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Culture of Life Family Services
Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

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American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion pill reversal notification law

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa
By Lisa Bourne
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Dr. Boles delivers a baby saved by abortion pill reversal treatment

PETITION: Tell the American Medical Association to stop fighting pro-life laws. Sign the petition here.

July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The American Medical Association (AMA) is suing the state of North Dakota along with abortion organizations to stop two pro-life laws on the grounds that they force doctors to give “false, misleading, non-medical information” to patients.

The lawsuit targets a law that requires doctors to inform pregnant women it may be possible to reverse a chemical abortion, passed this year and set to go into effect August 1, and another already in effect requiring physicians to tell patients the scientific fact that abortion ends “the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being.” 

The AMA sued last week in a joint filing with the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which filed on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic, North Dakota’s sole abortion facility. 

The idea that chemical abortion – abortion committed by taking pills – may be reversed is “a claim wholly unsupported by the best, most reliable evidence,” the lawsuit says, and thus “contravenes” doctors’ “ethical and legal obligations as medical providers.”

The suit also claims that this “compels medical providers to convey a controversial and ideological message about fetal personhood that is unmoored from medical science.”

The AMA and the others call this “forced speech, which requires physicians to deliver to their patients false, misleading, non-medical information with which they disagree, to advertise an experimental treatment that runs counter to their patients’ best interests, and to violate their medical ethics.”

“The AMA will step in when there is any interference with our ability to talk to our patients about legal, evidence-based medical procedures,” AMA President Patrice A. Harris told the Associated Press.

AMA lawyers are monitoring all laws they believe infringe on doctor-patient relationships, Harris said, according to the AP, and decided North Dakota’s was the next case to be “actively involved in.”

Harris’s statement on the lawsuit said the AMA “will always defend science and open conversations about all health care options available to patients.”

“The patient-physician relationship is the cornerstone of health care, and depends upon honest, open conversations about all of a patient’s health care options,” she said in a report from CBS News.

The AMA is the largest association of doctors in the United States, representing some 240,000 physicians. 

While the AMA has had the reputation of a leading medical authority that operates outside of partisan politics, in recent years it has become increasingly ideological. Its moves signaling this include dropping official opposition to doctor-assisted suicideendorsing human cloning, backing a proposal that would force pharmacists to dispense abortifacients, and claiming that laws against same-sex “marriage” were responsible for healthcare inequalities.

‘Abortion ends the life of a developing human being’

LifeSiteNews has launched a petition urging the AMA to stop fighting pro-life laws in court.

The Personhood Alliance, a partner with LifeSite in the petition, denounced the AMA lawsuit’s premise in a statement.

“Contrary to what the AMA is arguing in its lawsuit, the reality is that the science of chemical abortion reversal is very sound, and the fact that abortion ends the life of a developing human being is incontrovertible,” it said.

CRR staff attorney Molly Duane went a step further than Harris, saying North Dakota’s law concerning chemical abortion reversal compels doctors to lie and violate the Hippocratic oath. The law violates the First Amendment rights of physicians by requiring them to spread false and nonscientific information, she said in a Huffington Post report

“The notion of ‘abortion reversal’ is based on junk science,” Duane said. “This law effectively forces physicians to lie to their patients, and it forces them to violate their medical ethics to do no harm.”

States act to save lives from chemical abortion

HB 1336 was signed into law by Republican Governor Doug Burgum on March 22 of this year, and had the support of the North Dakota Catholic Conference.

The law requires doctors to inform patients that it may be possible to reverse the effects of the abortion pill if the mother changes her mind, but that time is imperative, and that information and assistance are available in printed materials provided. The materials are to include information on where to obtain further information and assistance in finding a medical professional to assist in the abortion pill reversal.

The chemical abortion process uses two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. The pregnant mother takes mifepristone first, which destabilizes her pregnancy by blocking progesterone receptors and reducing progesterone levels in her blood. Her abortion is then completed when misoprostol induces labor, and cause her body to expel the baby.

Abortion pill reversal treatment works by giving the mother extra progesterone up to 72 hours after she takes the first chemical abortion pill. It’s most effective in the first 24 hours. By giving extra progesterone – the natural hormone in a woman’s body necessary to nurture and sustain a pregnancy – the goal is to combat the mifepristone in order to reverse its effects.

The approximately decade-old protocol was developed using a new application of an FDA-approved progesterone treatment used since the 1950s to stop miscarriages, and initial studies of abortion pill reversal have shown that it has a 64 to 68 percent success rate, according to the Abortion Pill Rescue Network (APRN), a program of Heartbeat International. The network consists of 450 professional health care providers in the U.S. and 11 other countries that assist women who call the 24-hour abortion pill reversal hotline. APRN advocates say some 750 babies have been saved by the reversal treatment.

Critics say the protocol is anecdotal and insufficiently tested. Pro-abortion advocates are particularly vocal in their opposition.

Eight states – Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Utah – have passed similar laws requiring abortionists to tell patients about abortion pill reversal, CBS News reports. Five of the states, including Arkansas, which expanded an existing law, passed their laws in the past year.

Heartbeat International’s Director of Communications and Marketing Andrea Trudden reaffirmed the success of abortion pill reversal to LifeSiteNews. 

Success and support

“It is unfortunate that the AMA would recommend that doctors deny information and care to women who may regret taking the abortion pill,” Trudden said. “Every woman should know about abortion pill reversal so she can have hope if she changes her mind.”

“Scientifically proven to have a 64 to 68 percent success rate, abortion pill reversal is the last chance for women who have already started a chemical abortion to choose life with more than 750 babies born to date,” she added.

Trudden also dismissed the contention made in the lawsuit that the autonomy of life in the womb is not established science.

“The fact that anyone in today’s world denies the fact that the life inside the mother is not a unique body is either incredibly uninformed or is choosing ignorance,” she said. “The American College of Pediatrics, Princeton University, and countless scientists all have publicly stated that human life begins at the moment of fertilization.” 

Advocating for women, or for abortion?

Doctor Brent Boles is among the U.S. OB-GYNs to have delivered a child saved by abortion pill reversal treatment. A supporter of Personhood Tennessee, Boles had stiff criticism for the AMA’s stance on abortion pill reversal.

“The only thing ‘unmoored’ from reality and from science is the AMA’s position on this issue,” Boles said. 

“Abortion advocates would have us believe that they empower women and advocate for women,” he said. “Trying to prevent women from being given accurate and complete information with which to make a decision doesn't empower them. It manipulates them. They are not advocating for women; they are advocating for abortion, and that’s not the same thing.”

Doctor Matthew Clark, president of Personhood South Carolina, called the AMA's lawsuit politically motivated.

“Sadly, the American Medical Association continues to reject the Biblical foundations of western medicine, sliding now into patently politically motivated activities, as evidenced by this unscientific and immoral lawsuit against North Dakota,” Clark said. “By this action, the AMA proves once again how out of touch it is with the true heart of being a good doctor.”

Doctor Matthew Harrison, one of the founders of the abortion pill reversal protocol, weighed in on the lawsuit, saying it endeavors to deny women their choice to reverse their chemical abortion, and that it is abortion providers what are making claims outside of scientific research.

“The AMA has unjustly attacked the new North Dakota law that seeks to inform women of their choice to reverse the chemical abortion process begun by mifepristone,” Harrison said. “This law is necessary because of the repeated false claims by abortion facilities that nothing can be done after the process has begun and that babies will have serious side effects if the process is not completed. Both of these claims are completely unfounded in any scientific research.”

‘Safe for both the mother and for her unborn child’

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a 2,500-member organization, supports offering abortion pill reversal to women who regret initiating the abortion pill process, after appropriate informed consent.

“The Abortion Pill Reversal process is safe for both the mother and for her unborn child,” the group says, “and offers a real chance for the woman to rescue her unborn child when she has changed her mind about abortion.” 

Doctor Joseph Harmon, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend, who practiced for 23 years with OBGYN Associates of Northern Indiana until 2018, recently spoke with the South Bend Tribune about abortion pill reversal.

Harmon said although he’d never been asked to provide reversal treatment as an OB-GYN, he would have been comfortable doing so.

“There’s certainly nothing harmful about giving someone progesterone who is pregnant in an attempt to try to stave off the effects of mifepristone,” said Harmon.

Although there is no guarantee the treatment will work, he said, “I think there’s a potential benefit.”

A ‘public health crisis’ to deny Planned Parenthood some of its millions in taxpayer funding?

The AMA sued the Trump administration this past March along with Planned Parenthood over a regulation under the Title X family planning program that would prevent facilities receiving Title X family planning federal funding from performing, counseling, or referring for abortion, and requires they be physically and financially separate from abortion facilities. Twenty-one states had also sued to block the rule. 

The changed threatened to cut a tenth of Planned Parenthood’s federal tax funding, or almost $60 million, the AMA and Planned Parenthood arguing it would result in a “public health crisis.” A federal judge subsequently issued a temporary injunction on the rule while the cases are litigated.

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Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò speaks at the Rome Life Forum in May 2018.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

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New Viganò testimony: Vatican covered up allegations of sexual abuse of Pope’s altar boys

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
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July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Editor’s Note: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s interview with the Washington Post, published June 10, contained an answer that the Post decided to expurgate from the interview. This answer contained important information regarding unaddressed accusations of sex abuse against a high official of the Holy See, as well as the coverup of a former seminarian, now a priest, accused of the sexual abuse of pre-seminarian adolescents who acted as the Pope’s altar boys. The full text of Viganò’s unpublished answers to the Washington Post follows. The text has been slightly modified to include capitalizations normally used in English. The name of one individual has been removed by LifeSite because LifeSite was unable to find sufficient support for the accusation against him at this point.

