All articles from July 8, 2019


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Congolese refugee and rape victim explains why she chose life: ‘my baby had a right to live’

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By Calvin Freiburger

KENYA, July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – While western politicians debate the acceptability of late-term abortions for convenience, a refugee from the Congo is speaking out about choosing life for her son under conditions inconceivable to most Americans or Canadians.

On July 1, Fox News published a story about Nancy, a refugee in Kenya from Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In March 2017, three masked men broke into her home to brutally beat and rape her while her sons, ages three and 14, watched. The attack came weeks after her sister had also been assaulted. The traumatized 14-year-old ran away. 

“And then I was blamed and banished by my own family and my former husband’s family,” she said. “I had no one. And for weeks all I could do was look for [my] son.” So Nancy fled with her three-year-old, Stephane.

During the harsh six-week trek from Kinshasa to Nairobi, Kenya, Nancy began vomiting and eventually discovered one of her rapists had impregnated her. “I was devastated. I felt confused, embarrassed,” she recalls, but never doubted that she would give birth to and raise baby Guilo.

“I believe in the right to life, the baby was inside me,” she declared. “My baby had a right to live.”

Now staying at Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp and largely dependent on Red Cross support, Nancy is preoccupied with caring for her young boys. “We are in a hopeless situation, but there is no time to worry about how to cope, my child has a lot of needs,” she told Fox. She hopes to eventually set up a business in the camp, possibly selling food and household items to help other refugees.

Miraculously, the Red Cross was able to find Nancy’s oldest son and put them in contact, confirming his safety.

“God will take care,” she said.

While Nancy and her family are safe for the time being, Fox News reports that rape is so prevalent in the Congo that the United Nations has labeled it the “rape capital of the world,” with rape victims and their children alike subject to severe societal stigma and persecution.

Precise statistics aren’t available, but it has been estimated that 48 women are raped every hour in the Congo, Fox notes.

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Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s beatification expected to come soon

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By Martin Barillas

PEORIA, Illinois, July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria announced with “overwhelming joy” that Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, moving the famed television catechist a step closer to beatification.

"Now that the miracle has been confirmed by Pope Francis, the Diocese of Peoria can formally begin planning for the beatification of Archbishop Sheen, which will take place in Peoria,"  Bishop Jenky said in a July 6 release from the diocese after the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated the decree approving the miracle attributed to Sheen’s intercession. 

The miraculous healing of James Fulton Engstrom of Washington, Illinois, is credited to Sheen, who was the most celebrated television personality in the early era of television. 

The prognosis was dire for young Engstrom, who was believed to be stillborn during a planned home delivery on Sept. 16, 2010. Immediately invoking the intercession of Archbishop Sheen for their baby’s healing, parents Bonnie and Travis Engstrom asked others to beg for the famed archbishop’s intercession once little James Fulton was transferred for emergency treatment at a local hospital.

Having noted that the baby was without a pulse for 61 minutes, physicians prepared to declare him dead. But the baby’s heart went into motion at a normal rhythm. 

Despite doctors’ assertions that he would never see, walk, or feed himself, the boy has grown to be a thriving 8-year-old who likes “Star Wars” and riding his bicycle.

"It is truly amazing how God continues to work miracles," Bishop Jenky said in his statement. "I am so grateful that the Vatican acted so quickly after last week's transfer of Sheen's remains from New York to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria." 

The cause for beatification officially began in 2003. Pope Benedict XVI recognized Sheen’s heroic virtues and gave him the title "Venerable" in 2012.

During a July 5 audience, Pope Francis affirmed the miracle attributed to Archbishop Sheen’s intercession and also recognized the heroic virtues of six men and one woman. In most cases, unless martyrdom is involved, two miracles attributed to the intercession of the prospective saint must be researched and accepted by the Church for canonization. One more recognized miracle is needed for Archbishop Sheen to be considered a saint.

According to Peoria’s diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Post, Bonnie Engstrom affirmed that God produced a miracle as evidence of his glory.

"I really don't think it was given to us, for us," she said. "I think it was given to the church, for the church."

Bishop Jenky "hopes and prays" that the beatification will come this year, the 100th anniversary of Archbishop Sheen's ordination to the priesthood.

Archbishop Sheen died on December 9, 1979, at age 84. His body was laid to rest in a crypt beneath the main altar of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. After lengthy and costly legal wrangling, the archbishop’s remains were transferred to Peoria on June 27 at the request of his niece, Joan Sheen Cunningham, and put to rest in a new marble tomb in Peoria’s cathedral.

When the New York archdiocese declared that it would not explore the archbishop’s beatification, the Peoria diocese started the process in 2002. Bishop Jenky suspended the cause in 2014, acknowledging that Vatican authorities expected Sheen’s remains to be in the Peoria diocese.

Sheen’s niece filed a legal complaint in 2016, asking that the archbishop’s remains be transferred to Peoria. The New York diocese repeatedly appealed the request in court. However, on June 7, the New York Court of Appeals denied further appeal of a decision by the New York Supreme Court that upheld the niece’s petition, thus allowing the transfer of remains.

Born in El Paso, Illinois, on May 8, 1895, the future archbishop and television show host was baptized Peter John Sheen. Ordained to the priesthood on Sept. 20, 1919, at age 24 at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria, he later taught at The Catholic University of America and led the Society of the Propagation of the Faith.

In the 1950s and 60s, he was known to millions for his Emmy Award-winning television show, "Life Is Worth Living," as well as a series of books on the Catholic faith. Appointed auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951, he was later named bishop of Rochester, New York, in 1966. Upon his retirement in 1969, he returned to New York City, where he died in 1979.  

Besides Archbishop Sheen, the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints also recognized the heroic virtues of seven Servants of God: Lebanese Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites Elia Hoyek (1843-1931); Archbishop Giovanni Vittorio Ferro (1901-1992); founder of the Institute of  Missionaries of Charity Ángel Riesco Carbajo (1902-1972); Father Ladislao Korniłowicz (1884-1946); Father Angelico Lipani (1842-1920); Sister Francisca del Espíritu Santo (1647-1711); and Etienne-Pierre Morlanne (1772-1862), the lay founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Maternal Charity.

Pope Francis also approved inscribing the name of Blessed Bartholomew, a 16th century Portuguese Dominican Archbishop of Braga, in the book of the martyrs.

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New York becoming ‘haven’ for abortion tourism as other states pass pro-life laws

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By Lisa Bourne

July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A notorious New York abortion facility is reporting a rise in out-of-state women seeking the procedure there, attributing the increase to gains in pro-life legislation – and the City Council of New York is willing to help foot the bill for women to come to the Empire State for abortion. 

There have been 26 abortion bans signed so far this year across 12 American states, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. As a result, The Guardian reports, leadership at Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica, Queens, says the abortion facility has already seen a marked rise in women coming to through its doors for abortions from some of the affected states and others.

The Queens abortion facility has experienced a significant increase in recent months of women from states such as Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Georgia, the report said. Pennsylvania has not enacted pro-life laws this year. Choices also said it’s had two women from Bermuda come in for abortions.

Before the recent wave of pro-life laws, the abortion center had gotten four or five out-of-state women coming for abortions per week, but now the figure is seven to nine.

