor who mentioned that word and my mother saying, ‘Yes, we want an abortion.’ I didn’t understand the proper words to define my body at that age. I just let my mom answer all the questions for me because when you grow up in a dysfunctional family, sometimes the best thing to do is to remain quiet.” 

They scheduled the abortion, and Serena remembers the people at the clinic informing her mother to be prepared to be harassed by Christians when they got out of their car. “There was already a lot of tension in my home. But I remember being so stressed that there might be people yelling and screaming at us when we arrived at the clinic.” 

When they arrived at Planned Parenthood, there was no one outside the clinic. “My mom was so relieved that there were no ‘church people’ there,” Serena remembers.

Serena shares her experience at Planned Parenthood that day.

“We enter the clinic, and I was called back to a room alone. I remember the woman talking about clumps and describing abortion. She asked me if I understood, and I nodded yes, but I had no clue what was happening to me. She took me into another room where I lied down. The doctor came in and smiled at me and said, ‘This won’t take long.’ I remember experiencing the most excruciating pain that I had ever felt, and I began to scream. The doctor shouted at me to shut up. A nurse came in and held my hand, but nothing helped to relieve that kind of pain. They then moved me into a room with other women, and I sat down on a recliner chair. When I stood up from that chair, I remember a gush of blood coming out of me. My dad came in and carried me out to the car. After that day, my abortion was never talked about again.” 

Trauma and Redemption 

Several years later, at the age of sixteen, Serena and her boyfriend found out she was pregnant again. “My boyfriend was from a Christian family, and he knew sex outside of marriage was wrong, but when faced with our situation, he asked me what I thought about abortion.” Serena remembers her strong reaction to that painful word, “I said, ‘no way' and proceeded to tell him my whole tragic story when I was thirteen years old.” 

Together, Serena and her boyfriend agreed to not go through with the abortion and then his parents and their church community reached out to them. “Our church surrounded us with so much love and support. We had our daughter and got married. We didn’t know how to parent, but the church helped us. We were broke, but the church supported us,” Serena recalled. “The very people who Planned Parenthood said would be harassing us, were the people who loved and cared for us in our time of need!”

Serena and her husband were blessed with a son two years later, and by the age of twenty-three-years-old, they bought their first home and were living a good life as a family of four. 

But their happy home changed when the family experienced a traumatic event concerning their two children. That event triggered something inside of Serena, and she began to fall apart emotionally. “I realized that I had not dealt with my rape and abortion, and it led me to a path of destruction,” Serena acknowledged. “I moved out of the house, leaving my husband and my two children, and turned to drugs and alcohol to numb my pain. My husband was always there for me, but I pushed everyone away. I was running full-speed to hell!” 

After drinking heavily one night, Serena came to her breaking point. “People were tired of me reaching out for help and never following through. I had burned all my bridges,” Serena admitted. “I cried out to God in my car in my destitute and drunken state, and He met me there,” she testified. “I felt God telling me to go home, and by God’s grace, I made it home safely with my husband opening the door and welcoming me with open arms!” 

That was the last day Serena reached for alcohol or drugs. She went for counseling and began to experience complete healing for all the trauma in her life. One day, while reading the scriptures, the Lord directed her to Lamentations 3:55-58 (NIV): “I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” You took up my case; you redeemed my life.”

“God set me completely free,” Serena rejoiced! “He changed me forever!”

Life Has Purpose

Looking back on the abuse and trauma of her life, Serena has a very different perspective from the voices that try to speak on her behalf regarding the rape exception for abortion. “There is not a day that goes by where I do not think of that aborted baby. What if always comes to mind,” she questions. “I know God had a purpose for that baby. It doesn’t matter how that baby was conceived. That life had a purpose!” 

Serena knows the difficult circumstances surrounding rape and abortion. How do you bring a child into the world from such a tragic event is a question filled with doubt and uncertainty, but Serena wants to use her life story to answer that question with honesty. 

“I think it is easy for people to say rape is the worst thing that could happen to me. But they don’t know what I experienced behind those closed doors at Planned Parenthood,” she reflected. My abortion was traumatizing. They lied to me, and they didn’t love or care for me at the young age of only thirteen years old. Abortion did not fix the problem; it only added more trauma to my life.” 

When confronted with the question of whether rape is an exception to allow an abortion, Serena states emphatically, “No, absolutely not! It does not fix anything. It adds more pain, more lies, more guilt, and more shame. Abortion keeps women in shackles!” 

Today, Serena lives in complete freedom from her past, and she knows now is the time to talk about her healing. “God is so good!” she testifies.

 She finds comfort from Genesis 50:20 (ESV): “As for me, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Serena and her husband have been married for twenty-five years and are proud grandparents to a beautiful granddaughter. They both serve on the board of North Central Indiana Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug rehabilitation program for men. Serena ministers to women in jail and those out on the streets. She shares her story and the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that brings healing and redemption. 

“I didn’t want to share this part of my life,” Serena admits. “I felt people would look down on me, but that is such a lie! People need to talk about abortion and rape. The church needs to talk about it. Some women are not ready to talk about their past abortion, but when they are, the church needs to be prepared to walk alongside them, love them, and point them to the cross for their healing. Discipleship is not easy, and sometimes it’s messy, but I am so grateful that I had people in the church who loved me and directed me to the truth of God’s word.” 

If Serena could pass on one message of hope to women who have not dealt with the pain of their abortion, it would be that there is healing. She shares, “Everyone needs to walk through the healing process of their past abortion, no matter the circumstances. If you don’t, you will be walking through deception, pain, and all the bondage that goes with that. But the same God who sent people to show His love for me is the same God that will redeem your life too. I want to share my testimony because it is God who shines through my story!” 

Passionate about the issue of life, Julie Klose is a freelance writer and blogger at JulieKlose.com. She is the author of "Giving Hope An Address: The Teen Challenge Legacy Story" and serves as a regional coordinator for Care Net’s Making Life Disciples ministry.  This article first appeared on  www.julieklose.com here. It is reprinted by permission of the author.

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Parent companies of CBS, NBC may join Hollywood boycott of pro-life Georgia

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By Nicholas Fondacaro

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 31, 2019 (NewsBusters) — In recent years, Georgia has become something of a second home for Hollywood as the state has opened itself up to filmmakers. But ever since the state took a stand to defend the lives of the unborn, the liberal elites on the other side of the country have demanded Georgia bend to their will or face a boycott. CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News not only hyped the boycott Thursday, but also touted that their parent companies might join in.

NBC actually put off covering the ongoing tornado threats across the Midwest and East Coast to first panic about the spread of pro-life laws. "And tonight, the battle over abortion is being waged more intensely than it has been in decades and on multiple fronts. Missouri is now poised to be the first state in the nation without an abortion clinic," fill-in anchor Savannah Guthrie fretted at the top of the program.

Towards the end of the report, correspondent Anne Thompson touted how "a similar law in Georgia may cost it lucrative film business." She then boasted about how "NBCUniversal, Netflix, and Disney [are] all weighing the impact and possibly pulling production from the state."

She also shared a soundbite of Disney CEO Bob Iger making the argument for leaving Georgia behind. "Many people who work for us will not want to work there and we'll have to heed their wishes in that regard," he said.