I.b.  Do you see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse? If not, what is missing?

The signs I see are truly ominous.  Not only is Pope Francis doing close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse, he is doing absolutely nothing to expose and bring to justice those who have, for decades, facilitated and covered up the abusers.  Just to cite one example:  Cardinal Wuerl, who covered up the abuses of McCarrick and others for decades, and whose repeated and blatant lies have been made manifest to everyone who has been paying attention (for those who have not been paying attention, see washingtonpost.com/opinions/cardinal-wuerl-knew-about-theodore-mccarrick-and-he-lied-about-it), had to resign in disgrace due to popular outrage. Yet, in accepting his resignation, Pope Francis praised him for his “nobility.”  What credibility has the pope left after this kind of statement?

But such behavior is by no means the worst.  Going back to the summit and its focus on the abuse of minors, I now wish to bring to your attention two recent and truly horrifying cases involving allegations of offenses against minors during Pope Francis’ tenure.  The pope and many prelates in the Curia are well aware of these allegations, but in neither case was an open and thorough investigation permitted. An objective observer cannot help but suspect that horrible deeds are being covered up.

1.  The first is said to have occurred inside the very walls of the Vatican, at the Pre-Seminary Pius X, which is located just a short walk from the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where Pope Francis lives.  That seminary trains minors who serve as altar boys in St. Peter’s Basilica and at papal ceremonies.

One of the seminarians, Kamil Jarzembowski, a roommate of one of the victims, claims to have witnessed dozens of incidents of sexual aggression.  Along with two other seminarians, he denounced the aggressor, first in person to his pre-seminary superiors, then in writing to cardinals, and finally in 2014, again in writing, to Pope Francis himself. One of the victims was a boy, allegedly abused for five consecutive years, starting at age 13. The alleged aggressor was a 21-year- old seminarian, Gabriele Martinelli.

That pre-seminary is under the responsibility of the diocese of Como, and is run by the Don Folci Association.  A preliminary investigation was entrusted to the judicial vicar of Como, don Andrea Stabellini, who found elements of evidence that warranted further investigation. I received firsthand information indicating that his superiors prohibited his continuing the investigation.  He can testify for himself, and I urge you to go and interview him.  I pray that he will find the courage to share with you what he so courageously shared with me.

Along with the above, I learned how the authorities of the Holy See dealt with this case.  After evidence was collected by Don Stabellini, the case was immediately covered up by the then-bishop of Como, Diego Coletti, together with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General of Pope Francis for Vatican City.  In addition, Cardinal Coccopalmerio, then president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who was consulted by Don Stabellini, strongly admonished him to stop the investigation.

You might wonder how this horrible case was closed.  The Bishop of Como removed Don Stabellini from the post of Judicial Vicar; the whistleblower, the seminarian Kamil Jarzembowski, was expelled from the seminary; the two fellow seminarians who had joined him in the denunciation left the seminary; and the alleged abuser, Gabriele Martinelli, was ordained priest in July 2017.  All this happened within the Vatican walls, and not a word of it came out during the summit.

The summit was therefore terribly disappointing, for it is hypocrisy to condemn abuses against minors and claim to sympathize with the victims while refusing to face up to the facts honestly. A spiritual revitalization of the clergy is most urgent, but it will ultimately be ineffectual if there is no willingness to address the real problem.

2.  The second case involves Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, whom Pope Francis has chosen to be the new Substitute at the Secretariat of State, making him the third most powerful person in the curia.  In doing so, the pope essentially ignored a terrifying dossier sent to him by a group of faithful from Maracaibo, entitled “¿Quién es verdaderamente Monseñor Edgar Robinson Peña Parra, Nuevo Sustituto de la Secretarîa de Estado del Vaticano?” (“Who really is Msgr. Edgar Robinson Peña Parra, the new Substitute at the Secretariat of State of the Vatican” - LifeSite) The dossier is signed by Dr. Enrique W. Lagunillas Machado, in the name of the “Grupo de Laicos de la Arquidiócesis de Maracaibo por una Iglesia y un Clero según el Corazón de Cristo” (“Group of Laity of the Archdiocese of Maracaibo for a Church and a Clergy in accordance with the Heart of Christ” – LifeSite). These faithful accused Peña Parra of terrible immorality, describing in detail his alleged crimes.  This might even be a scandal surpassing that of McCarrick, and it must not be allowed to be covered by silence.

Some facts have already been published in the media, notably in the Italian weekly L’Espresso (see espresso.repubblica.it/inchieste/2018/10/18/news/buio-in-vaticano-ecco-l-ultimo-scandalo-1.327923).  I will now add facts known by the Secretariat of State in the Vatican since 2002, which I learned when I served as the Delegate for Pontifical Representations.

  • In January 2000, Maracaibo journalist Gastón Guisandes López made serious accusations against some priests from the diocese of Maracaibo, including Msgr. Peña Parra, involving sexual abuse of minors and other possibly criminal activity.
  • In 2001, Gastón Guisandes López twice asked to be received by the apostolic nuncio (the Pope’s ambassador) in Venezuela, archbishop André Dupuy, to discuss these matters, but the archbishop inexplicably refused to receive him. He did, however, report to the Secretariat of State that the journalist had accused Msgr. Peña Parra of two very serious crimes, describing the circumstances.
    • First, Edgar Peña Parra was accused of having seduced, on September 24, 1990, two minor seminarians from the parish of San Pablo, who were to enter the Major Seminary of Maracaibo that same year. The event is said to have taken place in the Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, where the Rev. José Severeyn was parish priest.  Rev. Severeyn was later removed from the parish by the then archbishop Msgr. Roa Pérez. The case was reported to the police by the parents of the two young men and was dealt with by the then-rector of the major seminary, Rev. Enrique Pérez, and by the then spiritual director, Rev. Emilio Melchor.  Rev. Pérez, when questioned by the Secretariat of State, confirmed in writing the episode of September 24, 1990.  I have seen these documents with my own eyes.
    • Second, Edgar Peña Parra was allegedly involved, together with [NAME REMOVED], in the death of two people, a doctor and a certain Jairo Pérez, which took place in August 1992, on the island of San Carlos in Lake Maracaibo.  They were killed by an electric discharge, and it is not clear whether or not the deaths were accidental. This same accusation is also contained in the aforementioned dossier sent by a group of lay people from Maracaibo, with the additional detail that the two corpses were found naked, with evidence of macabre homosexual lewd encounters. These accusations are, to say the least, extremely grave. Yet not only was Peña Parra not required to face them, he was allowed to continue in the diplomatic service of the Holy See.
  • These two accusations were reported to the Secretariat of State in 2002 by the then apostolic nuncio in Venezuela, archbishop André Dupuy. The relevant documentation, if it has not been destroyed, can be found both in the archives of the diplomatic personnel of the Secretariat of State where I held the position of Delegate for the Pontifical Representations, and in the archives of the apostolic nunciature in Venezuela, where the following archbishops have served as nuncios since: Giacinto Berloco, from 2005 to 2009; Pietro Parolin, from 2009 to 2013; and Aldo Giordano, from 2013 to the present.  They all had access to the documents reporting these accusations against the future Substitute, as did the cardinals Secretaries of State Sodano, Bertone, and Parolin and the Substitutes Sandri, Filoni, and Becciu.
  • Particularly egregious is the behavior of Cardinal Parolin who, as Secretary of State, did not oppose the recent appointment of Peña Parra as Substitute, making him his closest collaborator.  Even more: years earlier, in January 2011, as apostolic nuncio in Caracas, Parolin did not oppose the appointment of Peña Parra as archbishop and apostolic nuncio to Pakistan. Before such important appointments, a rigorous informative process is made to verify the suitability of the candidate, so these accusations were surely brought to the attention of Cardinal Parolin.

Furthermore, Cardinal Parolin knows the names of a number of priests in the Curia who are sexually unchaste, violating the laws of God that they solemnly committed themselves to teach and practice, and he continues to look the other way.

If Cardinal Parolin’s responsibilities are grave, even more so are those of Pope Francis for having chosen for an extremely important position in the Church a man accused of such serious crimes, without first insisting on an open and thorough investigation.  There is one more scandalous aspect to this horrific story.  Peña Parra is closely connected with Honduras, and more precisely with Cardinal Maradiaga and Bishop Juan José Pineda.  Between 2003 and 2007, Peña Parra served in the nunciature in Tegucigalpa, and while there he was very close to Juan José Pineda, who in 2005 was ordained auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa, becoming the right-hand man of Cardinal Maradiaga.  Juan José Pineda resigned from his post of auxiliary bishop in July 2018, without any reason given to the faithful of Tegucicalpa.  Pope Francis has not released the results of the report that the Apostolic Visitor, the Argentine bishop Alcides Casaretto, delivered directly and only to him more than a year ago.  How can one interpret Pope Francis’ firm decision not to talk about or answer any question about this matter except as a cover up of the facts and protection of a homosexual network?  Such decisions reveal a terrible truth: rather than allowing open and serious investigations of those accused of grave offenses against the Church, the pope is allowing the Church herself to suffer.

Coming back to your question.  You ask me if I see any signs that the Vatican, under Pope Francis, is taking proper steps to address the serious issues of abuse. My answer is simple: Pope Francis himself is covering up abuse right now, as he did for McCarrick.  I say this with great sorrow.  When King David pronounced the greedy rich man in Nathan’s parable worthy of death, the prophet told him bluntly, “You are the man” (2 Sam 12:1-7).  I had hoped my testimony might be received like Nathan’s, but it was instead received like that of Micaiah (1Kings 22:15-27).  I pray that this will change.

