All of today's articles

February 20, 2018

Featured Image
John Tomkinson
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug


Catholic school student ‘accidentally’ immunized with HPV vaccine against parents’ wishes

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

EDMONTON, Alberta, February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A former Catholic trustee who opposed using the schools to administer the controversial HPV vaccine is expressing outrage after Alberta Health Services “accidentally” administered it to his son in his Catholic school.

Because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, the use of Catholic schools to administer the vaccine has been a subject of major controversy. Many fear giving it to children could suggest they do not expect them to abide by the Church’s teaching reserving sex for marriage. Former Calgary Bishop Fred Henry, in particular, famously opposed the vaccine for many years on moral grounds.

The vaccine, called “Gardasil,” has been administered through the province’s schools in grade 5 and 9 with government funding since 2007.

Then in 2012 the Calgary Catholic School District reversed course on the HPV vaccine and agreed to offer the controversial drug in their schools despite the opposition of Bishop Henry and others.

“The only winner in all of this is Merck,” the company that produces the drug, said Bishop Henry at the time, which “stands to make even more money based on exaggerated claims, incomplete and limited scientific data, and our fear of cancer.”

“We are all losers if we believe that pills, lotions, condoms and vaccines are the solution to the spread of STDs. I hope that someday we wake up!” he added.

Around the same time, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) chose to recommend the use of Gardasil to immunize males against the HPV, and beginning in 2014 Alberta began administering the vaccine to grade 5 boys. Grade 9 boys were offered a four-year catch-up program.   

The NACI recommendation for boys was not based on any evidence that the immunization would inhibit spreading of the virus between males and females, although HPV infection has a high incidence among teenage males who engage in sexual activity with each other.

Last week, Alberta parents John and Melissa Tomkinson were stunned to learn that their son received the HPV vaccine against their wishes.  

“John Tomkinson is a former chairman of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools, a division southwest of Edmonton,” according to a report in the National Post. “Back when he was a Catholic school trustee, he was opposed to allowing Alberta Health Services to administer Gardasil, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, in his district’s schools.”

The Tomkinsons remain concerned about the safety of this particular vaccine. They worry that it hasn’t undergone rigorous enough testing and had not consented to have their children vaccinated against HPV.

“I and my wife have made a conscience decision with regard to the HPV vaccine. However, notwithstanding that, to have anybody in the medical profession administering to a minor something without parental consent that they deem necessary on their own is the shocking bit,” Tomkinson told Global News during a televised interview.

“Our son was in line to get the vaccines that we had approved, and as it turns out the Alberta Health Services nurses made an error — they call it an ‘unfortunate error’ — and went and administered additional vaccines to our son without our consent and without his knowledge,” Tompkinson said.

“Our children are at risk, they’re in danger. Some have allergies, some have health conditions — you can’t simply be walking into a clinic and they just put whatever is on the table into the children.”

“What bothers me the most is that AHS knew about this in advance and have done nothing to make it safe for all children.”

Tompkinson sees this as a cautionary tale for other parents.  

“The message I would bring to other parents right now is to be cautious, to be careful, to double-check. In fact, my wife and I have now decided we will not be having our children involved in vaccines at the school. We do support vaccines, but we’ll take them to the clinic.”  

Melissa expressed grave displeasure on her Facebook page:

One of our kids was given a vaccine at school by the AHS health nurse that we did NOT authorize. AHS confirmed their "unfortunate error" to us yesterday, but we are not ok with this! They performed an unauthorized medical procedure on our kid and I'm so upset! Don't even know what to say, why do they not look for our parental permission and look out for the safety of kids?!!. They performed a non-consented medical treatment on our kid. They put something into our kid that we believe there isn't enough medical evidence to be beneficial to our kid. We are livid. This is NOT acceptable at all. A simple ‘oops’ isn’t going to cut it. Ask your kids how many shots they got last time at school!”

AHS apologized to the family two days after the vaccination was mistakenly administered, saying:  

We appreciate that immunizations are a sensitive issue for some, and that is why we have processes in place to ensure that we gain consent from parents before immunizing a child. Vaccination errors are extremely rare. We are reviewing this incident to better understand what happened, and to help us prevent such errors in the future.