Disney owns ABC News, which means they too were wrapped up in the boycott. But unlike their broadcast competitors, they didn't gloat about their involvement Thursday evening. And as The Daily Caller's Peter Hasson pointed out Thursday night, Disney has no problem cracking down on Georgia but has no problem partnering with communist China, which currently is putting Muslims in internment camps: 

Disney opened a $5.5 billion resort in Shanghai, China, in 2016. Iger called Shanghai Disney the company's "greatest opportunity since buying land in Florida." Disney partnered with a state-owned media company, Shanghai Shendi Group, for the resort.

(...)

Chinese authorities in 2018 "dramatically stepped up repression and systematic abuses against the 13 million Turkic Muslims, including Uyghurs and ethnic Kazakhs, in China's northwestern Xinjiang region," Human Rights Watch noted in its annual report on China.

(…)

Chinese authorities in March implied it would not cease operating its internment camps until the country has no more Muslims to put in the camps.

"Unexpected consequences of this divisive issue," Thompson mocked as she wrapped up the segment.

The CBS version came in the form of a news brief from fill-in anchor and Face the Nation moderator Margaret Brennan:

More backlash tonight over Georgia's new abortion law. CBS, Sony, Disney, Warner media, and NBCUniversal have joined Netflix in saying they may stop production in Georgia. The law would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, that's as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Now, since all three of the broadcast networks and Warner Media are toeing the liberal line and essentially protesting against pro-life laws, will CNN join them and move out of Atlanta?

The transcripts are below.

CBS Evening News
May 30, 2019
6:52:55 p.m. Eastern

MARGARET BRENNAN: More backlash tonight over Georgia's new abortion law. CBS, Sony, Disney, Warner media, and NBCUniversal have joined Netflix in saying they may stop production in Georgia. The law would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, that's as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

NBC Nightly News
May 30, 2019
7:01:43 p.m. Eastern

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Good evening I'm Savannah Guthrie in for Lester. And tonight, the battle over abortion is being waged more intensely than it has been in decades and on multiple fronts. Missouri is now poised to be the first state in the nation without an abortion clinic. Protests are erupting again tonight in the wake of strict new abortion measures passed in the south. One more signed into law just today and we're starting to see the fallout. We begin tonight with NBC's Anne Thompson.

[Cuts to video]

ANNE THOMPSON: Supporters of abortion rights taking to the streets of St. Louis.

MALE PROTESTERS: Our abortion rights are here to stay.

THOMPSON: Some arrested after a sit-in waiting for a federal judge's ruling on the license renewal of Missouri's only abortion clinic. Unrelated to the state's new law banning abortion after eight weeks.

M'EVIE MEAD [Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri]: We do not want to be the first state in the nation to lose access to safe, legal abortion. And that is what this state is trying to do and we saw that in court today.

THOMPSON: Planned Parenthood argued the state's health department keeps moving the goalpost in an effort to shut down its abortion services. Governor Mike Parson said yesterday the state is just doing its job.

GOV. MIKE PARSON: This is not an issue about the pro-life issue at all. This is about a standard of care for women in the state of Missouri.

THOMPSON: More protests in Louisiana today as it officially became the latest state to outlaw abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE LOUISIANAN LAWMAKER: Do we value the life of an unborn baby?

THOMPSON: A similar law in Georgia may cost it lucrative film business. NBCUniversal, Netflix, and Disney all weighing the impact and possibly pulling production from the state.

BOB IGER: Many people who work for us will not want to work there and we'll have to heed their wishes in that regard.

PROTESTERS: Fight back. Stand up.

THOMPSON: Unexpected consequences of this divisive issue. Anne Thompson, NBC News.

Published with permission from NewsBusters.

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards
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Louisiana’s Dem governor signs bill protecting babies with beating hearts from abortion

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By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

This story has been updated (May 31, 2019 09:51 A.M. E.T.).

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Louisiana just became the latest state to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, thanks to the signature of a rare pro-life Democrat.

On Wednesday, the Louisiana House voted 79-23 to give final approval to legislation that forbids aborting any baby with a detectable heartbeat, except to “prevent the death of a pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman,” or if the baby “has a profound and irremediable congenital or chromosomal anomaly that is incompatible with sustaining life after birth.”

Violating abortionists could be punished with up to two years in prison and losing their medical licenses, Fox News reports. The measure does not contain exceptions for babies conceived in rape or incest and will not take effect until Mississippi’s heartbeat law is upheld in federal court, sparing Louisiana another legal battle of the kind that has cost it more than $1 million since 2014.

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed he would sign the bill in a statement, declaring he “ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight years” and has “been true to my word and my beliefs on this issue.”

“I know there are many who feel just as strongly as I do on abortion and disagree with me — and I respect their opinions,” he added at the time. “As I prepare to sign this bill, I call on the overwhelming bipartisan majority of legislators who voted for it to join me in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us and provides more opportunity for everyone.”

Heartbeat legislation bans abortions much earlier than allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s current “viability” threshold, all but ensuring a lawsuit in other states. While some Republican politicians have been wary of incurring the costs of a legal battle they expect to lose, others advocate heartbeat bills specifically as vehicles to provoke challenges they hope will reach the U.S. Supreme Court and finally overturn Roe v. Wade, thereby restoring the American people’s right to vote directly on their own abortion laws. Many pro-life activists point out that even moderate pro-life laws also face costly legal challenges.

Since taking office, Edwards has also signed a 15-week abortion ban, a 72-hour abortion waiting period, and a ban on dismemberment abortion procedures (though he also unsuccessfully tried to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to state discrimination laws by executive fiat). Last month, Louisiana’s House advanced a referendum that would establish there is no “right” to abortion in the state’s constitution.

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State rep. Avery Bourne of Illinois's 95th District. Daily Caller via YouTube
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‘That is wrong’: Pregnant Illinois state rep blasts radical abortion bill

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By Lisa Bourne

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Illinois state representative Avery Bourne gave an impassioned appeal against the proposed Reproductive Health Act in the Illinois General Assembly Tuesday as the Illinois House was poised to pass the radical abortion bill.

Bourne, who is herself expecting a baby in July, displayed emotion and gave personal witness when depicting the risk to unborn life posed by the extreme bill, termed “the most radical proposed in any state to date.”

“This bill will mean that for a woman at my stage in pregnancy, where the baby responds to his dad’s voice as he reads him books at night,” she said, “the woman could go to the facility, the baby’s perfectly healthy, but if that woman says based on my familial health, this is medically necessary, that is allowed.”

“We are talking about the most expansive bill we have seen in this state,” stated Bourne, “and one of the most expansive across the country.”

“We already know we’ve got women coming to Illinois to have abortions because we are so expansive on this issue,” she added. “That will continue.”

“This bill is not about keeping abortion legal in Illinois,” Bourne emphasized. “This bill a massive expansion that will impact viable babies — and that is wrong.” 

She then exhorted the House’s members to vote against the bill.

The Illinois House passed the bill Tuesday, repealing the state’s partial-birth abortion ban, allowing non-doctors to commit abortions, and eliminating protections for babies born during botched abortions. It eliminates requirements to investigate fetal deaths or maternal deaths resulting from abortion and strips away conscience protections for pro-life health care workers, as well as forces health insurance policies — including religious organizations — to cover abortions.