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Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

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Spanish pro-family group wins court battles in fight against transgender ideology

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

MADRID, Spain, July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Autonomous Community of Madrid, which governs Spain’s capital and immediate surrounding region, has been ordered by a court to repay fines levied against a civic group for distributing pro-family materials in schools.

In 2017, the local government of Madrid fined HazteOir.org 1,500 euros for having distributed to 1,709 schools a booklet criticizing LGBTQ regulations that had been supported across the political spectrum, including by the right-of-center pro-business Popular Party. 

Critics contend that the “gag rule” regulations not only violate fundamental rights, such as free speech, but also usurp the power of judges by sanctioning with administrative fines levied upon those expressing opinions deemed offensive. Local authorities had imposed the fine on HazteOir.org without taking recourse to the courts.

The Administrative Law Court of Madrid issued a ruling in June that called on local authorities in Madrid to repay the 1,500 euros in fines paid by HazTeOir.org for its distribution of the book titled “Do you know what they want to teach your child at school? Sexual indoctrination laws.” According to HazteOir.org -- a pro-life, pro-family activist organization -- no representative from the Community of Madrid appeared before the court to defend its action. The lawyer for HazteOir.org demanded that the charges be expunged.

According to a statement, HazteOir.org leader Ignacio Arsuaga said, “This ruling is new proof of what HazteOir.org has been explaining over the years: (local) administrations want to silence civic associations that dissent from progressive assertions through economic sanctions. But the court has not succumbed to them for now, having agreed with us.”

Arsuaga said HazteOir.org merely wanted parents to know that schools were teaching an ideology to their children without their knowledge or consent. He went on to say, “Science, unfortunately, and in this case biology, has been obfuscated by aspects of the LGBTQ ideology,” which have been forcefully imposed on the public.

Several bishops have denounced the regulations, saying they violate religious liberty and freedom of conscience, as well as the presumption of innocence. At the time, the ruling right-of-center Popular Party said the accusation was a “lie,” and a LGBTQ group filed a suit against the outspoken bishops.

HazteOir.org also received a favorable decision in a court in Catalonia, in eastern Spain. On June 17, the Administrative Law Court of Barcelona ruled against the regional government and the sanctions it imposed on HazteOir.org The court decided that the government must pay court costs incurred by HazteOir when it challenged the government’s claim that the group had engaged in speech offensive to transgender people.

The group had driven a bus to major cities in Spain in 2017 that bore the message: “Boys have penises. Girls have vulvas. That’s what biology says.” The court ruled that the message "does not imply public rejection or obvious and explicit disregard of any person with regard to their sexuality."

A December 2016 court ruling found that the Madrid government had violated as many as 10 fundamental rights of the principal of a school who had expressed opposition to transgender ideology. This series of court victories has led HazteOir.org and other conservative groups in Spain to question how long transgender laws can remain on the books. 

Having noted that the sanctions were imposed while the right-of-center Popular Party occupied the administration of the Community of Madrid, Arsuaga said change may be afoot.

“It is interesting that one of the parties was not at the trial,” Arsuaga said, adding, "It could be that the Popular Party, which remains in the regional government, wants to distance itself in the current political environment from the 'LGTBQ law,’ liberticidal and ideological, which its own legislators promoted and approved."

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Michigan State Police arrived at the scene of a Red Rose Rescue on June 7 in Flint, Michigan, and carried peaceful pro-lifers out of the abortion center. Twitter
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Pro-lifers jailed for peacefully protesting inside abortion center released, could face felony charges

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By Stephen Kokx

FLINT, Michigan, July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Four pro-life activists in Michigan will have to wait until August to find out whether they will be charged with a felony for peacefully resisting arrest while trying to convince moms inside an abortion clinic to not end the lives of their unborn children. 

On the morning of June 7, Lauren Handy, Matthew Connolly, Will Goodman, and Patrice Woodworth entered the Women’s Health Center of Flint. They proceeded to pray for, counsel, and give roses to several women in the waiting room. Clinic staffers yelled at and shoved the nonviolent activists before a dozen law enforcement officers arrived on the scene and carried them out of the facility. 

For performing the Red Rose Rescue, which was organized by Dr. Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-life Society, the four were charged with two misdemeanors — disturbing the peace and trespassing — as well as a felony for assaulting, obstructing, and resisting an officer, a crime that could carry up to two years in prison according to Michigan state law. 

All four were taken to jail after their arrests, with Handy and Woodworth posting bail. Goodman and Connelly remained incarcerated until yesterday, when, thanks to the persuasive efforts of their attorney, Robert Muise, from the American Freedom Law Center, they were released without bail on personal recognizance by Michigan District Court Judge Vikki Bayeh-Haley.

The preliminary hearing for the felony charges was originally set for Tuesday, July 2 at 11 a.m. at the 67th District Court of Genesee County, 630 S. Saginaw Street in Flint. The hearing was scheduled for one hour, with Bayeh-Haley overseeing the proceedings.

Muise and the state prosecutor agreed that more time was needed and convinced Bayeh-Haley to move the hearings to August 26 at 9:30 a.m. so multiple witnesses could take the stand. It is likely that at least one abortion center staffer as well as several police officers will testify and be cross examined. Security footage taken from the abortion center that recorded the rescue attempt will also be shown in the courtroom. 

Michigan law requires the state to meet a “probable cause” threshold for a felony charge to be established. If Bayeh-Haley decides that threshold has been met, the felony case will be moved to the circuit court and placed before another judge. Muise told LifeSiteNews that if that happens, he will seek to dismiss the charges. If she doesn’t believe “probable cause” has been met, the charges will be dropped and the legal team for the four rescuers will focus their efforts on the misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and trespassing, charges that could result in a fine and possible jail time.

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Heavers Farm Primary School's Pride event Facebook
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Over 21,000 have supported the Christian kids suspended for resisting LGBT indoctrination

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Update - July 8, 2019: Ten thousand more people have signed the petition since this article's publication, bringing the total to over 21,000 as of July 8.

LONDON, England, July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A LifeSiteNews petition supporting two British children suspended from school for their Christian faith has attracted more than 11,000 signatures.

Ten-year-old Kaysey and Farrell are both pupils of Heavers Farm Primary School in Croydon, a neighbourhood in South London. Last month, the children, a girl and a boy, asked their teacher if they could be excused from a lesson in which they were asked to color in LGBT “Pride Month” material. Although the children cited their religious objections, he refused and afterward allegedly accused them of “homophobic language.” 

According to Christian Concern, a legal advocacy group, Farrell was accused of having said “LGBT sucks and LGBT’s dumb,” which he denies. The teacher asked the children if they wanted LGBT people to die, and they said that they didn’t. They said, however, that in their countries of origin they would be punished for being gay. 

Kaysey says that, following this incident, Susan Papas, the head teacher, or principal, of Heavers Farm Primary School, shouted at the children in front of the class, calling them “a disappointment to the school.” Papas then interrogated them in separate rooms, accusing Kasey of saying she wanted to kill LGBT people. Kasey denied this but was made to sit in detention from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

The children were subsequently suspended from school for five days. 

Papas, 59, was previously in the news for forcing children as young as four to participate in last year’s mandatory school Pride events. When Izoduwa “Izzy” Adhedo (also known as Izoduwa Montague), a Christian, met with school staff to object to her five-year-old son having to take part, her child was given four hours of detention and she herself was barred from entering the school. 

During the meeting, Adhedo was confronted by Papas’ adult daughter, who was wearing a T-shirt reading “‘Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic, when you can just be quiet?’” 

The following March, Adhedo announced her intention to sue the governors of Heavers Farm Primary School for a “five-figure sum.”  

Adhedo was only one of a group of parents who complained that their children were compelled to take part in the June 29, 2018 “Proud to be Me” event. Ruth Anderson, one of the mothers, told the Croydon Advertiser that the 2018 event was sold to the parents as a celebration of self-esteem. 

"We were given this whole story that it was all about having pride in yourself, but that's ridiculous,” Anderson said. 

"There were rainbow flags around the school, and the kids were even told to wear bright colours,” she continued. 

“That's not having pride in yourself. That is blatant support for LGBT.”

Anderson said she was “not homophobic,” but her faith taught her a certain set of beliefs and that she didn’t want her child’s school making choices for her. 

In the 2018 controversy, the school had planned a “Pride” parade to which parents were invited. After parental protests, however, the school yanked their invitations. In retaliation, the parents who objected kept their children home on the day of the parade. This led to the cancellation of the parade and the Pride event being held inside the classrooms instead. 

Anderson said at the time that Papas should be fired.  

This year, Papas may have built a bridge too far, for she has been reported to the local government for unlawfully excluding Kaysey and Farrell from school. 

According to a press release by Christian Concern, the suspended children’s parents have made a formal complaint. 

“Parents of both children have complained to the Principal Officer — Exclusions Prevention of the local authority citing paragraph 13 of the statutory Exclusions Guidance (2017): ‘It is unlawful to exclude for a non-disciplinary reason,’" the Christian legal advocate said. 

“The section also states that ‘it would be unlawful to exclude a pupil’ for failing ‘to meet specific conditions before they are reinstated, such as to attend a reintegration meeting,’ which the school is insisting on in the case of the two children,” it continued. 

In their letter to Papas, the parents accused the head teacher of having violated the school’s Equality Duty. 