New York City Council to fund $250k worth of abortions

The Guardian reports on New York’s increase in out-of-state abortion traffic against a pro-abortion backdrop, its headline calling New York “a haven.” 

The article itself states: “It (‘the right to an abortion’) remains intact for now, despite recent state efforts to restrict access, but obtaining and paying for an abortion has never been easy. Women face a shortage of clinics, tight restrictions on the way they are operated, high costs and fierce anti-abortion campaigns.”

The numbers in the article indicating an increase in women coming from other states to New York to get an abortion came from Merle Hoffman, president and founder of the Choices abortion facility. 

Hoffman, dubbed the “millionaire abortionist” by Forbes in 2011, said the pro-life laws getting passed in other states would affect the poor and women of color the most. 

“It will increase as the restrictions really start to hold,” she said. “Now of course there’s appeals going on, so that can stop it for a while, but the general movement to restrict women’s freedom, autonomy, moral agency and access is really out there.”

Hoffman has been conducting abortions there since 1971, two years before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in all 50 states.

Her for-profit Choices Women’s Medical Center sees an estimated 50,000 clients each year and in 2016 it reportedly made $10 million in revenue

The Guardian article said that sometimes Hoffman funds patients’ abortions herself.

Hoffman’s abortion center is partnering with various organizations to procure funding for women traveling from out of state to come there for an abortion, including travel, accommodations, and the cost of the procedure.

One of the organizations is the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF), to which the New York City Council recently pledged $250,000 to help poor women travel to the state for abortions.

City officials said the money, to be included in the budget being negotiated between the Council and the mayor’s office, would allow about 500 women to abort their children, the New York Times reports.

Last year a third of the women the NYAAF helped to fund their abortions were from outside the state, The Guardian report said, and NYAAF has said the funding will help accommodate the increase in numbers of out-of-state women it expects to experience.

“Before Roe v. Wade, New York City was a haven for women who wanted control over their own bodies and their health decisions,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, co-chair of the Women’s Caucus at New York City Council. “It’s time for our city to be that beacon for the country once again.”

It’s believed this will be the first time for a city to directly allocate funds for abortion.

“There haven’t been that many city and state public officials to say we should publicly fund abortions,” said Aziza Ahmed, law professor at Northeastern University in Boston. “It’s a big statement. This is a culture war to some degree.”

Extreme pro-abortion laws, protective pro-life laws being enacted in different states

New York passed what was considered the most radical abortion expansion in the country on the January 22 anniversary of Roe v. Wade this year – legalizing abortion up to birth, allowing non-doctors to commit abortions, and repealing the state’s recognition of preborn babies older than 24 weeks as potential homicide victims.

Illinois passed its extreme abortion expansion in June, which went out of the way to repeal the state’s ban on partial-birth abortion, and also rescinded protections against taxpayer funding of abortion and protections for infants born after failed abortions.

Alabama passed a near-total ban on abortion in May. Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio have passed bills protecting babies with detectable heartbeats from being aborted. An unborn baby’s heartbeat can usually be detected around six weeks.

Arkansas and Utah banned abortion at 18 weeks.

Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee passed legislation that would ban abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Utah banned abortion based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Kentucky and Missouri banned abortion based on the race or predicted sex of the baby, with Kentucky banning abortion for a diagnosis of a genetic anomaly.

Most of the legislation has faced legal challenges.

Hoffman: Pro-lifers are like the ‘American Taliban’

Hoffman is no stranger to culture wars and neither is her Choices abortion center new to the battle.

Hoffman testified in federal court last year that pro-life sidewalk counselors outside her abortion facility were like the “American Taliban,” and what she saw looking outside was “a type of terrorism.”

Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brought People v. Griepp et al in June 2017, alleging harassment by 14 pro-life supporters who demonstrated outside Choices. Attorneys from the Thomas More Society representing the pro-lifers argued the charges were not supported by evidence.

Schneiderman’s star witness, the head of the abortion escort program at Choices, ended up admitting in court that that her testimony against the sidewalk counselors was not true.

And it was also revealed in testimony from one of Schneiderman’s witnesses that his office was complicit in fraudulent activity to spy on and entrap pro-life sidewalk counselors named in the suit.

Schneiderman resigned in May of last year hours after reports surfaced that four women were accusing him of abuse.

When attorneys had inferred in court that Hoffman was using the government to fight a case that would benefit her abortion facility, she retorted, “Justice costs money.” 

The Thomas More Center also recounted how Hoffman appeared visibly irritated through much of her testimony, loudly sighing and tapping her fingernails on the witness stand, as had been reported in separate media coverage.

A federal judge in New York threw Schneiderman’s lawsuit out in July 2018.

Hoffman told The Guardian the current increase in women coming to New York for abortions reminds her of the time before Roe v. Wade, when women came to the state from around the country for abortions.

“[In] 1970 there were about five different states that decriminalized abortion, New York was one of them,” she said. “So what happened between '70 and '73, thousands and thousands of women were coming into New York … it’s really a repeat of those days.” 

Hoffman keeps a giant coat hanger in her office that she took to a pro-abortion protest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan in 1989. She was photographed for The Guardian piece wielding the hanger while smiling.

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Church of England: If one spouse ‘transitions,’ we’ll recognize it as same-sex ‘marriage’

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By Calvin Freiburger

ENGLAND, July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Controversy has erupted over the Church of England announcing that it will recognize same-sex “marriages” in limited circumstances, specifically when one member of a natural marriage claims to have “transitioned” to the same sex as his spouse.

On Friday, the church published answers to more than 100 questions ahead of its General Synod to decide the church’s position on various doctrinal and theological subjects, Christian Today reports

“Given that the Church of England’s teaching about marriage is that it is a lifelong and exclusive union between one man and one woman, if one person in a couple undergoes gender transition, has consideration been given as to whether they are still married according to the teaching of the Church of England?” asked Prudence Dailey, churchwarden of St. Michael at the North Gate.

“When a couple marry in church they promise before God to be faithful to each other for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health — come what may, although we preach compassion if they find this too much to bear,” bishop of Newcastle Christine Hardman answered. Further, “never in the history of the Church has divorce been actively recommended as the way to resolve a problem. We have always prioritised fidelity, reconciliation and forgiveness, with divorce as a concession when staying together proves humanly unbearable[.]

“In the light of those two points, if a couple wish to remain married after one partner has transitioned, who are we to put them asunder?” Hardman concluded.

The unusual scenario laid out here does not truly constitute a homosexual union — a gender-confused individual who “identifies” as the opposite sex has not actually changed his sex, therefore the marriage still consists of one man and one woman. However, the Church of England’s credulous use of the term “married” for two people it considers as of the same sex opens the door to recognition of actual same-sex couples as “married.”

Last December, a pastoral guidance called for blessing sex “transitions” by using gender-confused individuals’ preferred names and pronouns and even proposed ceremonies for such people to “renew the commitments made in baptism in a public setting and provides space for those who have undergone a major transition to re-dedicate their life to Jesus Christ.”

“The current confusion about human sexuality in the Church of England actually has its roots in decisions taken some ninety years ago” such as accepting artificial contraception, ordaining female priests and bishops, and compromising on homosexuality, wrote Fr. Dwight Longenecker, a South Carolina–based Catholic priest, author, and public speaker. 