The bill expressly declares that the unborn child has no rights, establishing “the fundamental right” of a pregnant woman to have an abortion and stating, “A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent 

Bourne’s remarks came amid nearly two and a half hours of debate on the controversial law, after much pursuit on the part of the Republican lawmaker to get answers from the bill’s sponsor, Democrat Representative Kelly Cassidy, on the bill’s definitions.

“We hear a lot of really personal, emotional stories from the other side of the aisle about why this is so important to them,” Bourne said. “Whether or not this passes, abortion remains legal in Illinois. It remains legal, really, with broader legality than many, many other states where abortion is legal.”

“This is a broad expansion,” Bourne said. “Not only does it repeal important provisions that put in statute what we value as a state, like protecting the women who die during an abortion, like protecting the rights that if parents object to their child’s abortion, they don’t have to pay for it. It takes out measures that we have legislated over the years because we think it’s important to stand up for the people who are impacted.”

“More than that,” she told the Assembly, “we are not requiring that this legislature will ever know how this bill is being interpreted.”

Bourne told her fellow lawmakers the bill would entail extensive changes in what it means for a fetus to be viable and what it means for the health of the patient to determine post-viability abortions.

“This bill will mean that if a baby requires extraordinary medical measures after they’re born,” she said, “doctors could determine up to the 40th week of pregnancy that that baby was never viable because it had to be flown to the NICU after it was born.”

“This bill means that if the baby is viable, a doctor can determine that the post-viable abortion can still take place based on a number of factors that include familial health and the age of the woman,” continued Bourne.

“Familial health, by the way, we still haven’t gotten any kind of definition for,” she said, referencing her attempts to get answers from the bill’s sponsor earlier in the debate. “That could take on a broad range of applicability.”

The bill passed 64 to 50 and is now before Illinois’s Democrat-controlled state Senate.

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Carole Novielli

Opinion

It’s a complete lie that Roe v. Wade saved thousands of women’s lives

Carole Novielli
By
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Illegal Abort11ion Deaths 1930 to 1979 updated (Graph credit: Live Action News)
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CDC Abortion deaths 1972 to 1990
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May 31, 2019 (Live Action News) — When abortion bans are in the news, the usual scare tactic claimed by abortion supporters is that when abortion is illegal, thousands of women die. They typically point to entirely fabricated numbers of women who died from illegal abortions just prior to Roe v. Wadeciting a debunked statistic of between 5,000 and 10,000 annually. A more recently cited number claiming "thousands of women [are] dying from abortion every year" dates all the way back to the 1940's — before antibiotics were invented. These inflated numbers were created intentionally to garner sympathy for decriminalizing abortion.

Live Action News has broken down this data in more detail previously, including debunking Planned Parenthood's false claims multiple times. Here's a summary of facts:

1. Hundreds of thousands of women did not die from illegal abortions annually

  • Former NARAL founder Bernard Nathanson admitted that the 5,000 to 10,000 death figure fed to the public and media in the late 1960's was fabricated.
  • The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) found: 'The frequently quoted figure of 5,000–10,000 deaths from abortion annually appears unrealistic…."
  • A 1975 report by National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine noted: "It is difficult to find credible estimates of the number of deaths associated with illegal abortion. One estimate, which has been frequently quoted, is between 5,000 and 10,000 deaths per year. That is hardly plausible, considering that the total number of deaths of women aged 15–44 from all causes in the United States is approximately 50,000 annually, and the total number of deaths due to abortion reported by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has been below 500 since 1958 and below 100 since 1971."
  • Others (see below) including abortion proponents, reveal illegal abortion death numbers drastically lower than what is regularly cited.

2. Abortion death numbers were purposely inflated to scare politicians and manipulate the public

  • Dr. Christopher Tietze, an abortion advocate once awarded Planned Parenthood's infamous Margaret Sanger Award, suggested in 1967 that the inflated illegal abortion death numbers were made up to scare politicians into legalizing abortion. "The higher estimates are made by people who feel in order to raise sympathy for liberalized abortion laws they have to make people afraid," he said.


Tietze Illegal Abortion Deaths Inflated 1967.

3. The year Roe was decided, legal abortion killed more women than illegal abortion

  • By 1973, abortion had already been legalized in several states. CDC reports, which can be found in this table, reveal that in 1973, the year the Supreme Court ruled in favor of abortion, more women died from "legal" abortion than "illegal" abortions. (25 v. 19)

Live Action News previously documented that while legalizing abortion resulted in a drastic increase in abortions, it did not necessarily equate to safer abortions, especially in the first few years after Roe was decided. Even today, women are injured and killed after seeking legal abortions

4. No one knew exact illegal abortion death numbers, but acknowledged that numbers were inflated

  • In 1967, statistician Christopher Tietze called the inflated numbers "unmitigated nonsense," adding, "we have no real basis for guessing which extreme is closer to the truth." He then suggested that merely liberalizing abortion "probably would not have a big impact on mortality."
  • In 1969, the very first abortion surveillance report was published by the Centers for Disease Control, noting a "lack of accurate incidence, prevalence, morbidity and mortality data" on abortion. According to this same CDC report, in 1966, the National Center for Health Statistics reported 189 maternal deaths from abortion complications.

Today, although the CDC reports legal abortion deaths, many believe they could be under-reported. Years ago, I was personally told by a medical examiner "off the record" that abortion deaths are "covered up regularly."

5. Antibiotics decreased the number of Illegal abortion deaths

The Guttmacher Institute writes that by 1950, "just over 300" women died from illegal abortion, adding that it was most likely "because of the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s, which permitted more effective treatment of the infections that frequently developed after illegal abortion."

6. Small percentage of women went to non-medical personal for illegal abortions

Mary S. Calderone, medical director of Planned Parenthood, 1959: "Whatever trouble arises usually comes after self-induced abortions, which comprise approximately 8 per cent, or with the very small percentage that go to some kind of nonmedical abortionist."

7. Physicians referred patients to colleagues for illegal abortions

Mary S. Calderone, medical director of Planned Parenthood, 1959: "Another corollary fact: physicians of impeccable standing are referring their patients for these illegal abortions to the colleagues whom they know are willing to perform them…"

8. Physicians committed the majority of illegal abortions

  • Former Planned Parenthood president Alan Guttmacher, Harvard Crimson December 5, 1967: "Seventy per cent of the illegal abortions in the country are performed by reputable physicians, each thinking himself a knight in white armor."
  • Mary S. Calderone, medical director of Planned Parenthood, 1959: Called abortion "no longer a dangerous procedure," because it was being committed by physicians, saying "…90 per cent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians."

9. Illegal abortions were often classified as "therapeutic" (to save a woman's life) so they could be done by doctors:

Mary S. Calderone, medical director of Planned Parenthood, 1959: "What we have to admit is, as was repeatedly emphasized, that most therapeutic abortions are in the strictest sense of the law actually illegal."

For more, visit:

Read Part One of this "Don't be fooled" series here.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Minister Rob Schenck. CBS Sunday Morning via YouTube
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Dear pastor Rob Schenck, you betrayed unborn babies and are now peddling a lie

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By Ryan Bomberger

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies. Sign the petition here.