“You have acted in a manner contrary to the school’s Equality Duty; precisely the duty to eliminate discrimination based on religion or belief and to foster good relations among those with protected characteristics (para. 10 of the Guidance),” they wrote. 

Asking that their children be excused from any further LGBT teaching or promotional activities, the parents cited England’s Human Rights Act 1996, which they believe directs schools to “have regard to the principle that pupils are to be educated according to (parents’) wishes.”

The parents also cited the UK’s Education Act in asserting their right to not to have LGBT propaganda imposed on them.  

“I would further contend that the imposition on parents of divisive campaigning materials which run afoul of my family’s deeply held religious beliefs amounts to indoctrination both within the meaning of Protocol 1, Article 2 of the (European) Convention (of Human Rights) and Section 406-407 of the Education Act 1996, and is therefore wholly forbidden,” they wrote.

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200+ companies urge Supreme Court to make ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity’ protected classes

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By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – More than 200 corporations have signed an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to interpret the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition against “sex” discrimination to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

While many of the corporate signatories are household names, the brief was originated and authored by attorneys representing the interests of high-powered LGBT activist groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Out Leadership, Out and Equal, and Freedom for All Americans.   

Among the 206 companies who agreed to sign the LGBT activist-originated brief are: Airbnb, Amazon, American Express, American Airlines, Apple, Bank of America, Ben & Jerry’s, Best Buy, Disney, Domino’s, Expedia, Facebook, General Motors, Google, Hilton, IKEA, Macy’s, Marriott, Nike, PayPal, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Under Armour.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has issued a statement boasting, “The landmark brief has more corporate signers than any previous business brief in an LGBTQ non-discrimination case.”

“Emphasizing the scale of the support for LGBTQ workers, the brief lists all 206 corporations at both the beginning and end of the filing,” observed Law.com.

However, the number of corporations supportive of this legal effort is about half those who signed a brief in support of same-sex “marriage” in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case.

In October, the nine justices will hear oral arguments concerning three consolidated cases in which lower federal courts arrived at disparate decisions concerning the termination of employees because of their “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”

“Federal appeals courts are divided over the scope of protection for gay, lesbian and transgender workers under civil rights laws,” noted the Law.com report.  

That division is exemplified in the three cases the court has chosen to hear: 

  • In Altitude Express v. Zarda, a skydiving instructor was fired after he revealed to a customer that he is gay. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that this was a form of discrimination based on “sex,” prohibited under Title VII;
  • In R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC and Aimee Stephens, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that a male funeral director who was fired after announcing his intention to dress as a woman while performing his duties at a Christian funeral home was the victim of “gender identity” discrimination, violating Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination;
  • In Bostock v. Clayton County, a man was fired from his job as a county child welfare services coordinator after his employer learned he is homosexual. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit chose not to view his employer’s action as violating Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination.

The U.S. Justice Department under the Trump Administration is expected to argue that the term “sex” as cited in Title VII does not include civil rights protections for “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” 

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is also urging the Supreme Court to halt lower courts’ expansion of the definition of “sex” under Title VII.  

“Substituting ‘gender identity’ for ‘sex’ in nondiscrimination laws … threatens freedom of conscience,” ADF asserted in April when it petitioned the Suprme Court to hear the Michigan Funeral Home case. “Statutes interpreted that way have the effect, for instance, of forcing doctors to participate in – or employers to pay for – surgical efforts to alter sex in violation of their deeply held beliefs … In sum, the Sixth Circuit ushered in a profound change in federal law accompanied by widespread legal and social ramifications.”

James Kirchick, a visiting fellow at the left-leaning Brookings Institute, has questioned whether expanding the meaning of “sex” under Title VII is necessary. Kirchick wrote last week at The Atlantic:  

Gay people today do not face anything like the state-sanctioned terror inflicted upon African Americans during the 1950s and ’60s, when the major Civil Rights Acts were passed. And unlike the disparity between African Americans and whites a half century ago (or today, for that matter), gays economically outperform heterosexuals. A 2017 study conducted by two Vanderbilt University economists reports that gay men earn 10 percent more on average than their straight peers. (Researchers have long identified a similar trend among lesbians.) HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, which tracks LGBTQ inclusiveness among the country’s leading employers, reports that 609 companies earned a 100 percent rating in 2018. (Only 13 companies won this honor in 2002.) And while some businesses may discriminate against LGBTQ people in hiring, their numbers are dwindling and they regularly face pressure campaigns to change their practices.

Kirchick continues:

Moreover, the majority of gay people live in the 22 states where nondiscrimination statutes are already on the books. A federal law will do nothing more to protect them. When I asked the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s leading gay-rights group, for statistics on the number of LGBTQ people annually denied employment, housing, or service at a hotel or restaurant due to their sexuality or gender identity, the group was unable to provide me with any. 

Kirchick is currently writing a history of gay Washington.

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This pro-life warrior is changing the culture by focusing on the value of the human person

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By LSN

July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Jonathon Van Maren discusses the pro-life movement with Jason Jones on this week’s episode of The Van Maren Show. Jones began working in the pro-life movement while attending the University of Hawaii. His work within the movement progressed from forming the Pro-Life Student Union to include Director of Hawaii Right to Life and Public Relations Director for Human Life International. He is the president and founder of Human Rights Education Organization and Movie to Movement; both organizations promote the dignity and beauty of the human person. 

Jones begins by detailing his beginnings in the pro-life movement, which included going door-to-door talking to people about the horrors of abortion. He shares during the podcast that while God’s grace is upon the pro-life movement, “we still need to act.” 

Jones also spends time encouraging all those involved in the first generation of the pro-life movement, those involved in Operation Rescue through the 1980’s and into the 1990’s. He speaks of the inspiration their actions provided to the second and third generations of the movement. He says we’re entering the fourth generation of the pro-life movement, and this generation is far more equipped to fight the battle because of all the hard work of those who came before. 

“The goal of the pro-life movement is this: full legal protection for the child in the womb from the violence of abortion. The goal of the pro-life movement is uncomfortable,” Jones states. He goes on to say, “Ending abortion is as simple as taking out the trash. Unfortunately, that’s 40 years of trash. We just need to do it.”

Looking at the pro-life movement and the fact that we have been fighting this battle for 40 years can be overwhelming at times. However, Jones agrees with last week’s podcast guest, John Zmirak, that we must take action to make a difference. 

Van Maren and Jones wrap up their conversation by discussing the organizations Jones has started and uses to further the pro-life mission to the world. His organizations focus on protecting the vulnerable from violence through making movies, as well as by communicating the truth about the human person. They bring together the campaigns for everything from protecting the child in the womb to vulnerable ethnic or religious communities, as they are all direct threats to human life. 

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play.

For a full listing of episodes, and to subscribe to various channels, visit our Pippa webpage here.

To receive weekly emails when a new episode is uploaded, click here.

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Disney’s Toy Story 4 praised by LGBT activists for lesbian moms scene

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By Martin Barillas

July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-LGBT activists are praising Disney’s Toy Story 4 for including a “small but important moment of LGBTQ representation” with a scene of two moms dropping off a boy to school, both of them showing him affection. 

“At the start of the movie, when Woody’s new owner Bonnie goes for her first day of kindergarten, there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene where one child is dropped off by two moms. Later, the moms return to pick up their child and give them a hug,” states Gay Times in a June 26 article about the scene.

“It’s a small scene, sure, and it’s certainly not the major representation that queer people have been waiting for, but it’s still important. This is one of the biggest movies of the year, after all, and will be seen by millions of all ages around the world,” it added. 

Toy Story 4 is now in cinemas and features the continuing saga of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and other beloved characters in yet another iteration of a series that has delighted audiences and filled the coffers at the Walt Disney Company. The movie was produced by Pixar studios, which is wholly owned by Disney - a company that is one of the biggest media empires on the planet.

Kate Gardner at The Mary Sue agreed that the pro-LGBT moment “was not groundbreaking by any standard” but praised the scene as a “small moment of normalisation.”

“Here was a major family-friendly film, one of the biggest Disney Pixar releases, and they included a lesbian couple with their son. It’s a small moment of normalization, even if it’s minor. This isn’t a show on Netflix, or a banned episode of Arthur. It’s a Disney Pixar movie, and it showed two women caring for their child together,” she wrote. 

The American Family Association (AFA) said in a report that the scene “blindsided” families.

“The scene is subtle in order to desensitize children. But it is obvious that the child has two mothers, and they are parenting together,” wrote Monica Cole, director of One Million Moms, in a piece appearing on AFA. The small scene could have only been included with the “sole purpose of attempting to normalize this lifestyle,” she added.

Cole said that Toy Story 4 is the “last place parents would expect their children to be confronted with content regarding sexual orientation. Issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon.”

“Disney has decided once again to be politically correct versus providing family-friendly entertainment. Disney should stick to entertaining instead of pushing an agenda and exposing children to controversial topics,” she added. 

Focus on the Family also cautioned parents about the scene in it's "plugged in" review of the film. 

"The very brief inclusion of a same-sex couple in the background of one scene, which we've noted in this updated review, is also an important issue families will want to consider with regard to this film," the review stated. 