“The decision to recognize and endorse this gender confusion — indeed to bless it — is only the next step in the Church of England’s whole sale abandonment of traditional views on human sexuality,” he warned, “and as all things Christian are connected — to the abandonment also of anything recognizable as historic Christianity.”

Even so, pro-LGBT activists complain that the Church of England is insufficiently pro-trans.

“It is clear that because this only applies to couples who married before the transition the Bishops do not really accept the transition at all,” Dr. Jane Hamlin, head of the pro-trans Beaumont Society, said, The Telegraph reports. “They still see the trans man or trans woman as he/she was appearing at the time of the wedding. This is disappointing.” 

It “certainly looks” as though the Church of England still won’t accept a transgender parishioner’s “true” sex, homosexual “married” ex-priest Andrew Foreshew-Cain told Gay Star News. “This isn’t them being accommodating and being nice. This is them enacting homophobic and transphobic policies.”

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BREAKING: Cineplex explains decision to screen Abby Johnson’s ‘Unplanned’ in Canada

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By Calvin Freiburger

July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The pro-life film Unplanned, which tells the true story of pro-life activist Abby Johnson’s conversion from the abortion industry, will be shown in Canada after all thanks to a decision by film distributor Cineplex.

Unplanned tells the real-life story of Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood abortion facility director who converted to the pro-life cause in 2009. Johnson has since exposed numerous details about the inner workings of the abortion industry, and now leads And Then There Were None, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people leave the abortion industry.

The film was released in the United States at the end of March and has grossed over $18 million. It held a spot in the box office top ten for the first two weeks of its release. Several Canadian distributors refused to accept the film, which has also kept it from getting an official rating in the country.

However, the film will screen in 24 Canadian theaters thanks to Cineplex and Cinedicom, the Canadian Press reports. In an open letter released Monday, Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob explains that the company determined that controversial content about hot-button issues should be available to discuss and debate.

“When I immigrated to Canada back in 1969, one of the things that I loved, and still love, the most about living here was that we don’t shy away from our differences — we embrace them,” he writes. “Canada is a country that believes in and rallies behind freedom of expression, but that isn’t always an easy thing to do and it certainly doesn’t always make you popular. In this instance many of us will have to set aside our own personal beliefs and remember that living in a country that censors content, opinions and points of view because they are different from our own is not a country that any of us would want to live in.”

Ultimately, Jacob says, the responsibility of deciding whether to see it should rest with moviegoers themselves. Cineplex will show the film at 14 locations for a one-week run starting this Friday.

Meanwhile, Cinedicom president B.J. McKelvie, who is also a pastor, said that Unplanned “does certainly align with my values,” but “everybody has their right to choose to go see the movie and they have a right to choose not to.” His company generally books and brokers films rather than distributes them, but said he reached out to Unplanned’s American producers after “walking down the hall grumbling” about misinformation about the film, “and I heard the Lord say to me, ‘Well why don’t you distribute it?’ and that was rather different.”

In the U.S., Unplanned received an R rating for its intense depicitions of abortion, though the film contains no profanity, nudity, or sex. Film ratings vary by province in Canada. In Alberta it has a 14A classification for “disturbing content,” while in British Columbia it’s rated PG for “sexual language” and “medical trauma.”

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Thousands of pro-lifers condemn Ireland’s abortion referendum in Rally for Life

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DUBLIN, July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — One year after Ireland voted to repeal the country’s constitutional protection for preborn children, thousands of pro-lifers marched through the streets of Dublin this weekend to affirm the sanctity of life.

Organized on July 6 by the pro-life groups Life Institute, Precious Life, and Youth Defence, the annual Rally for Life is meant to emphasize that “no vote, no act of parliament can ever make it right to kill a child” and to raise the “next generation to stand for life and to change the culture,” according to the Life Institute.

“Thousands” of attendees marched from Dublin’s Parnell Square to the Custom House (which houses the country’s Supreme Court), carrying banners declaring that “abortion steals hope” and chanting opposition to pro-abortion health minister Simon Harris, the Irish Times reports. All Ireland Rally for Life’s Facebook page puts the number of attendees at 15,000.

May 25, 2018, the day the Irish people voted by referendum to repeal Ireland’s 8th Amendment, was the “most shameful day in Irish history,” the Life Institute’s Niamh Uí Bhriain told marchers. “It is not our shame, because our hands are clean. You did not vote for this and you do not bear that shame. Instead, that shame should be felt by Simon Harris, by Leo Varadkar, by the Irish media, who were the Yes campaign[.] ... This cruel abortion regime is a stain on what was once a proud pro-life nation.”

“The direct and intentional taking of the life of any innocent human being is always gravely wrong; we must avoid becoming desensitised to the value of every human life,” Archbishop Eamon Martin said. “More than one year on from the abortion referendum I am calling for more practical help for vulnerable women in this country who feel that their only way out of crisis is to end the life of their unborn child.”

Among the groups taking the opportunity to speak out are pro-life doctors whose conscience rights have been threatened by the new pro-abortion regime. 

“This is a form of bullying that is absolutely unacceptable because a person’s conscience is not subject to majority rule,” Dr. Trevor Hayes says. “We have a huge crisis in the health service, and that crisis is especially acute in staffing, so it is particularly appalling that staff in both nursing and medicine feel that they will be forced out of medicine because their right not to participate in abortion is not being respected.”

Uí Bhriain also took the turnout as a sign of the pro-life movement’s enduring strength, Live Action adds. “People kept telling me the pro-life movement was finished” after the referendum,” she said. “The pro-life movement should just literally go away, fold up its tent, and die. And it was astonishing to see.”

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US ambassador to Poland meets pushback for tweeting support of gay ‘pride’ month

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By Lisa Bourne

July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States ambassador to Poland met pushback on Twitter recently for tweeting support for gay “pride” month in commemoration of the 1969 New York City Stonewall riots.

“Today is [the] 50th anniversary of the outbreak of riots against discrimination against sexual minorities in the Stonewall Inn Greenwich Village in New York, which gave rise to the LGBTQ movement,” Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher tweeted in Polish on June 28. “These events remind us of the importance of equality, freedom and tolerance.”

Her tweet displayed a photo with rainbow flags hanging from a balcony that appears to be part of the U.S. Polish embassy complex.

The first reply to Mosbacher denoted nefarious intent underlying the LGBT movement, stating it seeks to “destroy the traditional family and make people more dependent on govt.”

Following responses asked Mosbacher if she supported pedophilia and said the LGBT movement was now about totalitarianism and using terror to force exceptional treatment for a minority.

Another tweet displayed a large stop sign over a rainbow signifying the LGBT movement, and yet another gave Mosbacher a repeated thumbs-down, among other assorted expressions of disagreement and distaste.

Some shared photos illustrating disturbing examples of the movement’s sexualization of children.

Also the anniversary of the Poznań protests against communist government 

But Twitter users also took the ambassador to task for being out of touch with the country where she serves as a diplomat.

Some responses took issue with Mosbacher’s tweet supporting a U.S. event resulting in the birth of the LGBT movement by pointing out that it was also the anniversary of the Poznań protests of 1956.

The 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, occurring June 28-July 1, where a group of homosexuals fought back against a police crackdown of a homosexual bar, are recognized as the formal beginning of the homosexual movement.