May 31, 2019 (Radiance Foundation) — Dear Rob Schenck,

In your New York Times propaganda piece, entitled "I Was an Anti-Abortion Crusader. Now I Support Roe v. Wade," you say that overturning Roe "should not be anybody's idea of victory."

Killing over 60 million innocent human beings and harming countless mothers and fathers shouldn't be anybody's idea of victory, "Reverend" Schenck.

This is the most ignorant promotion of evil I've seen from someone who clearly knows what he's peddling is a lie. Imagine the Op-Ed title: "I Was Once an Anti-Slavery Crusader. Now I Support Dred Scott v. Sandford." I can't imagine what it's like to fight the injustice of the slaughter of innocent human lives for decades and then put a stamp of approval on that very practice. I've actually worked in impoverished neighborhoods ravaged by violence, poverty, crime and hopelessness. I can guarantee you the solution was, and is, never more death. 

Your pro-abortion rhetoric is nothing new. Why is abortion a tragedy? I noticed you put "baby killing" in quotes and never once say why abortion is a tragedy. 

Child abuse is a tragedy. Several of my siblings experienced horrific abuse at the hands of their biological parents. But they weren't better off dead. They were better off loved. This brings me to yet another pathetic omission in your pro-abortion screed.

You wrote: "I can no longer pretend that telling poor pregnant women they have just one option — give birth and try your luck raising a child, even though the odds are stacked against you — is 'pro-life' in any meaningful sense." You say you worked to fight Roe v. Wade for 30 years, yet adoption never made its way into your lexicon?

I was conceived in rape yet adopted and loved. I'm an adoptive father. I was not better off dead. My children were not better off dead. Did you ever extend your family and your resources to a vulnerable child in foster care or to an expectant mother who wanted a better life for her child?

Of course you know what you say about pregnancy resource centers and the Church is a lie. Churches are the biggest funders of pregnancy centers and outreaches to the poor. You conveniently ignore the work of the Salvation Army, Operation Blessing, Samaritan's Purse and the Catholic Church. Apparently, you've never visited phenomenal anti-poverty, pro-family, pro-life ministries like People for People in Philadelphia, Bartow Family Resources in Cartersville, GA, or the Jericho Partnership in Danbury, Connecticut. I've keynoted at events for these and many other places like them that do all the things you claim pro-lifers don't do. 

But it's easy to pretend that hope and help don't exist. It somehow assuages your indefensible support of the violence of abortion.

I'm sorry you think less of your "status" of being a white man. I thank God for the elected white men who fight injustice. I thank God for those "upper class white men" who abolished the "tragedy" of slavery so that I'm not on some auction block here in northern Virginia today. You conveniently ignore the women who fight for it, legislatively and culturally, because that doesn't fit into your tragic and borrowed narrative. You know, of course, that the majority of those leading America's pro-life organizations are women. But fighting for what's right knows no gender or socio-economic status.

Frederick Douglass started his own newspaper, the North Star, because of fake news like the New York Times which refused to tell the truth about slavery. The motto of his liberating paper was: "Right is of no Sex — Truth is of no Color — God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren."

Brethren shouldn't lie to each other or advocate for the destruction of one another.

I'm sorry you've decided to try to snuff out the Light and millions of lives along with it. Your Op-Ed concludes: "Passing extreme anti-abortion laws and overturning Roe will leave poor women desperate and the children they bear bereft of what they need to flourish." 

Roe doesn't eliminate poverty. It doesn't erase desperation. And you can't flourish if you're never born.

Roe never empowered women; it empowered men to have sex and run. Fatherless families create vulnerable communities which are, in turn, devastated by the consequences of father absence: higher poverty rates, higher crime rates, higher drug usage, higher abortion rates, higher school drop-outs, higher incarceration rates. And the men who want to stay, protect and provide for the life they've helped to co-create — can't. Roe allows other hired men (which most abortionists are) to kill his child for any reason throughout the entire pregnancy. I noticed you never mention the hundreds of women killed by botched abortions and the millions physically, emotionally, and psychologically harmed by it. Abortion is fake health that significantly increases risk of preterm births (one of the leading causes of infant mortality), triple-negative breast cancer and negative mental health outcomes. 

"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community." As a minister, I'm sure you're all too familiar with Proverbs 6:16–19.

You've chosen to rush into evil for the enabling of the shedding of innocent blood with an abortion industry that devises and daily carries out its wicked schemes. Your Op-Ed is a false witness that pours out fatal lies as you stir up conflict in the community for the benefit of those who profit from death.

It's not your former allies you need to worry about. We'll keep on doing the hard work of loving people (regardless of what decision they make) and sacrificially providing what those in crisis need to rise above. We'll keep defending every human life made in the image of God, born and unborn. We'll keep proving, in a Philippians 4:13 way, that we're all stronger than our circumstances. It's the God of Justice that you'll have to explain your broken view of humanity to one day. 

Sincerely,

Ryan Bomberger
Co-Founder of The Radiance Foundation

Published with permission from The Radiance Foundation.

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Professor John Rist. Franciscan University of Steubenville via YouTube
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Scholars criticize Vatican-backed universities for banning prof who accused pope of heresy

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PETITION: Ask Vatican-backed university to remove ban of renowned scholar Dr. John Rist. Sign the petition here.

May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Several Catholic scholars have raised their voices against pontifical universities’ ban on Professor John Rist in the wake of him signing an open letter accusing Pope Francis of heresy.

As LifeSiteNews has reported, Professor John Rist, an 83-year-old distinguished scholar of classical philosophy, has been banned from any access to the pontifical universities, and this without any prior notice or conversation. When he arrived on May 25 at the Augustinianum in Rome, he was told he could not park his car there anymore and that he has been banned. Rist has not even been formally informed as to why he has been banned, though he suspects that it is due to his signing the open letter to bishops. The scholar also was told that he was not to continue to help one student with his doctoral dissertation.

Professor Rist called his being treated in this manner a “less than Christian response.”

Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., founder and former editor-in-chief of Ignatius Press, told LifeSiteNews that “if this report is true — and I haven’t verified it — it is an outrage, and a very ironic one at that.”

He pointed out that there are many at Catholic universities who dissent in “authoritative” matters and are never disciplined. Such dissent is so widespread, he said, that it is the “new normal.”

“Pope Emeritus Benedict correctly located the root of the sexual abuse crisis in the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and the subsequent collapse of moral theology in seminaries and universities. But, apart from Charles Curran, I don’t recall any professors being banned from Catholic universities for their dissent from Humanae Vitae. In fact that dissent is the ‘new normal’ to this day.”

Fessio noted that in Rist’s case, the professor “did not deny or reject any Catholic teaching.”

“He can be criticized — and has been — for signing the document,” he said, “but what happened to academic freedom?”

PETITION: Ask Vatican-backed university to remove ban of renowned scholar Dr. John Rist. Sign the petition here.

In his conclusion, Father Fessio summed up the situation in the Church as follows: “The present situation is: a professor in a Catholic institution has freedom to reject authoritative Catholic teaching, but not to criticize the pope. Chesterton would call that topsy-turvydom. I would call it something worse.”