The film marks Disney’s latest effort to push the normalization of homosexuality on children. Other Disney films that push the normalization of homosexuality include: 

  • The Disney cartoon Doc McStuffins featured a family headed by two lesbian "moms" in its 2017 show about an aspiring doctor. It's marketed to preschoolers.
  • Disney’s 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast featured a homosexual subplot where one of the film’s characters was refashioned to be homosexual.
  • Disney Channel introduced in 2017 a homosexual teen character in “Andi Mack.” The show was aimed principally at a preadolescent television audience.
  • Last year the writer and co-director of Disney’s popular “Frozen” animated film gave what the Huffington Post called a “glimmer of hope” regarding main character Elsa coming out of the closet as a lesbian.
  • Disney’s upcoming film Jungle Cruise will feature for the first time an openly homosexual character.
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Pope Francis holds reliquary containing bone fragments of St. Peter during chanting of the Creed, concluding Mass for the Year of Faith, Nov. 24, 2013 Screenshot
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Pope Francis gives away relics of St. Peter to Orthodox patriarch

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By Diane Montagna
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Fragments of the bones of St. Peter inside the bronze reliquary, Nov. 24, 2013
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Pope Francis incenses relics of St. Peter at concluding Mass for the Year of Faith called by Pope Benedict XVI, Nov. 24, 2013, St. Peter's Basilica.

ROME, July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In an unexpected and what some in Rome are viewing as an ominous gesture, Pope Francis has given away relics of St. Peter the Apostle to an Orthodox patriarch.

Following a solemn Mass on June 29, the liturgical feast of the Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul, the Pope gave a delegation representing Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople a bronze reliquary containing nine bone fragments of the first Pope.

The Orthodox Church, while having a valid priesthood and sacraments, is not in full communion with Rome, in part because it does not accept papal primacy. Although a mutual withdrawal of excommunication between Rome and Constantinople was issued at the end of the Second Vatican Council by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, Catholics do not pray for the Orthodox patriarchs in their liturgy nor do the Orthodox pray for the Pope. There is no sacramental intercommunion between the Churches.  

The relics

The nine bone fragments were among the relics of St. Peter discovered during excavations of the Vatican necropolis begun by Pope Pius XI in 1939. During the excavations, archaeologists discovered a funerary monument with a casket engraved with the Greek words Petros eni, or “Peter is here.”

Following subsequent investigations, Italian archeologist Margherita Guarducci published a paper asserting that she had found the bones of St. Peter near the site identified as his tomb.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI, convinced of the authenticity of the discovery, commissioned a bronze reliquary for nine bone fragments and kept the relics in his private chapel in the Apostolic Palace, where they have remained until now. Each year, on the June 29 liturgical feast of St. Peter and Paul, the relics were displayed in the chapel for the private veneration of the Roman Pontiff. 

The other relics of St. Peter still remain in a small niche in the wall under the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, in the place they were originally discovered. 

The nine bone fragments have been displayed only once for public veneration, on November 24, 2013, when Pope Francis had the reliquary placed next to the altar during the closing Mass for the Year of Faith, opened by Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis removed the reliquary from the private chapel of the popes on June 29, the liturgical feast of the Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul, Patrons of Rome. 

Leaving the Apostolic Palace

Archbishop Job of Telmessos, who headed the official delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, said that after the papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on June 29, Pope Francis invited him to accompany him to the tomb of St. Peter under the main altar. 

The archbishop said that after the two prayed together at St. Peter’s tomb, the Pope told him he had a “gift for the Church of Constantinople.” The Pope invited the archbishop to accompany him to the Apostolic Palace. There, in the private chapel of the popes, Francis took the reliquary and gave it to Archbishop Job.

“When we entered the chapel,” the Orthodox archbishop said, “Pope Francis explained to me that Pope Paul VI wanted to keep a part of the relics of St. Peter from the Vatican Basilica in his private chapel.” 

Pope Francis told him: “I no longer live in the Apostolic Palace, I never use this chapel, I never [celebrate] Holy Mass here, and we have St. Peter’s relics in the basilica itself, so it will be better if they will be kept in Constantinople.”  

“This is my gift to the Church of Constantinople,” the Pope added, as he handed over the relics. “Please take this reliquary and give it to my brother Patriarch Bartholomew.” 

“This gift is not from me, it is a gift from God,” he said.

Admitting to being somewhat taken aback by the Pope’s decision, Archbishop Job said: “This is an extraordinary and unexpected event that we did not expect. The relics of the Holy Apostle Peter were always kept in Rome where they were the purpose of pilgrimages.”

“The Orthodox Church has never asked for them since they never belonged to the Church of Constantinople,” the archbishop added. “This time, we do not speak of a return of relics to their original place. This time, the relics are being presented as a gift. This prophetic gesture is another huge step on the path to concrete unity.”

An ominous sign?

But some observers view the gesture as an ominous sign for the Church and for Rome. 

“Pope Francis literally gave St. Peter away,” one source in Rome told LifeSite. “Incredible as a gesture.”

“The relics were in the Pope’s private chapel,” a priest noted. “He clearly prefers to make a ‘gesture’ of the relics than to pray before them and receive special graces from his patron, the first Pope.”

“It is an entirely secular way of thinking, and what he reaps — secularization — he will sow for the whole Church, in a way no one expects,” he added.

In comments to LifeSite, another priest in Rome noted how important “locus,” i.e. place, is in Catholic thought, and added that it was the Lord’s will that Peter be martyred in Rome.

The priest pointed out that Christian art and literature have depicted Peter fleeing crucifixion in Rome during Emperor Nero’s persecution. According to a Christian tradition, on a road outside the city, Peter met the risen Jesus. In the Latin translation, Peter asks Jesus, “Quo vadis, Domine?,” to which the risen Lord responds: “Romam eo iterum crucifigi” (“I am going to Rome to be crucified again”). The vision gave Peter the courage to return to the city, where he was martyred by being crucified upside down.

“I strongly suspect this is a sign that St. Peter’s protection will be leaving the Vatican,” an observer in Rome said. “What to watch for next: Francis gives relics of St Paul to Protestants. It would be in the same line as the logic of this move. And it would further remove divine protection, preparing St Peter’s for a devastation not seen since the sack of Rome in the 1500s.”

Moving East

On the evening of June 29, the relics were transferred from Rome to Constantinople, accompanied by Monsignor Andrea Palmieri, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. On June 30, they were exposed for public veneration during a solemn Divine Liturgy celebrated by Patriarch Bartholomew, who described Pope Francis’s decision as a “brave and bold” gesture.

The reliquary is now being kept at the ecumenical patriarchate in Istanbul.   

“Often signs are given to us,” one observer commented on Twitter following the news. “St. Peter leaving Rome for the East means only one [thing]: the judgment has been passed upon Rome.

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Doctors pressured me to abort my babies. They didn’t respect my choice when I said ‘no’

Anonymous
By Anonymous

Editor's note: The following story is from a young woman who wishes to remain anonymous. She wanted to tell her story about her experiences of pressures from the medical profession to have an abortion. She hopes this witness can help others to be more prepared and have the courage to stand up for their beliefs if they are faced with difficult decisions.

July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – At 25 years old everything in my life was perfect. I was recently married to my childhood crush and we were expecting our first child. As soon as our pregnancy was confirmed, there were lots of tests and exams and appointments that are all routine and normal.

Early in the pregnancy, I was asked to consent to additional testing. I didn't really understand it and I didn't really ask about it. I just understood that it would be minimally invasive and that it had something to do with detecting abnormalities. I got a call close to my 20th week gestation at 5:30 in the evening. The tests indicated that my child may have down syndrome. I had an appointment with a genetic councillor at 8:30 the next morning and I would learn more there.

My husband and I attended the meeting and learned that based on the tests, our baby had a 1 in 200 chance of having down syndrome. We could find out for sure with an amniocentesis but we had to decide immediately and go downstairs immediately to get it. The test came with a 1 in 100 risk of miscarriage. We had no time to think or talk to our parents and we did not even think of calling the chaplin.

We were both ready and willing to raise a child with special needs but we were also young and scared. Scared that our child might enter the world with additional challenges and scared of going 20 more weeks not knowing one way or the other. We consented to the test, walked downstairs and it was administered.

I regretted it immediately.

Why would we risk losing our child for such a low probability? Why would we take the test when the results would not affect the outcome of the pregnancy? Why did we have to decide immediately? By the Grace of God, my daughter was ok. She carried to term and she was born healthy and without complication. The days waiting to see if I would miscarry were hard and I was filled with remorse that we took this risk for no good reason. The reason we had to decide immediately is because as we neared the 20-week mark, it would have been more challenging to perform an abortion had we decided we wanted one.

Would we like an abortion?

A little over a year later, we were blessed with another pregnancy. We were thrilled and agreed to avoid the testing that led to the fear and confusion the first time around. Life was good and I went to my appointments as usual. At about 23 weeks, we learned that there was an abnormality on an ultrasound. Our son's left ventricle was too large. If things continued, he would be born with half a heart. We were referred to pediatric cardiology and sent for an echocardiogram. This all happened within days of the initial diagnosis.

Our first meeting with our son's cardiologist did not go well. We were told that the initial diagnosis was correct. Our son would die shortly after birth unless they could find him a heart and baby donor hearts are rare. Would we like an abortion? I believe it could have been done that day.

My husband and I had done some research on the subject and had read about a procedure that was done in Boston to save children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. We asked to be put in touch with that team. The medical staff told us we would need at least $100,000 cash for them to even talk to us. We asked again to be put in touch with that team. It was only then that the medical staff informed us that Sick Kids in Toronto was doing the same procedure but that they did not like the results they were seeing. We asked to be referred.

The next day we got a call from Sick Kids. I was now about 25 weeks gestation. We travelled to Toronto the next day. A day or 2 later, our boy was receiving lifesaving in utero heart surgery at Mount Sinai. He still needed several open heart surgeries in his first year of life but he is now a happy 6-year-old with no restrictions, on no medications and able to do all the things little boys should do. He has his whole heart and it is functioning well. He should live to be an old man. Many children, however, do live very meaningful lives with half a heart. There are surgeries they do at Sick Kids to make that possible. I was not made aware of that option during my initial meeting at the cardiologist either.