The Poznań protests, also known as Poznań June, took place in the western Poland city on June 28, 1956. They were the first of several massive protests against the communist government of the Polish People’s Republic, with workers demonstrating to demand better working conditions. Their protests were met with violent repression.

"No, dear Ambassador @USAmbPoland,” one user replied. “Today is the 63rd anniversary of the bloody suppression by the communist authorities of the uprising in Poznań. This makes us aware of the importance of freedom of conscience, religion, and speech. And the crimes of left-wing totalitarianism.”

Same-sex sexual activity has never been criminalized in Poland and its legality was reconfirmed in 1932. 

Some Twitter users pointed this out to Mosbacher, and questioned whether it would make more sense to campaign for LGBT rights in countries that criminalize homosexual behavior.

The ambassador’s tweet came following a petition launched by Polish activists against so-called pride parades in Poland, Church Militant reports

Fifty-three ambassadors of countries and representatives of international organizations had signed an open letter expressing support for the June 8 equality parade (gay pride parade) and to raise awareness of issues affecting LGBT-identifying individuals in Poland.

The geopolitical information platform ForeignAffairs.co.nz published the letter. The U.S. ambassador is listed as one of the signatories.

In the letter’s call to action, signatories pledged “in particular to shield communities in need of protection from verbal and physical abuse and hate speech.”

“We need to jointly work on an environment of non-discrimination, tolerance and mutual acceptance,” they wrote. “This includes in particular sectors such as education, health, social affairs, citizenship, public service and public documents.”

Warsaw held the largest homosexual pride parade in central and eastern Europe on June 8, the New York Times reports, with diplomats from Canada, the U.S., and other Western nations participating “to show their support for what is considered a basic human right in many places.” The report did not specify whether Mosbacher was among them. Warsaw’s mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski, joined the parade for the first time.

‘Stand to defend the sovereignty of our country and Polish families!’

Majority Catholic Poland is experiencing turmoil and tension between LGBT advocates working to advance their agenda and traditional Poles.

Same-sex “marriage” remains illegal in Poland and homosexuality does not have special protection in law.

Trzaskowski, a member of Poland’s opposition party Civic Platform, signed a declaration in February promising an LGBTQ hostel and community center, a local crisis intervention system, along with anti-discrimination and sex education curriculum in schools that follows World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, according to TIME.

In April, Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of Poland’s Law and Justice party (PiS) – which has been in power since 2015 – gave a speech on patriotism in which he called the LGBT and gender ideologies a foreign attack on the family and defended Polish culture as inextricably Christian.

For the last two years in Częstochowa Polish Catholics mobilized to block the city’s LGBT pride march from approaching the Jasna Góra Monastery and shrine to the Virgin Mary, where the icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa is housed. The Catholics were also protecting an annual children’s rosary pilgrimage as the pride march passed by.

The petition countering the open letter signed by the various ambassadors underscores what it calls an effort to impose upon Poland the “dictates of foreign ideologies” that question fundamental values such as biblical marriage and the right of parents to raise children in accordance with their own religious values.

It says that the controversial initiatives promoted by the ambassadors and others in the open letter undermine the social and legal order in Poland, citing the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, additional legal documents, and public opinion polls.

“We do not want the ambassadors to engage in promoting initiatives that oppose 80% of Polish society and undermine the Polish constitutional order,” it states in part. “Express your indignation and sign a protest to all signatories of this letter. Stand to defend the sovereignty of our country and Polish families!”

The Trump administration annulled the Obama-era policy allowing full permission and discretion to fly rainbow flags during June for pride month, requiring embassies to first seek permission. This year the office of the State Department Undersecretary for Management denied requests from a handful of embassies to fly the rainbow flags on the building’s official flagpole in June. However, diplomats are still allowed to display the flag elsewhere, including on embassy walls and inside buildings.

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Ohio introduces bill to teach humanity of preborn children in public schools

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COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life lawmakers in Ohio have introduced legislation requiring that fetal development information be taught in public schools, with the expectation that more scientific information about prenatal humanity will increase understanding and respect for human life.

House Bill 90, the Humanity of the Unborn Child bill, declares that the “state board of education, in collaboration with the department of health, shall develop an instructional program regarding the humanity of the unborn child,” for the purpose of “achieving an abortion-free society.”

The program must contain “accurate, scientifically verifiable information concerning the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child” at numerous gestational intervals, though local school boards will have the final say on whether to use it. The bill forbids officials from “consult[ing] any organization that provides abortions” in developing the program.

HB 90 also requires the state health department to release to the public fetal development materials that “clearly and consistently state that abortion kills a living human being,” maintain a list of pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, and adoption resources, and forbids educators from “refer[ring] a student to a medical facility or any provider for the performance of an abortion.”

“When we are able to more clearly see the scientific reality of life in the womb, we are also able to understand the brutality and inhumanity of abortion,” Ohio Right to Life legislative affairs director Jessica Warner testified in support of the bill, the Toledo Blade reports.

Opponents of the bill attacked it for “imposing” pro-life beliefs in public schools but not mandating information on subjects like contraception, and for barring the state from consulting the abortion industry (which has a financial stake in discouraging awareness of preborn humanity).

“Several of the people that spoke [at the June hearing] were not familiar with the bill and what the bill’s goal was,” said Republican state Rep. Derek Merrin, chairman of the Ohio House Health Committee. “It was apparent that many of them had not even read the bill; the bill is just simply to have medical professionals from the department of health develop standards.”

Long-settled biological criteria and numerous mainstream scientific and medical textbooks establish that a living human being is created upon fertilization and is present throughout the entirety of pregnancy. Many abortionists and some pro-abortion activists admit as much, but argue for killing preborn children anyway by claiming they lack human rights and/or drawing a philosophical distinction between humans and persons (arguments pro-life philosophers have extensively challenged).

Evidence suggests that spreading information about when life begins has a powerful impact on support for life. A 2011 study by Quinnipiac University’s Mark Gius concluded that laws requiring that abortionists offer women considering abortions the chance to view ultrasounds first has a “very significant and negative effect on the abortion decision.”

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Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

News ,

Federal judge blocks Ohio law banning abortions on babies with heartbeats

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

July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked from taking effect Ohio's new law banning most abortions on babies with detectable heartbeats.

Responding to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood, Judge Michael Barrett issued a preliminary injunction of Senate Bill 23 while he contemplates the pro-abortion organizations’ arguments. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the heartbeat bill into law in April. It would have gone into effect July 10. 

A number of other states, including Iowa, Georgia, Louisiana, and Missouri, have recently passed laws protecting babies with heartbeats from being aborted. They all face similar opposition and legal challenges from pro-abortion organizations. 

Barrett wrote that should the law go into effect, “one could characterize the obstacle Ohio women will face [to obtain abortions] as not merely ‘substantial,’ but, rather, ‘insurmountable.’”

“Take heart, this is just another step to get to our destination – the Supreme Court and the heart of Roe v. Wade,” Janet Porter, head of Faith2Action and the architect of the legislation, told LifeSiteNews via email. 

Barrett suggested that the life-saving law is unconstitutional. 

“The Court concludes, based on current United States Supreme Court precedent, that Plaintiffs are certain to succeed on the merits of their claim that S.B. 23 is unconstitutional on its face,” Barrett wrote. In a reference to Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992 ruled against laws that place an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion, Barrett wrote that the heartbeat bill “places an ‘undue burden’ on a woman's right to choose a pre-viability abortion.” 