Dr. Edward Feser, a Catholic author and philosopher who teaches at Pasadena City College in California, commented on his own blog on the recent news about Professor Rist. Feser says that, while he himself has been “critical” of the Open Letter itself, “this strikes me as undeservedly shabby treatment.”

Feser then comes to the defense of the honor of Professor Rist, saying that “whatever one thinks of his views,” he is “not some hotheaded pamphleteer or hack blogger.”

“He is a serious thinker, an eminent scholar of classical and early Christian philosophy, the author of many important books, a longtime professor at the Catholic University of America, and a loyal and orthodox son of the Church.”

Dr. Feser, similar to Father Fessio, puts the treatment of Rist in the context of the fact that “Vatican officials persistently refuse to address the actual substance of the arguments of critics — and indeed, refuse even just to answer straightforward questions like the dubia.” At the same time, however, “heterodox Catholic academics and public intellectuals are largely allowed free rein,” and thus “this sort of action seems extremely petty, to say the very least.”

“Even dissidents like Hans Küng and Charles Curran, who were disciplined by the Church under Pope St. John Paul II, were first given due process and the opportunity to defend themselves,” he added.

Not being sure whether or not Pope Francis is aware of this harsh treatment of Professor Rist, Dr. Feser hopes that “should he [the pope] learn of it, he will urge the relevant officials to show to Prof. Rist the mercy that the pope has so heavily emphasized during his pontificate.”

LifeSiteNews reached out already yesterday to the Vatican Press Office, informing Pope Francis about the story and asking him whether he wished to intervene in the Rist case for the sake of mercy. There has been no reply so far.

Matthew Schmitz, editor of First Things and a contributor to the Catholic Herald, took to Twitter to comment on this piece of news. While posting the LifeSiteNews report on Professor Rist, the journalist stated: “Now we have news that men who have given long service to the Church, accused of no heresy, are being subjected to informal sanctions, without any opportunity to mount a defense or recant.”

He added that he does not agree with the letter on heresy signed by Prof. Rist “because it draws conclusions that don’t quite follow.” “But I deplore the underhanded and selective treatment he is receiving, when many, many Catholic theologians flirt with heresy.”

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Signs and wonders in our midst: the transformed lives of former LGBT people

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By Doug Mainwaring

PETITION: 'Dump Netflix' over their attack on unborn babies.  Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The “straight” world — shorthand for those who do not identify as LGBT — has bought into lies asserting the normalcy of homosexuality, transgenderism, and the redefinition of marriage to such an extent that disagreeing with the new LGBT dogma is no longer just a violation of "political correctness" but is increasingly criminal.  

To not honor sodomy is seen as perverse, and to seek to prevent the mutilation of the sexual organs of your children is deemed “child abuse,” an offense that can trigger losing custody of your child.    

The “straight” world is lost, having made itself subservient to LGBT masters who have dubbed them “Cisgender,” a term that makes being in harmony with nature sound abnormal.

What is the answer for a beguiled world that lacks the requisite intellectual curiosity, allegiance to truth, and will to free itself? Where will it come from?  

The beacon that will lead society out of this thick darkness may very well arise from a surprise source: former homosexual and transgendered persons.    

Ex-gays and ex-trans leading the way out of the sexual revolution   

Last year, I heard former lesbian Elizabeth Woning, co-founder of Equipped to Love, speak in Washington, D.C.    

“I really believe revival is erupting from the gay community,” declared Woning.  

Addressing a group of former gay, lesbian, and transgendered people in front of her, Woning said, “We are the first fruits of the beginning of a revival that is coming to America.”

Her words, though spoken softly, were riveting. Prophetic.      

Afterward, I asked her if she could expand on her amazing declaration.

“The transformed lives of once gay people are a sign and a wonder to our generation,” wrote Woning, answering my question in her blog.

“In an age when it seems impossible for sexuality or gender to align to scripture, it is happening,” she continued. “Past generations sought physical healing as a sign of God’s presence, but what if today restoration of sexuality and gender were the miracle?”

“God is doing it. He is on the move on behalf of gay people everywhere,” she added. “A new Rainbow People movement is on the rise with an unexpected message of transformation.”

A whisper

“In December 2017, I was awakened early one morning while I was ministering in England. I heard a whisper that filled me with excitement,” recounted Woning.  

“God is on the move among gay people and He is doing unexpected things,” continued the small whisper. “Yours is the first wave of revival for the gay community. He is announcing His truth. He is restoring human identity.”

Woning continued:

Immediately, I realized for the first time the gravity of our mission here at Equipped to Love. One of the profound and foundational values we hold is that freedom, complete freedom from same-sex attraction and gender confusion, is available to LGBTQ people who desire it. In fact, that’s a risky core value, because many ministries before us have wavered on that point. Testimonies from the generation before us reveal so many failed stories of this pursuit. That reality has galvanized our culture into believing that change is impossible.

A silver lining amid the chaos of the sexual revolution

Perhaps there is a silver lining to the chaos and conflict in our culture over sexuality and gender. ... We are being restored to a place that acknowledges only Jesus’ love is enough. Only Jesus’ power and intimacy satisfies. We cling to His love when we cannot understand what scripture says. We acknowledge that discipline and mere philosophy are not enough to bring fulfillment. We are linking wholeness and truth to intimacy with Jesus.

A great cloud of witnesses

At last weekend’s Freedom March in Washington, D.C., the crux of this message was on full display. One former homosexual and transgender after another proclaimed freedom from the false identities and practices they had formerly embraced.  

Their lives are more than just isolated instances of God’s power to transform: Their lives  are signposts pointing us, all of us — not just those trapped in the LGBT world — to the truth, dispelling the lies embraced by the western world. At this critical moment in history, their proclamation of truth is as important for the “straight world” as it is for practicing gays, lesbians, and transgender, for all have bought into lies equally. Not little lies. Big lies.  

Professor Robert Oscar Lopez — a man who escaped the gay world years ago and who is now happily married with wife and children — exists as perhaps the most visible sign and wonder in this regard. His is the most important voice in the world today when it comes to understanding what has happened, and what must be done to resist and turn back the domination of LGBT ideology.

His epic, The LGBT Juggernaut: Time for Christians to Face Our Failure, is a must read.

Lopez clearly identifies the failures of conservative academics, politicians, and church leaders who were too timid to speak truthfully about the gay world and instead agreed to follow rules of engagement set forth by LGBT activists, resulting in spectacular losses.

It’s interesting that of all the conservative academics and activists who have been engaged in this battle for the last decade or so, it is Lopez who has risen to the occasion to show the way forward, especially as Congress now considers the horrific Equality Act.

Professor Lopez’s life is a bright beacon.

There are others. Many others.

Walt Heyer is a former transgender man who is now the world’s most valuable resource for those who experience “transition regret.”  

I had the privilege to be on a speaking tour in Hong Kong with Heyer in 2017. Every time he pulled his phone out of his pocket he had another text, email or phone message from someone somewhere in the world, desperately seeking advice because help to detransition is nearly impossible to find outside of Heyer’s ministry.  

Walt Heyer’s life is a beacon.    