No support for my unborn baby

We had a third child with little drama. It was a nice relief.

It was our 4th pregnancy that really challenged us, though. Shortly into the first trimester, I knew that something was very wrong. I got confirmation at 12 weeks. After a series of specialist appointments, I learned that I have MPA vasculitis. My kidneys were shutting down and I needed chemotherapy to stop it. Without treatment, I would die within 5 months. I had 6 months left of the pregnancy. They could not administer chemotherapy to a pregnant person, so we would have to abort our baby. I was older now and not so easily frightened. I said "no" and I meant it.

The health care team was shocked. They said that there was only one course of treatment that could be administered to me while pregnant but that it was not effective. I agreed to that treatment and was referred to a high-risk OB.

My health care team was not happy. They teamed up on me, at times 3 on 1, insisting that I had to do the chemotherapy, that my child would not survive the pregnancy anyway and that the treatment I wanted would not work. I would hear them on the phone talking to my OB trying to get him to convince me to have an abortion.

My OB was Catholic and although he went over my options with me and once again made me aware of the seriousness of my situation, he did not pressure me into having an abortion. He respected my informed choice. The treatment worked. It was a difficult 6 months but I delivered a healthy baby girl. My choice cost me 70% of my kidney function but my baby lives and I have not regretted my decision for a single second.

The treatment stopped working and I agreed to the chemotherapy 5 months later. It didn't work. After jumping through a bunch of hoops and filling out the necessary paperwork, I am receiving another drug that is very expensive and not covered by Ontario's health care plan. I did receive funding for it and we are praying that it will be more effective. I am praying for the privilege to live long enough to raise my children. I only have access to this drug for the flare up. Any maintenance doses I need will have to be paid for out of pocket. My kidneys were shutting down and I had to wait for someone at the top to decide if I am worth investing in. I can get an abortion same day, I can get dialysis, and even an organ transplant, I can have a pill to make it all end so that I don’t suffer but access to the drug I need to live is limited. We live in a country where death is a right and life is a privilege if not by law then certainly by practice. 

These medical professionals who pressured me to have an abortion were not bad people who wanted to see my baby die. These were people who wanted to see me live but they did not respect my choice.

There was no support for my unborn baby.

Some friends and family thought that I was being irresponsible by choosing to keep my child and delay treatment. They spoke openly about it behind my back. Those are the same people who fuss over my daughter and declare her to be absolutely adorable. 

It did not feel like I had a 'choice'

So as you can see, it is not just teenagers and victims of violence that are affected by this issue. People have to choose a side when they are young before they are in a situation where they are terrified and an "out" has been offered to them. God and most of my family and my community has stuck by us throughout it all. Prayer and good council has kept us strong in uncertain times.

Throughout our entire journey, my husband has always been very supportive of me, but the road hasn't been easy for him. If at any time I chose an abortion, it would have been administered immediately and without even consulting him. I used to bring him to appointments for support and he was often treated like the decision had nothing to do with him and he should not be there. He used to do the paperwork for our kids after delivery so that I could rest and recover. But, the paperwork for our youngest 2 were rejected because he submitted it instead of me. When he called the government to inquire about the paperwork, they would not even release any information to him about his own children and would only speak to me.

The thing is that through all of this, it did not feel like I had a choice. I was told what to do and given certainties that were anything but. I had to fight for the lives of my children.

It was worth it absolutely but it was a fight even though I was married and all of our children were planned and all of the socioeconomics were in our favour. It was still a fight. The medical staff truly believed they were trying to spare me from suffering. In reality, though, their "solution" would have robbed me of the opportunity for a miracle, the opportunity for hope, the opportunity for faith. That hospital would have taken 2 of my children without even consulting their father. Without even suggesting that if I spoke to my parents or husband or friends or priest that I may be able to find a way to cope. Lives would have been lost and it would have been like nothing had happened. My babies would have been disposed of as medical waste without even the dignity of a burial.

They say that the first step in creating a genocide is to dehumanize the group you want exterminated, I’d say we as a nation have accomplished that.

I do not want to see women suffer. I have nothing but compassion for women who have found themselves in difficult situations. I also don’t want to see girls targeted for abortion because their parents wanted a boy. I don’t want to see beautiful lives ofbabies cut off because they have disabilities. I also don’t want to see families make decisions out of fear. I am pro-life but that does not mean I want to see women burned at that stake.

It means that when a friend comes to me to say that they had a miscarriage, or an ectopic pregnancy or a stillbirth I will mourn their child with them. I believe they lost someone dear to them. It means that if a friend comes to me saying that they had an abortion, I will also mourn their loss; because a life was lost. Whatever the reason, whatever the circumstances, a life was lost. I am not pro-life to place blame or point fingers. I understand what it is to be scared and I can certainly find compassion for those who felt they had no other or no better choice. But I mourn for those lives because they were lives and I am not ashamed to say it.

Life is precious, we should cherish it.

 

Cardinal Walter Kasper
John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews
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Cdl. Kasper calls for ‘non-sacramental, liturgical blessings’ for female Eucharistic ministers, lectors

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By Maike Hickson

July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Walter Kasper said that the Church is "free" to bestow on women a "non-sacramental, liturgical blessing" that would not be a "sacramental ordination" but which would confirm women in Church ministries in which they already function, such as extraordinary Eucharistic ministers, lectors, and aiding in the Church's charitable works and administration. 

The German Cardinal made these remarks to LifeSiteNews while commenting on Pope Francis's recent remarks on the female diaconate. He said he was “not surprised” by the result of the 2016 female deacon commission. He adds that it was already clear that female deacons did not have the same role as male deacons. 

LifeSiteNews had reached out to Cardinal Kasper after the Pope's recent remarks on the outcome of the 2016 Female Deacon Commission. On May 10, Pope Francis had told the International Union of Superiors General in Rome about this commission's findings saying “it’s little, the result isn’t much, but it’s a step ahead.”

Said the Pope: “Certainly, there was a form of female diaconate in the beginning [of the Church's history], especially in the region of Syria. I said it on the plane: they were assisting with the baptisms, in the cases of dissolving marriages, and the form of ordination was not the sacramental formula. It was, so to say — this is what those who are informed tell me, because I’m not an expert — it was like the abbatial blessing of an abbess is today, a special blessing for deaconesses.”

Further explaining his thoughts in light of these papal comments, Cardinal Kasper said that “it does not make much sense to continue this discussion,” but pointed out that women today are given much more important roles in the Church than in the past. He refered to women as extraordinary Eucharistic ministers, as leaders of liturgies of the word, and as lectors. 

He proposed that the Church could give these women a sort of blessing, similar to the ones bestowed upon abbesses:

“The Church is free to carry out the vocation of women to these offices with the help of a non-sacramental, liturgical blessing, and in the presence of the whole congregation and within the celebration of the Holy Eucharist (for example in the context of the Prayers of the Faithful).”

“The result of the commission, which was to deal with the question of the history of the female diaconate, did not surprise me,” Kasper told LifeSiteNews. “I have expected the result just as the Pope has presented it.” The German prelate who has lived in Rome since 2001, said that it is “uncontested” that there were female deacons in the past, but that is just as “uncontested” that “these female deacons are not to be regarded as female counterparts of the male deacons.”

However, the question as to whether these female deacons received a “sacramental or non-sacramental ordination,” is still “contested,” said Kasper. “Also the International Theology Commission remained divided when dealing with this question (2002).”

Cardinal Kasper said that “according to my conviction, it makes little sense to continue to debate this question. Because the clear differentiation between the seven sacraments and sacramentals exists only since the 12th century (around the time of Petrus Lombardus). It is unhistorical to project this question back into the first millennium,” he continued, adding that “similarly, it also seems impossible to me to go back behind the clarifications of the second millennium which have mostly been adapted also by the Eastern churches.”

Cardinal Kasper furthermore pointed out that the “position of the woman in society as in the Church is today very different from the one of the women in the first millennium.”

“Today, women have many functions in the Church that go far beyond those that the female deacons had in the first millennium,” the German prelate explained. As examples, he mentions “extraordinary eucharistic ministers, lectors at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, leaders and presiders of Liturgies of the Word, next to often important leading functions in the Church's charitable works and administration, as well as those offices in dioceses and in the Roman Curia which are not bound to sacramental ordination.”

It is in these fields, Cardinal Kasper suggested, that the Church could establish new ministries or offices for women in the Church, established with a sort of blessing, rather than through an ordination.

“The Church is free to put into effect the vocation of women to these offices with the help of a non-sacramental, liturgical blessing – in the presence of the whole congregation and within the celebration of the Holy Eucharist (for example in the context of the Prayers of the Faithful) – and to do so in such a form that there is no confusion with a sacramental ordination. In similar ways, it is done in the case of the blessing of an abbot or an abbess, of a religious profession, of the Sacrament of Matrimony, and so on,” he said.

Cardinal Kasper also highlighted in his comments to LifeSiteNews that the Church's history knows of “many holy women who, without ordination, had in their time – in partially up to today – an influence in the Church that goes far beyond that of a bishop or of a cardinal.” For example, “Saint Catherine of Siena achieved more than all the cardinals of her time taken together.” Other saints mentioned by the German prelate included St. Hildegard von Bingen, St.  Thérèse of Lisieux, and St. Joan of Arc.