He added that “thus far, all other attempts by states to ban abortion beginning at the detection of cardiac activity have been invalidated.”

As heartbeat bills have gained momentum across the country, leftists and abortion advocates have tried to draw attention away from unborn babies’ heartbeats – which can be detected around six weeks into pregnancy – by using euphemisms like “electric pulsing” and “cardiac activity.”

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Msgr. Charles Pope Msgr. Charles Pope

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It’s not just other people’s job to preach the Gospel. It’s your job.

Msgr. Charles Pope Msgr. Charles Pope
By Msgr. Charles Pope

July 8, 2019 (Community in Mission) — In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus gives a number of practical principles for those who would proclaim the Kingdom. Let's look at each of them in turn.

I. Serious – The text says, At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."

The Lord describes here a very serious situation. There is an abundant harvest, but there are few willing to work at it. Consider the harvest in our own day. Look at the whole human race and think about how many don't yet know the Lord. There are over 7 billion people on the planet; 1.1 billion are Catholics (many of them lukewarm) and about 750 million are other Christians. This means that more than 2/3 of people on this planet don't know and worship the Lord Jesus. Here in the U.S., 75% of Catholics don't even go to Mass.

There are many people today who shrug at this, presuming it's no big deal because nearly everyone will be saved anyway. Never mind that Jesus said the opposite quite explicitly: many if not most are heading down the road of loss and damnation (e.g. Matt 7:13; Luke 13:24). This myopic presumption and false optimism is unbiblical and, frankly, slothful.

The Second Vatican Council has this to say:

Those can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But very often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasoning and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature", the Church fosters the missions with care and attention (Lumen Gentium 16).

Note that the council Fathers say that very often people are deceived by the Evil One. Did you notice those words, "very often"? The great mass of "ignorant" humanity is not walking into Heaven. Rather, they are deceived and have let themselves be deceived.

Jesus himself said, This is the judgment: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).

Yes, the need is urgent. We need to be serious about this. There are many even among our own families and friends who have left the practice of the faith and who are somewhere on the continuum from indifference to outright hostility toward the Holy Faith. We must work to restore them to the Church and to the Lord; otherwise, they are likely to be lost.

Scripture also speaks of many who walk in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed (Eph 4:17–19).

There is work to do, and we must get serious about it. Sadly, too many have not. The decline of the West has happened on our watch. Too many have thought that evangelization is a job for someone else. Welcome to what the silence of the saints has produced.

Note, too, that while this translation saysask the Lord of the Harvest, the Greek is more emphatic and personal. The Greek word is δεήθητε (deethete, from deomai), which means to beg as if binding oneself. In other words, we are so urgent in this request that we are willing to involve our very self in the solution. This is not a problem just for the Lord or for other people; it is so serious that I am willing to go myself! Do you feel this way about evangelization? It's time to get serious; many are being lost!

II. Sobriety – The text says, Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.

We must be cognizant that we are being sent into a word that is hostile to the faith. We should not despair or be dismissive of this hostility; we must be sober and clear about it.

Yes, there is an enemy. He is organized, influential, and powerful. Nevertheless, we are not counseled to fear, but to sobriety. We must be aware, but unafraid. Scripture says:

  • And this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:3–4).
  • Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over (Ps 23:4–5).
  • But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict (Luke 21:12–15).
  • For the accuser (Satan) of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Rev 12:10).

Therefore, we must be sober without being afraid or discouraged. There is an enemy and the conflict is real, but the victory is already ours.

And old song says,

Harder yet may be the fight,
Right may often yield to might,
Wickedness awhile may reign,
Satan's cause may seem to gain;
There is a God that rules above,
With hand of power and heart of love,
If I am right He'll fight my battle,
I shall have peace some day.

III. Serenity – The text says, Into whatever house you enter, first say, "Peace to this household." If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. … Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, "The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you." Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.

Note how the Lord counsels us to shake off the dust in the face of rejection. We ought not to take it personally. We ought to remember that it is Jesus they are rejecting, not us. Further, we ought to be serene in the knowledge that just because someone is angry at us, it does not mean that we have done anything wrong.

Yes, we are to be serene and secure in the truth of the message and not consumed with how people react. We need not be strident or argumentative, we don't have to raise our voices, we don't need to be fearful, angry, or resentful. All we need to do is to preach the truth serenely and leave the judgment up to God.

IV. Simplicity – The text says, Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.

One of the things that keeps many of us from fully preaching the Kingdom is that we are encumbered by so many things and so many activities. The Lord tells us to travel light, for then we shall be unencumbered, available, and free. Too often today, spiritual truths are neglected and crowded out by worldly concerns. Parents will make sure to get their kids to the soccer game, but Sunday school and Mass are neglected. Likewise, many of us are too wealthy, too invested in this world. As a result, we are not free to preach because we feel we have too much to lose.

The Lord calls us to simplicity in three areas:

  • Purse – The Lord says to carry no moneybag. Riches root us in this world and make us slaves of its ways. Riches are bondage; poverty (freedom from greed) is a kind of freedom, because those who are poorer have less to lose. Scripture says, But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs (1 Timothy 6:9–10).
  • Possessions – The Lord says to carry no sack, no extra sandals. We are encouraged to resist the tendency to accumulate possessions. These things weigh us down. On account of them we are forever caught up with acquiring the latest fashions, the most recent upgrades, and the most deluxe models. And then all this stuff requires insurance and maintenance. Too much stuff roots us in the world and distracts us from more essential things. Too much stuff will wear you out. Don't carry around too much stuff. The Lord advises: travel light; simplify. Scripture says, Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it (Proverbs 15:16).
  • People – The text says to greet no one along the way. We have to admit that some folks in our life do not help us in our Christian walk or duty. Instead, they hinder us, tempt us, or simply get us to focus on foolish and passing things. In the Gospel passage, the Lord has something for the seventy-two to do and He wants them to get there and do it. This is not a time to stop along the way and chat with every passerby. The same is true for us. We ought to be careful of the company we keep and ponder if our friends and acquaintances help us or hinder us in our task of proclaiming the Kingdom. Scripture warns, Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals" (1 Cor 15:33). And again, I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men … I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber — not even to eat with such a one (1 Cor 5:9).

Thus the Lord counsels us to travel light, to simplify. Our many possessions weigh us down and make life difficult. Look at the opulence of today, yet notice all the stress. Simplify; travel light. Also, avoid complicating and compromising relationships.

V. Stability – The Lord says, Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another.

In other words, find out where home is, where the Lord wants you, and then stay there. Stop all this modern running around. Develop in-depth relationships and stability. In the old days, long-term relationships served as the basis for the communication of the truths of the faith, not just between individuals, but across generations and in close-knit communities. In today's mobile society, things tend to be more shallow.

The Lord counsels that we stay close to home, that we frequent holy places. We ought to do everything we can to find stability and roots. It is in stable contexts and deep roots, deep relationships, that the Gospel is best preached. Many parents today seldom have dinner with their children. Indeed, with all the running around there is little time left to teach or preach the faith!