Angel Colon and Luis Ruiz, who survived the 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre where 49 died, are also bright beacons, traveling the world proclaiming the freedom from homosexuality they’ve found in Christ.

So is Brian Wheelock. And Jeffrey McCall  And former gay pornstar Joseph Sciambra.  And Dan Mattson. And Paul Darrow. And Rilene Simpson.  

So are the 11 men who joined me in telling our stories in an amicus brief titled “Same-sex attracted men and their wives” for the U.S. Supreme Court as it deliberated the Obergefell same-sex marriage case in 2015.   

So are the 200 ex-LGBT men and women who descended on Washington, D.C. for the 2019 Freedom March.

A great cloud of witnesses exists.  

In the coming weeks, LifeSiteNews will share the stories of more former homosexual and transgendered persons who are publicly declaring their new lives in Christ.  

These men and women are demonstrating with their own lives that the world can beat back the sexual revolution and undo the carnage it has inflicted on the world.  

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Critics do a disservice to Open Letter on Pope Francis’ heresies by ignoring its core arguments

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In the wake of the issuance of the “Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church” regarding Pope Francis’ alleged guilt of heresy, critics of the letter have been eager to exploit the very real flaws in the document while evading or even distorting its many valid points. Their attempts to dismiss the letter without addressing the legitimate concerns it raises do a disservice to the Catholic faithful, who have a right to expect more of the class of theologians and professional Catholics whose responsibility it is to protect and explain the Catholic faith.

The open letter (see full text here), which has been signed by such academic luminaries as Fr. Aidan Nichols, Professor John Rist, and Dr. Claudio Pierantoni, is indeed marred by a few imprecise and even inappropriate elements that have undermined the document’s effectiveness and have given ammunition to critics eager to avoid answering its very strong points regarding Pope Francis’ increasingly destructive misbehavior in office.

The letter, for example, gives a list of misdeeds by Francis that includes low level appointments of men of questionable character and doctrinal orthodoxy, the pontiff’s failure to speak publicly in favor of some pro-life campaigns, and even his use of a staff that the letter characterizes as “satanic.” The first two items are too vague and weak to prove a charge of heresy, and the last is simply false: the staff used by Francis at the Synod on Youth in 2018 was given to him by a group of young Catholics whose intentions were to represent the cross of Christ.

The document is also undermined by its appeal to the bishops individually to pass judgment on the pope, to rebuke him and, if necessary, “to declare that he has committed the canonical delict of heresy and that he must suffer the canonical consequences of this crime,” which could include the cessation of his papacy. Historically, theologians who have contemplated the case of a heretical pope have not held that individual bishops, or small groups of bishops, could carry out such an act; an ecumenical council or a quorum of cardinals would be necessary to issue such a judgment. The reason should be obvious: without such a measure, there would be no way to designate a successor or even establish a consensus declaring a vacant papal seat. The only result would be to unleash more chaos and confusion in the Church.

However, none of these unfortunate defects invalidate the very legitimate accusations made in the letter, which contains a useful contribution to the discussion over Pope Francis’ very problematical behavior. It gives the reader far more than is necessary to conclude that the pope, at the very least, must be confronted and resisted regarding his harmful statements and administrative acts. The cardinals and the bishops, to whom the letter is addressed, have the primary responsibility in this regard. Unfortunately, instead of recognizing the letter’s legitimate concerns, the partisans and patsies of the Francis regime have done what they can to evade its main points and focus only on its defects. In so doing, they appear to be protecting their own careers and their institutional status, rather than doing their duty to protect the faithful from error.

Jimmy Akin tries to get the pope off on a technicality – and fails

Perhaps the response that has gained the most attention, and that best encapsulates the facile arguments used to dismiss the Open Letter, is one written by professional apologist Jimmy Akin, an employee of Catholic Answers. Akin’s smug and dismissive response provides a useful if extreme example of the approach taken by those who want to avoid a real discussion about Francis.

Without a hint of irony, Akin begins by claiming that the signers of the Open Letter are not competent to critically analyze the papacy of Francis because they don’t have doctorates in theology, ecclesiology, or canon law – apparently forgetting his own lack of any higher university degree whatsoever. Moreover, the claim is misleading and weak, given that Fr. Aidan Nichols did his Ph.D. dissertation on ecclesiology and has published two books on the topic, and by Akin’s own admission other signers have licentiates in theology. Following the publication of Akin’s critique, an individual with a doctorate in canon law, Fr. Gabriele Rossi, signed the open letter, further weakening Akin’s case.

Akin believes he can refute the Open Letter and rescue Pope Francis from the charge of heresy by way of technicality, noting that “heresy” is defined in the Code of Canon Law as the obstinate rejection of a dogma defined by the Church as divinely revealed, that is, as a part of the deposit of faith left to the Church by Christ and the apostles. Akin then observes that none of the texts cited by the open letter as being contradicted by Pope Francis are shown by the letter to be defined in this way, ergo there is no heresy demonstrated.

It doesn’t seem to occur to Akin that his need to make recourse to such a weak argument is terribly damning to Pope Francis’ position and suggests strongly that the Open Letter is addressing a legitimate concern. Akin doesn’t directly contest the accusation that the pope has contradicted Sacred Scripture or the solemn dogmatic canons of ecumenical councils, and doesn’t even deny that the canons in question define dogmas regarding a matter of revealed truth. The strongest response he can give in this regard is that the document doesn’t offer a citation or quotation proving they do.

Akin could have resolved the issue for himself and his readers very quickly by simply consulting the texts cited by the open letter, particularly the canons on Justification approved in session six of the Council of Trent. Those canons follow an explanatory Decree on Justification that expressly states the canons concern divinely revealed truth, declaring that “the holy, ecumenical and general Council of Trent . . . intends . . . to expound to all the faithful of Christ the true and salutary doctrine of justification, which the Sun of justice, Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, taught, which the Apostles transmitted and which the Catholic Church under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost has always retained; strictly forbidding that anyone henceforth presume to believe, preach or teach otherwise than is defined and declared in the present decree.”

Moreover, one can consult a dogmatic theology manual, such as the highly-respected Sacrae Theologiae Summa (STS), to determine if the dogmas on Justification defined at Trent have been historically regarded as being defined as divinely revealed. For example, the STS, in volume 3 on grace, treats the dogmatic declarations of Trent on Justification as matters of divinely revealed and thus having the theological note of “Divine and Catholic Faith” (see, for example, 4th edition, vol. 3, par. 253).

So it seems very difficult, if not impossible, to exonerate Pope Francis from the charge that he has effectively denied a defined dogma of a divinely-revealed truth, when he states in Amoris laetitia, “A subject may know full well the rule [against adultery], yet have great difficulty in understanding ‘its inherent values’, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin” (italics mine). Compare this statement to canon 18 of Session 6 of the Council of Trent: “If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.” 

There are many other statements in Amoris laetitia that appear to be heretical, particularly those that treat chastity and the avoidance of adultery as if it were an “ideal” that is not strictly obligatory, rather than affirming the Catholic Church’s perennial understanding of chastity as an absolute obligation of the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments (“Thou shalt not commit adultery”). The Open Letter presents such examples, as well as other statements by Francis that appear to endorse positions incompatible with the Catholic faith, for a total of twelve problematical quotations. Akin dismisses the proofs offered in the letter without addressing them directly, further testifying to the weakness of his position.