Kasper concluded his comments with the words: “Innumerable priests and bishops owe their vocation to the priesthood to the example and prayers of their mothers; St. Augustine certainly was not the only one. It is a form of bad clericalism to think only a clergyman has influence in the Church. Each parish that I know around the globe would have already long collapsed without the service of women in the fields of catechesis, charitable works, and more.”

LifeSiteNews also reached out for comment to Professor Paul Zulehner, a collaborator of Bishop Fritz Lobinger and Bishop Erwin Kräutler. All three clergymen are in favor of married and female priests.

Zulehner – who also launched the Pro Pope Francis initiative which now aims at assisting the Pope in his Church reforms – commented to LifeSiteNews that the commission's report “obviously dealt with sources of the Early Church. It did not produce a result that makes it easy to decide: yes, there were female deacons – especially in the tradition of the Eastern Church. No, there are no clear signs that Jesus would have wanted such an office.”

For him, the commission was “perhaps looking too much for possible traces of a female diaconate, instead of pursuing more fundamental questions which enlarge the horizon within theology.”

Zulehner said that the fact that the Female Deacon Commission's report manifested “many subjective views” and thus did not seem “unambiguous” to the Pope is “a sign that there has not been a clear rejection of the opening of Holy Orders to women on the level of the diaconate.” 

Referring to a book that he published, together with his colleague Thomas Halik, on Pope Francis' reforms, the Austrian theologian stated that female experts in this field “have no doubt that the access to the Holy Orders cannot be denied to women.”

Quoting Tertullian (209 AD) (who was later drawn into the spiritual heresy of Montanism) as saying that the Holy Orders [Zulehner uses here the Latin word Ordo] had been “established by ecclesiastical authority” (“ab auctoritate ecclesiae institutus” – Exhortatio de castitate), Zulehner wondered whether the “Church in turn has the possibility to further develop with full authority the official structures, as it has de facto already taken place in the course of time and is still possible to today?”

He said that only men had first access to the official ministries due to the “cultural-historical role of man and woman in the time of the Early Church.” He hopes not only to have female deacons, but a more fundamental access for women to the ordained offices, as well as to leading offices in the Church. The Austrian theologian would not wish women merely to have access to the lower level of ordination – the diaconate – thus having still “a submission of female deacons under male priests.”

Professor Zulehner concluded his comments to LifeSiteNews as follows: “However, I can also understand when some people quietly think according to the drop-by-drop logic: as soon as the diaconate is open to women, the path to the episcopal office is open. But he who is opposed exactly to this, will never give his support to the female diaconate, even if it existed in the Early Church. Such experts then rejoice and say, with a tone of relief: 'and then the traces vanished...'”

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Belgian bishops direct priests to accompany to the end those who choose euthanasia

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic bishops of Belgium have published official guidelines for end-of-life pastoral care under the form of a 24-page Declaration made public on June 12. In a country where euthanasia has been legal since 2002, the Catholic attitude toward death and the dying certainly needs to be underscored, and specific problems need to be addressed. From this point of view and others, the episcopal falls short of expectations.

The brochure is available online here, in Dutch, under the title Your Hand in My Hand.

The pastoral guidelines have a twofold objective: to take into account the growing individualism and isolation of Belgian society, creating a great need for work with the dying, and to respond to the broad acceptance of euthanasia in the country.

On the one hand, the bishops of Belgium are reminding their flock and pastors that a dying person, who is fragile for that very reason, needs the proximity as well as the material, psychological and spiritual aid of family, friends, neighbors and pastoral workers, from priests to parish volunteers.

On the other, they aim to broadcast a message of “unconditional love” that leads them to ask pastors to remain “close” to the dying person, even when euthanasia has been asked for and access to the procedure has been granted, and even unto accompanying the victim up to the very end.

Commentators in the Belgian press have underscored that according to the directives, “rituals and prayers” such as the “Unction of the sick,” or Extreme Unction, and the receiving of the Viaticum – Holy Communion given when death is imminent – can be offered to people who are living their last hours before euthanasia.

The guidelines are not quite that explicit, speaking more of the duty to stay “close” to a dying person, even when euthanasia is going to take place. They state that “you can pray for that person and, if it is possible, pray together with that person” in that situation. “However great our human powerlessness, we always entrust our fellow man to Him who is the source of all life and whose mercy knows no bounds,” the bishops write.

They do not speak of the value of prayer – or the absence of it – when a suicidal act has been decided upon and is going to place.

Pastoral care givers in particular have already interpreted the bishops’ guidelines to mean that there is no fundamental difference in the approach to a dying person who has chosen euthanasia and one who has not, even though the guidelines do remind care givers that euthanasia is contrary to the Commandment: “Thou shalt not murder.”

In its opening paragraphs, Your hand in My Hand feebly states: “We respect the laws that are voted for in a state of law. Yet it is our right and duty in a pluralistic, democratic society freely to express our opinion as Christians and to make our critical voice heard on fundamental issues relating to life and death.” The bishops thereby recall that numerous documents have been issued regarding euthanasia.

But they also speak out against “unreasonable obstinacy” in treatment, the very words used by the powers that be to justify Vincent Lambert's “right” to die in France. The concept is ambiguous, to say the least.

The bishops’ guidelines contain many sociological and psychological passages, but very little about an assessment of one’s own life at the supreme hour of death, indirect allusions to an examination of conscience, and confession of one's faults, and nothing at all about particular judgment of the soul at death and the Last Judgment, Heaven, Hell and Purgatory.

Now if pastoral care means anything at all, it consists in giving immortal human souls the opportunity to receive the necessary help, in particular through the sacraments, to die in a state of grace and thus to be saved by repenting their sins (another absent word) and accepting the mercy of God.

References to God's mercy are rightly very prevalent in the document, but it is presented as a mercy without requirements on the part of the dying person, and the word and clear notion of repentance are conspicuous by their absence.

Here’s an example:

“Saying goodbye to life involves many facets: being able to let go, to take stock of your life, to experience the need for reconciliation and healing. Christian-inspired pastoral care can contribute to this, especially when life questions are involved. This can provide space for taking a look back at one’s life. What may come to light here are experiences of sense and nonsense, sources of power that give hope, sustaining relationships and the question of God. The pastor will especially try to work to connect the dying person to others, and when the person is open to it, also to God. It is sometimes difficult to correct and adjust skewed, ensnaring visions of God in the dying or in those who surround them. But it is especially important that the pastor himself acts and speaks from the awareness that God wants to be close to the suffering and dying one, that He is the ally of the fragile, even though in the experience He often remains an unfathomable Mystery.”

The document relates – but does not equate – the anguished calls for death of which the Bible speaks (Jeremiah, Moses, Jonah, Tobit … ) and the death wish of those who ask for euthanasia. The idea is to show that God can hear our anguish and help us to overcome it, and that the euthanasia wish should be “taken seriously,” in particular in order to help and heal the person who is asking for it: “The pastor (…) can give them resilience, which can keep them going on in life … Maybe the pastor himself can unexpectedly be such a healing angel, a messenger of God” such as those who in the Old Testament come to help those who cry out to God, the bishops wrote.

Affirming that many euthanasia requests are essentially calls for help or for the recognition of seriousness of a person's condition, the guidelines note that many of them are not followed by effective termination of life.

The guidelines state:

“The choice of a pastor and of the pastoral service not to stop providing guidance to people with an euthanasia request is in line with the conviction that you should abandon no one, and so doing expresses and embodies the fact that God never abandons anyone, no matter what happens. This does not in any way imply an endorsement of anything. For the pastor this can be a very difficult field of tension. Practical experiences of pastoral managers show that they are able to play a very important role in interpreting and clarifying the situation of the euthanasia request. Throughout this clarification process, that is completely confidential, non-judgmental and shows respect for the author of the question, it happens that that person does go forward to an effective termination of life, even though the whole procedure has been gone through. The pastor is often the one who makes the connections throughout this process, acting as a sounding board for family and friends, doctors and health care providers.”

So part of the objective at least is to dissuade people from obtaining effective euthanasia, but the insistence on being “non-judgmental,” so characteristic of our times, leaves many questions unanswered and especially does not exhort Catholic pastors that suicide is, before anything else, a mortal sin through which God does not abandon man, but man – lest he repent – “abandons” God and closes himself to God's mercy.

The document continues:

“It happens that a person finally decides to be euthanized. Even then, the pastor remains close to this person. Even if one does not agree with a person's decision, it does not in any way mean one should leave the person in question to his own lot. Also then you remain close to him or her. You can pray for this person and, if possible, pray together with this person, too.”

How far does this go? The guidelines are not absolutely clear, and they also speak of the personal difficulties pastors will encounter in these “delicate” situations, wondering whether they “acted right” or whether they “compromised with something they themselves or the Church community they represent does not approve in principle.”

“The self-care of a pastor is also of great importance here,” the guidelines state.

But they sorely lack clear words on grave and even damning issues, and in that sense, they are surely not “charitable” toward confused Catholics and even confused priests or pastoral workers who have a right to hear of the judgment of God as well as of His mercy.

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Democrats suddenly care about keeping families together…but only at the border

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By Claire Chretien

July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The people who support abortion and divorce, want universal pre-K and daycare, and think the government should remove kids from Christian homes seem to have finally woken up to the harms of ripping children away from their parents.

Confronted with the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, Democrats, leftists, and the liberal media are now extolling the virtues of keeping families together and highlighting the harms that come from separating kids and parents.

Contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination focused on family separation during the first round of debates. Heartbreaking news reports describe traumatized immigrant children separated from their parents. 

In 2018, The Washington Post published an article (focused on the immigration crisis) on the trauma that children endure when they are forcibly removed from their parents.