Scripture warns,

  • She is loud and wayward, for her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market (Proverbs 7:11-12).
  • Like a bird that strays from its nest, is a man who strays from his home (Proverbs 27:8)

VI. Sensitivity – Jesus says, Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, "The kingdom of God is at hand for you."
Be gracious and kind. Simple human kindness and a gracious demeanor go a long way toward opening doors for the Gospel. Eat what is set before you. In other words, wherever possible reverence the local culture; build on common ground; find and affirm what is right. Don't just be the critic. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Sure there are ways we can be gracious. Little kindnesses are long remembered and pave the way for trust and openness.

That the sick should be cured is clear in itself. But in a more extended sense, we see how kindness, patience, and understanding are also healing. We must speak the truth, but we must learn to speak it in love, not merely in confrontation or harsh criticism.

Simple kindness and sensitivity are counseled here: eat what is set before you.

VII. Soul Saving Joy – The text says, The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name." Jesus said, "I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to 'tread upon serpents' and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

They have the joy of success that day. There will be other days of rejection and even martyrdom. That's why Jesus counsels us to have a deeper source of joy: merely that they have been called and have their names written in Heaven.

There is no greater evidence to the truth of our faith than joyful and transformed Christians. Mother Teresa said, "Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls."

Thus the Lord counsels that we cultivate joy at what He is doing for us, how He is delivering us and giving us power over the demons in our life. There is no greater joy than to remember what the Lord has done for us, that He has saved us and written our names in Heaven. Yes, remember! Have so present in your mind and heart what the Lord has done for you so that you are grateful, joyful, and different! This is soul-saving joy, a joy that will save your soul and the souls of others as well.

Here, then, are seven principles for proclaiming the Kingdom. Now let's get serious; there's work to be done; many are being lost. It's time to cast our nets!

This article is cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: Practical Principles for Proclaiming the Kingdom. It is published here with permission from Community in Mission.

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Fr. Frank Pavone

Opinion ,

An urgent call to a full-time commitment to end abortion and protect the youngest children

Fr. Frank Pavone
By Fr. Frank Pavone

July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Having just celebrated the annual observance of our nation’s independence, and reflecting on the great principles on which our Founders built America and for which they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, I want to take this occasion to issue once again a call I have issued consistently since 1993. 

It was at that time that I heard and responded to this same call in my own life, namely, the call to devote all one’s time, energy, and resources to defending the youngest children from the violence of abortion.

There are many people throughout this land who are already living that call, and even more who, while not able to do so full-time, are giving as much time and energy as they can to ending abortion and restoring protection to children in the womb.

The call is to everyone, to do as much as is humanly possible in this most urgent human rights cause of our day.

Many are being called to leave their professions and take those professional skills and devote them to the cause of protecting the unborn, and I want to say today that it is time to answer that call. I want to fan the flames that are stirring in many hearts that realize that the right to life itself, which is being denied to children still living in the womb, is in fact one of the founding principles of this nation, and is the foundation of the entire fabric of social justice.

If, therefore, our Founding Fathers were justified in giving themselves completely to fight for God-given rights, and if anyone at any time has been justified in giving him or herself completely to the service of those who were oppressed by any injustice, then at the present moment, it is justified for us to give ourselves to the great cause of ending abortion.

Abortion remains the most urgent social and moral problem we face, and this is true for various reasons which have not changed.

First, there is nothing in America or in the world that is taking more lives than abortion. It claims more victims than any disease, natural disaster, war, or act of terror.

Second, without life we don’t have anything else. The right to life, as St. John Paul II said very simply, is “the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights” (Christifideles Laici). Presumably, efforts on behalf of the right to health care, to education, or to immigration, are efforts on behalf of people who are alive. Take away the right to life, and you take away all the other rights at the same time.

Third, no group of people are more defenseless than the children in the womb. They cannot speak, or even pray, and do not know the danger they face. If there is a “preferential option for the poor,” a duty to seek first those who are most marginalized and oppressed, an obligation to help the most helpless, then this speaks powerfully to the need to put the unborn first.

Fourth, not only are the unborn the most defenseless, but they are the only group whose very right to life has been completely erased from the law, and for whose scheduled death there are hundreds of legal clinics throughout America. Many injustices claim or threaten human lives. But what other human beings are decapitated and dismembered each day in legal and publicly advertised facilities? An act of violence that is recognized as a crime is bad enough, but when that crime is transformed into a “right,” the evil takes on an even more horrifying dimension.

And fifth, the violence against the unborn is bad enough when carried out by a stranger. But adding to the moral urgency of the problem of abortion is that it is one or both parents, sometimes also with the involvement or pressure of other family members, who are authorizing the violence. Abortion is violence against life within the very “sanctuary of life,” the family. And nothing is more destructive of the whole family than abortion.

For these and other reasons, fighting and ending abortion is priority number one, both for the Church, the state, the family, and each of us individually.

The most urgent issue today is not immigration, or climate change, or terrorism. The most urgent issue is abortion. It has been so for a long time and remains so today.

Many issues are urgent. But as the U.S. bishops have taught for decades, these issues are like the different parts of a house, all interrelated, but all dependent on the foundation. Abortion strikes at the foundation of the house, the right to life. (See Living the Gospel of Life.)

We will never build a society that feeds the poor if we refuse to feed our own children; we will never teach children to stop killing other children (by gun violence) until parents stop killing children by abortion; we will never teach society to stop killing the guilty (by capital punishment) until we stop killing the innocent by abortion; we will never learn to welcome immigrants across the border if we cannot welcome children across the border of the womb; and we will never maintain peace between nations if we cannot maintain peace between a mother and her own child.

Both reason and compassion call us to put first things first. We must end abortion.

Not only is all this true in and of itself, but added to this are the current circumstances in America, which truly constitute a “pro-life moment” of perhaps unprecedented intensity and opportunity. The abortion issue has reached a boiling point in America. In the states, both pro-abortion laws and pro-life laws have gone farther in opposite directions than ever before. Abortion rates, ratios, and absolute numbers are at historic lows. On the federal level, we have never had a more pro-life presidential administration, and no previous administration has been under such vicious attack from its pro-abortion enemies. The national parties are farther apart on abortion than ever, the federal courts are moving in a pro-life direction, and critical national elections are on the horizon that will determine how quickly the national tragedy of abortion will end.

This is the “pro-life moment” in America, and while this issue has always deserved the fulltime commitment of our citizens, there has never been a more appropriate or urgent moment for such a commitment than now, nor ever a moment that had more promise for the fruits of such a commitment.

The effort to end abortion has multiple facets, and therefore requires people from multiple backgrounds to devote their varied skills to the task at hand.