Akin’s impossible standard for proving heresy

Akin then effectively raise the bar for proof of heresy to an impossible height, claiming that the Open Letter fails because it does not show that Pope Francis’ “statements or actions cannot be understood in another sense.” In other words, the signers haven’t proven what is essentially unprovable: that it is impossible to interpret Francis’ words in an orthodox way. Akin does nothing to show that such a burden of proof exists in canon law or in the tradition of the Church regarding heresy, because such a burden doesn’t exist, except in the mind of Akin.

Akin’s principle would seem to nullify any charge of heresy against anyone. Words are merely conventional signs that never absolutely compel any particular interpretation, and can be used to mean anything. By Akin’s standard, no one could ever be convicted of heresy, because it is always possible to impute some orthodox meaning to the words used. In reality, what is necessary is that the acts of culprit provide morally certain proof of the intention to persist obstinately in heresy, which is the standard of proof provided in the Code of Canon Law.

A gentler and more reasonable version of this approach has been used by others who question Francis’ statements, but regard the Open Letter as excessive. Canon lawyer Edward Peters makes reference to the “principle of benignity” regarding the interpretation of Pope Francis' statements, arguing that “if an orthodox interpretation exists for an ambiguous theological assertion, that benign interpretation must be ascribed to the words of the accused.” Others, such as Fr. Thomas Weinandy, a theologian who has suffered much for the cause of protecting the faith during the Francis papacy, and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, a prelate who has worked to correct the confusion caused by Francis' statements, argue similarly that the pope's statements are merely ambiguous and may be understood in an orthodox sense. However, none of them address the specific examples of alleged heresy given in the Open Letter to show how the statements could be reasonably interpreted as such. The Letter makes a strong case that they can’t.

Moreover, it is important to note that those who act to promote the advancement of heresy, even if they do not make a formally heretical statement, are also understood to be complicit in the crime, and therefore to be held liable to the same penalties, according to traditional canon law manuals. For example, Wernz and Vidal, in Ius Canonicum, vol. 7 (Rome: Gregorian University, 1937, p. 425), hold that among these are "supporters" (fautores) of heresy, who are defined as those who, “by commission or omission give favor to heretics resulting in the promotion of heretical doctrine.” Those who commit such an offense were to be judged under the old Code of Canon Law of 1917 in accordance with canons 2209, which today have been condensed into canon 1329. The Open Letter makes a case in favor of a pattern of such support and reception in Pope Francis’ statements as well as in his high-level curial appointments. Some of the examples are weak, but others seem very strong, particularly when taken cumulatively.

The case of Pope Honorius provides a useful historical example in this regard. Honorius was anathematized for fomenting heresy by three ecumenical councils (the sixth, seventh, and eighth). This was the case even though his words in his infamous letter to the Archbishop Sergius confirming his policy of prohibiting the doctrine of the two wills of Christ, could be taken in a non-heretical sense, and were even defended by St. Maximus the Confessor. However, the pope's acts clearly favored the cause of heresy. According to the fathers of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (the Third Council of Constantinople), the declarations of Honorius were “quite foreign to the apostolic dogmas, to the declarations of the holy Councils, and to all the accepted Fathers,” and “they follow the false teachings of the heretics; therefore we entirely reject them, and execrate them as hurtful to the soul.” They therefore declared, “We define that there shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius who was some time Pope of Old Rome, because of what we found written by him to Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia, in an entry displayed on Catholic Answers’ own website, agrees that Honorius was “not condemned by the council as a Monothelite, but for approving Sergius’s contradictory policy of placing orthodox and heretical expressions [about the divine and human wills of Christ] under the same ban.” Pope Leo II, who approved the condemnation of Honorius, explained that he “did not, as became the Apostolic authority, extinguish the flame of heretical teaching in its first beginning, but fostered it by his negligence.” In other words, his acts negligently facilitated the spread of heresy, and that was enough to declare him guilty of heresy. 

This point is increasingly being made by Catholic prelates who are concerned about Francis’ misleading statements but who thus far have distanced themselves from a charge of direct affirmation of heresy. For example, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, whom Akin cites to defend his claim that Amoris laetitia is orthodox, has recently admitted that parts of it require “clarification” and has called upon Pope Francis to respond to the concerns raised in the Open Letter. Fr. Joseph Fessio, founder of Ignatius Press, has also called for a papal response to the letter’s signatories, who, he says, “show where Pope Francis has made statements that seem to contradict these Church teachings.” “It’s not a document that can simply be dismissed as being by extremists,” he adds. Fr. Fessio offered a more extensive defense of the Open Letter on a recent interview with Raymond Arroyo.

Repeated attempts to alert the pope to his errors and to receive clarification regarding his troubling statements have gone unanswered. In the meantime Francis has approved or permitted interpretations of Amoris laetitia published by national episcopal conferences that seem to confirm heretical interpretations, most notably the Buenos Aires Declaration, which Francis placed into the Acts of the Apostolic See, and the Brazilian bishops’ declaration, which says that there can be “excuses” for committing adultery. Although of course the pope deserves the benefit of the doubt regarding his orthodoxy, it stretches credulity to continue supposing that Francis attaches some orthodox meaning to his statements, or is unaware of their influence over the faithful.

Until Pope Francis answers the very legitimate issues raised by the Open Letter and other similar initiatives, he will be met with growing resistance by faithful Catholics, who can never accept the egregious dogmatic and moral errors implied in his writings. For all its imperfections, the Open Letter has reminded the bishops of their obligation to protect the integrity of the faith, even in the face of a wayward superior. As St. Thomas Aquinas tells us, citing the case of St. Paul rebuking St. Peter, “If the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.” May the bishops hear this call, and may God give them the courage to fulfill this grave responsibility.

(Editor's note: This article has been updated. An earlier version of the article erroneously stated that the Open Letter was signed by Dr. Josef Seifert. Prof. Seifert however did sign a petition supporting the Open Letter. LifeSite apologizes for any trouble or confusion this error may have caused.)

Email the author at [email protected].

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at press conference with U.S. VP Mike Pence, Ottawa, May 30, 2019. CPAC / video screen grab
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Trudeau embarrassed Canadians in abortion spar with U.S. VP Pence

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By Jonathon Van Maren
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Mike Pence in Ottawa, May 30, 2019. CPAC screen grab
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U.S. VP Mike Pence with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa at a press conference, May 30, 2019. CPAC / screen grab

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May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Among all of the leaders on the world stage, Justin Trudeau primarily stands out for a single reason: His abortion extremism. As I’ve noted before, he misses no opportunity to push and promote abortion, and it is one of the few subjects aside from his own perceived virtue that he seems genuinely passionate about. Unfortunately for Canadians, that passion is coupled with a profound ignorance on the subject—Trudeau seems genuinely unaware that Canada is the only democracy without any abortion laws whatsoever, and that the status quo he is defending is grotesquely unique.

His arrogance was on full display this week when he attempted to shoehorn a discussion on abortion into a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence on NAFTA and issues related to China. Trudeau was concerned about American “backsliding” on the issue and claimed that “Canadians” are also very concerned about it, even though this projection is primarily a figment of his imagination, where everyone constantly agrees with him.