“Their heart rate goes up. Their body releases a flood of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline,” the liberal newspaper explained. “Those stress hormones can start killing off dendrites — the little branches in brain cells that transmit mes­sages. In time, the stress can start killing off neurons and — especially in young children — wreaking dramatic and long-term damage, both psychologically and to the physical structure of the brain.”

It’s wonderful people other than social conservatives are finally realizing how harmful it is for children and parents to be separated. But where was this outrage when Norwegian government officials chased down a terrified 12-year-old homeschooler and took him away from his parents, who weren’t even accused of abusing him? Where is the outrage over the devastation divorce causes to kids? What about some indignation over the literal ripping of unborn children out of their mothers’ wombs? 

Why is it that the same people who want every kid in a government-run facility 12 hours a day while their parents serve as corporate wage slaves also oppose the separation of migrant families via government facilities?   

The abortion movement often claims that pro-lifers “only care about babies before they’re born.” (This canard has been debunked many times – and it should be noted that pro-lifers are trying to save newborns from being butchered or left to die, too.) Will conservatives now start pointing out that the left only cares about families if they’re trying to enter the U.S. illegally?

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Bishop Andreas Laun, Emeritus Auxiliary of Salzburg, Austria
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Austrian bishop: Pope said he won’t abolish priestly celibacy because he anticipates Judgement Day

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By Maike Hickson

July 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Austrian Bishop Andreas Laun, in a short commentary published on the Austrian news website Kath.net, reminds us that Pope Francis said in January 2019 that he will not abolish obligatory clerical celibacy, adding that he does not “want to appear before God with this decision.”

Bishop Laun quotes these latter papal words after first presenting Pope Francis’ words that “celibacy is a gift for the Church.” 

With it, Bishop Laun points out that Pope Francis is aware that the abolition of obligatory celibacy on his part would be a decision that he would one day have to answer for before God. 

Comments Laun: “With [those remarks], Francis reminds us of a fundamental truth concerning the life of each person and of the meaning of one's life: that is to say, it is finally all about this one dramatic moment, when I will – must or may – stand before God and when I will hear: ‘Come in,’ or a terrible: ‘Depart from Me.’”

Here, the Austrian bishop shows us how to act in life in order to be able to be humbly hopeful concerning that one “dramatic moment”: “The Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Church which flows from it give me the confident hope for the ‘Come’ which I in fact only myself have to will!”

Bishop Laun's short commentary might be read here as an indirect way of reminding Pope Francis of his own words on the matter of priestly celibacy and the gravity involved with possibly changing it.

Pope Francis thus spoke during his in-flight press conference on January 28 when coming back from World Youth Day in Panama. Having been asked whether he would allow married priests for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, as it is already permitted for the Eastern Rites, the Pope answered

“Of the Latin rite... I am reminded of that phrase of Saint Paul VI: 'I would rather give my life than change the law on celibacy'. It came to mind and I want to say it, because it is a courageous phrase, in a more difficult moment than this, 1968 / 1970... Personally, I think that celibacy is a gift for the Church. Second, I don’t agree with allowing optional celibacy, no. There might only remain a few possibilities in the most remote places – I am thinking of the Pacific islands... But it is one thing to reflect on when there is pastoral necessity, there, the pastor must think of the faithful.”

Subsequently, Pope Francis quoted the work of the retired Bishop Fritz Lobinger (Aliwal, South Africa), who has written extensively on the idea of ordaining married men to the priesthood. He said: 

“There is a book by Father Lobinger [Bishop Fritz Lobinger, Preti per domani (Priests for Tomorrow), Emi, 2009], it is interesting – this is a matter of discussion among theologians, there’s no decision on my part. My decision is: optional celibacy before the diaconate, no. That’s something for me, something personal, I won’t do it, this remains clear. Am I ‘closed’? Maybe. But I don’t want to appear before God with this decision.”

Returning to Father Lobinger: he said: 

“‘The Church makes the Eucharist and the Eucharist makes the Church.’ But where there is no Eucharist, in the communities – you may think, Caroline, of the Pacific Islands... [journalist mentions the Amazon region] ... maybe there... in many places... Lobinger says: who makes the Eucharist? In those communities the ‘directors,’ let’s say, the organizers of those communities are deacons or nuns or lay people, directly. And Lobinger says: one can ordain an elderly man, married – that is his thesis – one could ordain an elderly married man, but only so that he exercises the munus sanctificandi, that is, that he celebrates Mass, that he administers the sacrament of Reconciliation and performs the Anointing of the Sick. Priestly ordination gives the three munera: regendi – to govern, the pastor – ; docendi – to teach – and sanctificandi. This comes with ordination. The bishop would only give the faculties for the munus sanctificandi: this is the thesis. The book is interesting. Perhaps this can help in considering the problem. I believe that the problem must be opened in this sense, where there is a pastoral problem, because of the lack of priests. I’m not saying that it should be done, because I have not reflected, I have not prayed sufficiently about it. But the theologians must study [it]. An example is Father Lobinger... he was a fidei donum [priest], in South Africa... he is now an elderly man. I give this example to mean the points that they [the theologians] must study. I was talking to an official of the Secretariat of State, a bishop, who had to work in a communist country at the beginning of the revolution; when they saw how that revolution was going – in the 1950’s, more or less, – the bishops secretly ordained good, religious farm workers. Then, following the crisis, thirty years later, the matter was resolved. And he told me of the emotion he had felt when, in a concelebration, he saw these workers, with the hands of farmers, putting on their albs to concelebrate with the bishops. In the history of the Church, this has happened. It is something to study, to think, and to pray about.”

As may be seen in these comments, Pope Francis says he does not wish to abolish obligatory celibacy, but he still considers introducing married priests in certain regions of the world. 

In light of the recently published June 17 working document for the upcoming October 2019 Synod on the Pan-Amazon region, Bishop Laun might have seen it fit to remind us all of the gravity of any decision to change Church discipline regarding celibacy.

The Vatican II document Lumen Gentium clearly stated that all three munera are bound together and are part of the ecclesiastical office that is being exercised, on different levels, by bishops, priests, and deacons: 

“Thus the divinely established ecclesiastical ministry is exercised on different levels by those who from antiquity have been called bishops, priests and deacons.(63*) [….] By the power of the sacrament of Orders,(65*) in the image of Christ the eternal high Priest,(177) they [the priests] are consecrated to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful and to celebrate divine worship, so that they are true priests of the New Testament.(66*) Partakers of the function of Christ the sole Mediator,(178) on their level of ministry, they announce the divine word to all. They exercise their sacred function especially in the Eucharistic worship or the celebration of the Mass by which acting in the person of Christ (67*) and proclaiming His Mystery they unite the prayers of the faithful with the sacrifice of their Head and renew and apply (68*) in the sacrifice of the Mass [….] Exercising within the limits of their authority the function of Christ as Shepherd and Head,(69*) they gather together God's family as a brotherhood all of one mind,(70*) and lead them in the Spirit, through Christ, to God the Father.” (Lumen Gentium 28)

Regarding the Pope’s above-quoted words on the possible separation of the different munera of the priesthood and on the idea of having priests who merely administer the Sacraments, but do not teach or govern, it might be worthwhile to quote what Father Roger Laudry recently said in an article for the National Catholic Register:

“Because of a severe lack of educational infrastructure, most of those in the Amazon do not have access to adequate, quality formal education. We are not talking about the ordination of married men with doctorates, master’s or even bachelor’s degrees, in theology or anything else. We would be studying whether to ordain even those with only an elementary-level education, such that they might struggle even to read the Scriptures and the missal. Church history shows that is not a good idea. In the centuries before Catholic seminaries were founded in Europe, men simply apprenticed themselves for a time to local clergy, took an exam, and then were ordained, barely able to pronounce the Latin, not to mention understand it. The scandals caused by such poorly trained clergy helped precipitate the Protestant Reformation.”

As Stephen Morgan, a British Catholic Deacon who teaches in Macao, commented on Twitter: “This is a proposed reversal of the decision of an ecumenical Council (Trent) to respond to precisely this problem in Europe which had been partly responsible for the virtual triumph of Protestantism. The same will happen in the Amazon.”

It may not be, accordingly, that there are priests who are merely celebrating Mass and hearing confessions, but do not open their mouths to teach or govern a parish. It is a fragmentation of the priesthood that existed in the Middle Ages and that was subsequently corrected by the Church.

In light of these many problems related to even the limited idea of permitting married priests in the Amazon region, it is helpful that Bishop Laun reminds Pope Francis of the gravity of such a possible decision.

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Episode 24: This pro-life warrior is changing the culture by focusing on the value of the human person

By Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

Jonathon Van Maren discusses the pro-life movement with Jason Jones on this week’s episode of The Van Maren Show. Jones began working in the pro-life movement while attending the University of Hawaii. His work within the movement progressed from forming the Pro-Life Student Union to include Director of Hawaii Right to Life and Public Relations Director for Human Life International. He is the president and founder of HumanRights Education Organization and Movie to Movement; both organizations promote the dignity and beauty of the human person.


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Professor Roberto de Mattei explains the crisis in the Church - Part 2 of 2

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By John-Henry Westen

On this edition of the John-Henry Westen show we are pleased to bring you the second in a two-part interview with Professor Roberto de Mattei. Described as the greatest historian on the Catholic Church alive today, Professor de Mattei explains how Catholics must respond to the crisis in the Church. "A respectful resistance" is what Catholics need to have at this time in Church history, he argues. Now “is a time for speaking” and to have a “militant spirit” filled with prayer and example.


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