Fighting abortion requires full-time professionals in every field to carry out many interrelated tasks:

  • research in the many dimensions of abortion (its medical and social impact, messaging, public opinion, impact of abortion-related laws, historical aspects, legal dimensions, statistics, and more); 
  • development of alternatives to abortion and the work of thousands of pregnancy centers, and the ongoing development of their standards of care and analysis of their impact, along with training of their teams and legal defense of their work; 
  • educational activity to teach the public the nature and development of the unborn child, how and why abortions occur, the impact of abortion, and how to fight and end it; 
  • media expertise for broadcasting the pro-life message in traditional media and social media;
  • development of methods of direct action, protests, marches, sidewalk counseling, and similar activities, along with training of those who undertake this activity on a part-time and full-time basis; 
  • ongoing development of the strategic methods of closing abortion clinics by utilizing existing laws, enforcing standards through medical boards and departments of health, educating the community, utilizing litigation, and training people in all of this; 
  • development of model legislation on the state and federal level for the protection of unborn children and their families, and the training of activists and lobbyists to get these laws introduced, passed, defended in the Courts, and implemented; 
  • legislative lobbying, both in support of pro-life bills and in opposition to pro-abortion bills; 
  • legal activity to defend pro-life bills in the courts, challenge pro-abortion bills, and defend the rights of those harmed by abortion and those who do pro-life work; 
  • political activity to elect pro-life candidates and train citizens in pro-life politics;
  • the work of the pro-life movement at the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and other international arenas; 
  • the religious and pastoral work to organize, equip, and activate churches in the fight against abortion; 
  • and the ongoing development of the work of healing after abortion, and the interaction of the various ministries in this area, developing standards of care, training, and the ongoing analysis of the impact of this work.

Any single one of these arenas, and others not mentioned here, deserves the full-time commitment of professional women and men who can devote themselves completely to the success of these efforts.

As human history has progressed, people have risen to the occasion to help the helpless and put an end to social injustice and oppression. We have seen this in the great movements that have uprooted slavery, ended segregation, and challenged oppressive regimes that have caused death and suffering to countless peoples.

Moreover, across the nation and around the world, people discover their vocations each day as they devote themselves completely to the service of one or another segment of humanity: some specialize in feeding the poor, building homes for the homeless, educating children, practicing one or another specific form of medicine, working to find a cure for cancer, traveling to mission lands to establish the church in a particular location – and the list can go on and on.

It is inconceivable that given all this, that we could fail to meet or fail to value the need for people to rise up in our day and defend the most defenseless children from the most destructive act of violence, namely, abortion.

In the long annals of history, people will look back on this as the age of abortion, and they will look for the foes of abortion. They will see the massive, inexplicable blind spot that so many people and institutions had toward the unborn, and they will ask, Who saw what was happening? They will calculate the number of victims, and will ask, Who was working to save these lives? They will see the vast damage done to moms, dads, and families, and will ask, Who devoted themselves to healing the wounds? They will see unjust laws and court decisions imposed by government officials who had no respect for the lives of little babies, and they will ask, Who was challenging these officials, striving to hold back their hands from bloodshed, and working to vote them out of office? They will see a nation torn apart and people at every level of society deeply divided by the struggle over abortion, and will ask, Who was on the right side of that division? We who do this work, and devote every hour of time and ounce of energy that we can to the great cause of the unborn, are on the right side of history, and of justice. 

Let us rise to the occasion at this hour. Inspired by the conviction that history – and Almighty God – will judge us rightly, let us indeed pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to defend the lives of those most in need, the children in the womb.

Fr. Frank Pavone is National Director of Priests for Life, one of the world’s largest organizations focused exclusively on ending abortion. 

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Nova Scotia caves to transgender demands, will fund breast implants for men

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By Jonathon Van Maren

July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – If you happen to be a Canadian taxpayer, your government is using your hard-earned money for all sorts of things. We fund 100,000 domestic abortions per year, for example. Thanks to Justin Trudeau, we’re also paying another $700 million annually for abortions in developing countries, potentially including countries where abortion is illegal. Canadians also pay for the country’s widely-unwatched state broadcaster, the CBC, which has lately decided to begin promoting child drag queens. And now, it turns out, taxpayers will also be funding the purchase of breasts for biological males suffering from gender confusion.

Serina Slaunwhite, a biological male identifying as a female, was “denied breast implants in 2017 on grounds the surgery was not considered medically necessary,” according to the CBC. By “denied,” of course, they mean that the province of Nova Scotia declined to pay for the cosmetic surgery, which Slaunwhite was still perfectly free to pay for. However, Slaunwhite said that it was “unfair the province covered breast removal and masculinization surgeries for transgender men, but not augmentation for transgender women.” What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and all that.

Since biological women identifying as male have the removal of their breasts funded by the provincial government, Slaunwhite filed a human rights complaint against the Health Department last year demanding that the province also pay for his procurement and installment of new breasts. The province predictably buckled, and has now decided to start paying for such procedures starting this month, with Nova Scotia following in the footsteps of Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. A healthcare professional will lay out eligibility criteria and assess applicants. If the past is any indication, that just means doing whatever they demand.

In a press release sent out by the Nova Scotia NDP, Slaunwhite mourned that, “In Nova Scotia, twice as many procedures are funded for individuals transitioning from male to female, compared to those transitioning from male to female. I know I am a woman but this is challenged daily when others react to me and how I look. Breast augmentation is a vital and final means of aligning my body with my identity.” Breast augmentation also costs several thousands of dollars, and so now the taxpayer will have to pay so that biological men like Slaunwhite can “pass” as female.

Slaunwhite’s lawyer said as much in an attempt to rebut a statement from the Health Department last year that noted that biological men attempting to transition often develop breasts through hormonal therapy, which has already been funded through provincial pharma-care programs. This, said Susanne Litke of Dalhouse Legal Aid Service, isn’t good enough, because the therapy doesn’t always result in breasts large enough to help the recipients “pass” as female, and as such breast augmentation surgeries are “medically necessary.” It is apparently a government responsibility to ensure that men identifying as women are able to alter their appearances in such a way that the general public does not immediately notice that they are, in fact, biological men.

“I can appreciate the distress transgender people can experience during the transition, and I thank those who have advocated for this change,” the ironically-titled Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey responded obediently. “We are now providing more support for equitable coverage for transgender women.” This, of course, is predictable, since there is scarcely a politician in all of Canada who dares to question the brand-new orthodoxies of gender fluidity, and the general respone to transgender demands is cowering, caving, and delivering whatever apologies or affirmations end up being demanded.

There’s a metaphor in there somewhere, and I’m sure it’ll come to me eventually. In the meantime, the radically post-modern and progressive agenda that Canadians are constantly told is “none of their business” is once again something that Canadians are expected to pay for. People can believe whatever they want, but these activists want far, far more than that: They want us to accept it, they want us to voice our support, and they want us to foot the bill. 

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Ex-gays petition Amazon to stop banning books that help with unwanted same-sex attraction

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By Doug Mainwaring

PETITION: Tell Amazon to reverse censorship of alternative views on homosexuality. Sign the petition here.

July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – After Amazon knuckled under pressure from LGBT activists to ban books offering help to those dealing with unwanted same-sex attraction, former gays launched a petition demanding the online retailer reverse its decision.  

Amazon recently removed several books in response to a Change.org petition that mislabeled all materials dealing with leaving the practice of active homosexuality as destructive “conversion therapy.”   

Those who have left homosexuality and now live chaste single lives or who have gone on to marry and form a family with a member of the opposite sex see a different motive behind Amazon’s action. It is an attempt to silence all the voices of those who have found new life and freedom not through “conversion therapy,” but through conversion to Jesus Christ, a distinction that seems lost on LGBT activists.     

“We exist. Do not erase our community,” said Daren Mehl, founder of Voice of the Voiceless, an organization that seeks to defend the rights of former homosexuals and those with unwanted same-sex attraction, and which launched the petition. “Jesus is alive and does wonderful works in our lives. Desires change. Sexual orientation changes. It is not immutable.”