Trudeau is simply hoping to make abortion an election issue, and thus he pretended that the Vice President is able to address concerns about laws passed by state legislators, when in reality he was virtue-signalling to his base. Their exchange at a post-meeting press conference on Thursday, where Trudeau expressed his opposition to “anti-choice laws” and Pence reaffirmed his commitment to “the right to life,” was cringe-worthy on both a diplomatic and a human level.

Canada’s progressive parties do not simply demand that elected officials agree that abortion is a right, they demand that Members of Parliament give standing ovations to celebrate the four million pre-born children who have been dismembered, decapitated, and disemboweled since the procedure was first decriminalized in 1969. In fact, when one MP called for the unanimous recognition of a woman’s right to have an abortion “for any reason” in the House of Commons this week, all Liberal, NDP, Green, and Bloc Quebecois MPs leapt to their feet to deliver a standing ovation that lasted for over two minutes while the Speaker called for order. It was a vile display of grave-dancing, and I was relieved to see that the Conservatives did not join in.

Even some of Canada’s media commentators are getting fed up with Trudeau’s attempts to distract from his scandal-ridden tenure by pumping his street cred on the feticide file. Over at Maclean’s, Andrew MacDougall mocked Trudeau for attempting to cover his incompetence with enthusiasm for abortion:

It needn’t be an SNC; the threshold for talking about the threat to abortion is now incredibly low. At this point, the town drunk in a one-stoplight town in rural Western Australia could tweet his opposition to abortion and Trudeau would ring up Scott Morrison, the Aussie prime minister, and dress him down for not keeping his citizens in line on the subject of more dead babies.

Over at the Washington Post earlier this week, my friend J.J. McCullough also noted Canada’s position as a “wild outlier in global abortion policy” in a column titled “Why is Canada so afraid of debating abortion?” Because politicians like Trudeau only bring the issue up to insist that nobody should be bringing it up, he noted, our national discussion on this issue had become deeply pathetic:

The consequence has been a deeply sheltered society embarrassingly ignorant of even the most basic facts of the issue, and thus largely incapable of discussing one of the defining ethical challenges of our time in a substantial, adult manner.

The difficulty with our current prime minister is that he seems unable to discuss any complex issue in a substantial, adult manner, instead relying on faux outrage, parroting progressive talking points, and attempting to simply insist that “Canadians” agree with him. And nowhere has his sheer shallowness been on display quite as prominently as his refusal or inability to grapple with one of the most complex moral and ethical issues of our time.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Jeffrey McCall about how he left the LGBT lifestyle. McCall is one of many who are standing up to share their stories of leaving that life behind and moving ahead in the grace of God. In episode 19 of The Van Maren Show, McCall talks about the moment he decided to literally throw his transgender identity into a dumpster and walk away forever. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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WaPost: Embryonic heartbeats really just ‘the electric pulsing of what will become a fetus’s heart’

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By Claire Chretien

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May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In its latest coverage of the popular heartbeat bills that are sweeping the nation, the Washington Post bent over backwards to dehumanize preborn babies as much as possible.

Louisiana’s new pro-life law “could outlaw abortions after an ultrasound is able to detect the electric pulsing of what will become a fetus’s heart,” the Post reported.

The electric pulsing of what will become a fetus’s heart? Really?

By the seventh week of pregnancy, “the heart has 4 chambers,” the Endowment for Human Development (EHD) explains. “The pacemaker center is already well-established in the right atrium. The embryonic heart rate peaks at 7 weeks and now beats approximately 167-175 times per minute. This rate gradually declines to about 140 beats per minute at birth.”

“Though the blood flow pattern before birth differs from the pattern after birth, the embryo has all 4 chambers similar to those seen in [the] adult heart.”

Here’s the popular pregnancy site TheBump.com on what to expect at a six week ultrasound:

...you’re probably wondering what’s going on inside your 6-week pregnant belly. Well, many of the crucial areas of baby development have already started. Baby's circulating blood with an increasingly sophisticated circulatory system. Baby might even be wiggling his or her paddle-like hands and feet. Your 6-week embryo is about to get cuter too, since he or she is starting to sprout a nose, eyes, ears, chin, and cheeks.

If you did have a 6-week ultrasound, the doctor might be able to see a fetal pole or fetal heartbeat—a clear sign that you’ve got an embryo developing in there. However, if the doctor doesn’t see a fetal pole or heartbeat, don’t panic—you might not be as far along as you thought. The doctor will probably ask you to come back in a few days or a week for another ultrasound.

TheBump.com on being seven weeks pregnant:

How amazing is this? Your 7-week embryo is generating about one hundred new brain cells each minute! And not only is baby's brain becoming more complex, but the heart is too. Also important: Baby's developing a permanent set of kidneys, and arm and leg joints are now forming as well.

Calling the heartbeats of tiny children millions of parents have seen on ultrasounds “electric pulsing” is just another pro-abortion attempt to hide the basic facts of embryology and fetal development – facts that prove abortion stops a beating human heart.

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Fr. Rosica replaced as retreat director for liberal US priests’ conference

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean
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May 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A priest accused of decades of plagiarism will no longer be attending the annual conference of a left-wing American priests’ association.

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, was originally scheduled to direct a retreat at the 2019 Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP) Assembly in St. Louis, Missouri this June.

In March Fr. Bob Bonnot, the executive director of AUSCAP, defended the choice of the disgraced priest as the association’s retreat director. Now a revised version of the schedule indicates that he is no longer on the roster.

Paul Leingang, a spokesman for the AUSCAP, told LifeSiteNews via email that Salt and Light’s Sebastian Gomes will lead the retreat in Rosica’s stead.  

“Although Fr. Thomas Rosica is unable to attend the assembly, Gomes will lead the retreat on the theme as planned: Go, Repair and Build My Church: Reclaiming the Priesthood of the Faithful,” he wrote.

Describing Gomes as “a young layperson who has a background in theology and history,” Leingang added that the new retreat director is the producer of a new documentary film named The Francis Impact.  

“That film will be shown as planned at the June 24 retreat,” Leingang wrote.  

“It will be followed by a guided group reflection on its themes and how they relate to the assembly theme: God’s Priestly People: the Baptized and the Ordained.

Professor Joshua Hochschild of Mount St. Mary’s University observed that Leingang consulted Rosica himself about the above statement publicly over Twitter.  

Following revelations earlier this year that he had plagiarized from dozens of other authors in many of his published writings and speeches over a period of thirty years, Rosica began a sabbatical for “rest and renewal.”

Professor Hochschild announced on March 28 that he had discovered the uncredited work of Fr. John O'Malley, Kenneth Himes, Pope Benedict XVI, St. John Paul II, and Cardinal Tagle in the keynote address Fr. Rosica gave at the 2015 AUSCP Assembly in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Rosica plagiarism scandal broke when LifeSiteNews discovered in mid-February that the Toronto-based priest, once a spokesman for the Vatican, had plagiarized passages of a speech he gave at the Von Hügel Institute at Cambridge University. Subsequently, more examples of Rosica’s plagiarism came to light and the story spread, first to Canada’s National Post and then around the world.

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