Among the banned books are several by Catholic psychologists Joseph Nicolosi and Gerard Van Aardweg, as well as autobiographies of individuals who left active homosexuality.  

“We are outraged that a smear campaign by one individual (who stated here that he never read these books) could convince Amazon to censor all books, audiobooks, and Kindle material related to our experiences and viewpoints,” reads the petition.

“For every major issue there are two sides to each story,” continues the petition. “For one side to be bullied and censored on every platform is counter to the values we have long held in common with Amazon.”

Amazon’s action has unleashed a torrent of criticism from former gays and lesbians

“These books have been life-saving instruments to some who have been struggling to find hope,” ex-gay Ethan Martin told LifeSiteNews. “They have been a beacon of light to those of us who hold to traditional Biblical views of sexuality.” 

“And in so taking these resources away, (Amazon) has not only become hypocritical to its own values, they have attempted to silence a smaller minority of the population that is represented by those of us who have left the LGBTQ lifestyle.”

“Over the last several days Amazon has begun their efforts to silence the voices of ex-gays, ex-transgendered and our stories by removing books of our stories and testimonies,” wrote Jason Maxwell on Facebook.

Amazon “is trying to eliminate the voice of one of the smallest minorities in America, because America has let the second smallest minority (LGBTQ community) speak for the whole country,” Maxwell continued. “Really, it isn’t even the LGBTQ community but a few activists who are loud and proud and financially backed by those wishing to see religious freedom destroyed.”

“It’s time for those who have walked out of the LGBTQ community to Rise! Stand up and fight back against the bullied, who have now become the bullies!” he added. 

“I have experienced freedom from a life of same-sex attractions and it wasn’t through conversion therapy and the stereotypical perceptions that follow that form of counsel,” Gabriel Pagan told LifeSiteNews.  

“I don’t believe in conversion therapy. I believe in the truth that Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection offers a new life to ANYONE who puts their faith in Him as Lord and repents,” continued Pagan, who disagrees with the rationale that led to Amazon banning the books. Jesus, “never made me ‘pray the gay away’ or convince myself to be straight.” 

“I’m now living seven years as a heterosexual male with plans to marry my current girlfriend next year. I don’t feel repressed in the slightest bit and I finally feel at peace with my God-given sexuality,” added Pagan. 

“I have been helped by these authors, and it’d be a CRIME to not make them available to others in need!” commented Rich Thompson on the petition website.

“I personally have benefited greatly from some of these books!” wrote Vaughn Armstrong.   “I personally know hundreds of people who choose celibacy, or asexuality, or mixed-orientation marriage rather than choosing to (side) with mainstream LGB propaganda. Censoring this content is completely inappropriate!”

“I am a once-gay man. And a pastor. Been married to my wife for 13 years. Helped create 4 children,” said Ken Williams, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California.  

“Books and therapy and church ministry radically changed my understanding of my identity and I experienced a dramatic shift in my sexual desires,” said Williams. “But I don’t fit the narrative, so apparently my life is invalid. This is discrimination based on sexual orientation. It is discrimination based on my religious beliefs which inform my beliefs about human sexual morality. Un-American. Egregious!”

“These books are necessary for people like myself who have walked away from homosexuality,” wrote Kimberly Johnson. “We learn and grow from others’ experiences!”

“Just because of a ruling in 1973 by a small number of psychiatrists who voted to say homosexuality is normal does not make it normal,” Grace Harley, a woman who tried to live as a man for 18 years, told LifeSiteNews. “Therefore, Dr. Nicolosi books must be made available immediately. Many other books by ex-gays are here to help only those who desire normal, healthy sexuality.”

Harley said God enabled Dr. Nicolosi to write his books in order to help those who came to him with unwanted sexual desires.  

“Amazon, reverse your decision, you are playing with a losing team. God has already won this battle,” added Harley.

“Amazon’s decision to pull all the books written by Catholic writer Dr. Joseph Nicolosi is a horrible decision which sets a dangerous precedent,” chaste same-sex attracted Catholic Thomas Berryman told LifeSiteNews. “Ideas will no longer be fought over in the public square or in the marketplace. Instead, bookstores and libraries will have the decisions about what books to carry decided for them by those public interest groups that can bring the greatest amount of pressure to bear.

“As an aside, I wonder what they plan to do with the books they’ve pulled. Will Amazon give them over to the LGBTQ activists so they can have a good old-fashioned book burning?

“It is eerily reminiscent of how the American Psychiatric Association (APA) decided to remove homosexuality from its list of disordered behaviors in 1973,” continued Berryman. “There was no ground-breaking research to support that decision. The APA simply caved to intimidation, including violence and threats of further violence, from the so-called Gay Liberation Movement.”

Berryman said it is tragic when a corporation like Amazon allows itself to be bullied, adding that Amazon’s action is “an incentive to work harder to find other retailers through whom I can purchase books.”

“As a former transgender, I am grieved that books attempting to help those struggling with homosexual and transgender feelings are being banned from Amazon, and I fear soon from other sources as well,” Laura Perry told LifeSiteNews.  

Perry explained that she believes the types of therapy represented in some of the banned books would have helped her. While her therapist did identify some of the issues leading Perry to believe the lie that she was a man, the therapist ended up giving in to Perry’s demands for hormones. 

“As a result, I spent nine years, thousands of dollars in hormones and surgeries, and hundreds of sleepless nights trying to become something I wasn’t rather than forgiving my mom, forgiving the boy that molested me, and healing from the pain of my past,” said Perry.  

LGBT activists attempt to block ex-gays and ex-transgenders on social media

A lot has gone into getting the now-banned books into Amazon, Kindle, and Audible.  

The problem is that we can’t just go to another platform or create our own,” said Jeremy Schwab, a former homosexual and founder of Joel 2:25, a ministry whose mission is to help men and women who experience same-sex attraction, encouraging relational healing, sexual sobriety, and spiritual growth.  

“Every time we create our own app, the gay activists force Apple, Google, etc. to remove us,” Schwab said. “They are trying to cut us off on every side and they have never even read our material. They have no idea what they are even opposing.” 

Here are the books known to have been banned by Amazon, which former gays and lesbians are demanding be restored:   

  • Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy, by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi;

  • Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction, by Anne Paulk;

  • The Battle for Normality: A Guide for (Self-)Therapy for Homosexuality, by Dr. Gerard J. M. Van Den Aardweg;

  • Healing Homosexuality: Case Stories of Reparative Therapy, by Lucy Freeman and Dr. Joseph Nicolosi;

  • Coming Out Straight: Understanding Same-Sex Attraction, by Richard Cohen;

  • Growth into Manhood: Resuming the Journey, by Alan Medinger;

  • A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi and Linda Nicolosi;

  • Reparative therapy of male homosexuality: A new clinical approach, by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi;

  • Straight Talk about Homosexuality: The Other Side of Tolerance, by Richard Cohen;

  • Desires in Conflict: Hope for Men Who Struggle with Sexual Identity, by Joe Dallas;

  • Orientation and Choice: One Man's Sexual Journey, by David A. Robinson

The petition demanding that Amazon reverse its decision to ban books that aim to help those with unwanted same-sex attraction can be found here.

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