In an opinion piece written for the National Post, Paula Simons came out in support of the Tompkinson family, saying they were “betrayed by the AHS:

Now, I don’t think for a minute this was some government plot to vaccinate Tomkinson’s son by stealth. Despite Tomkinson’s concerns, the HPV vaccine is an effective tool to fight cervical cancer, which kills hundreds of Canadian women every year. I don’t think it encourages promiscuity; I think it reduces needless suffering. I made certain to have my daughter vaccinated when she was young. I’d encourage any other parent to do the same.

But that’s not the point. The Tomkinsons made a different choice. I don’t agree with their choice or their reasoning. But the decision was theirs alone to take. I can’t blame them for feeling betrayed by a health-care system that was supposed to protect them, but which violated their freedom of conscience instead.

We shouldn’t have an immunization clinic run so casually that mistakes like this can happen. Some children are severely allergic to the ingredients in particular vaccines. Some have medical conditions that make certain immunizations dangerous. The consequences of an error such as this could be fatal in other circumstances.

Featured Image
Gordon Giampietro
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug


Trump district court nominee calls same-sex ‘marriage’ and contraception an ‘assault on nature’

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump is under fire from liberal and LGBT groups for nominating a man to the federal bench who has said same-sex marriage undermines the “very idea of marriage” and is part of an “assault on nature” that began with contraception.

Gordon Giampietro, nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, is currently an assistant general counsel of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, whose past statements in various forums have raised the ire of progressives and, in particular, the LGBT community.  

“No one would disagree with the fact that children, all the social science research shows this, are best raised by a man and a woman,” Giampietro said in an interview on a Catholic radio show. “This is natural, this is the truth, and it’s irrefutable. And so I think it has to be articulated in a way which isn’t dismissive of those troubled relationships, but it is reaffirming of the truth of marriage.”

Giampietro also has warned that legalization of same-sex marriage will lead to legalization of polygamy. “Given this constitutional principle that the court has laid down, there really is no principled reason to say that polygamy isn’t the next thing to go.”

He has also criticized Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the majority opinion in the Obergefell case that legalized same-sex marriage nationally, suggesting that Kennedy didn’t use “legal reasoning” in arriving at his conclusion and that the Supreme Court Justice “went off the rails years ago” with the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, striking down sodomy laws.

In the same interview, Giampietro agreed that many of the challenges the country now faces can be traced to the widespread use of contraceptive pills. “Because that’s an assault on nature,” he told host Lydia Lococo. “And any time you assault nature there’s going to be a backlash. And that’s what we’re seeing today. In all kinds of ways, not just with respect to contraception and marriage. Whenever you go against God’s plan, bad things are going to happen.”

“Gordon’s civil and criminal trial work for more than 20 years in the same court he has been nominated to serve, both in private practice and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, will make him a valuable asset to the Eastern District,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement. “In nominating Gordon Giampietro to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, President Trump has continued his strong record of selecting well-qualified judicial nominees committed to constitutional principles and upholding the rule of law.”

A statement issued by the White House offers a glimpse into Giampietro’s professional qualifications:

Gordon Giampietro is an assistant general counsel of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual, Mr. Giampietro spent 13 years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Before joining the United States Attorney’s Office, Mr. Giampietro was a partner in the Milwaukee law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, where his practice focused on civil and commercial litigation. Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Giampietro served for three years as a law clerk to Judge Rudolph T. Randa of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.  Mr. Giampietro earned his B.A. with high honors in philosophy and his J.D. from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

According to various gay news sites, nearly one-third of President Trump’s judicial nominees are perceived to be “anti-LGBT.”   

“The record speed with which President Trump is reshaping the courts, coupled with the staggeringly high number of judges with anti-LGBT records whom he has nominated for lifetime appointments,” asserts pro-LGBT Lambda Legal.  The organization worries that because these are lifetime judicial appointments, the courts will be reshaped for years to come, “triggering a growing judicial crisis for LGBT people.”  

Featured Image
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges


State senator rebuffs Planned Parenthood activists: ‘Abortion is murder’

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

BOISE, Idaho, February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Mainstream media is slinging mud at a pro-life Republican state senator in Idaho after he was filmed in a heated exchange with a dozen or so pro-abortion college students affiliated with Planned Parenthood, telling them that abortion is “murder.”

When State Sen. Dan Foreman (R) canceled a meeting with University of Idaho students on Monday, the Planned Parenthood-affiliated group left condoms in the Catholic senator's office in response. The group was lobbying lawmakers to pass two bills, one on providing tax-funded birth control and another on updating the state’s sex-ed program. 

Despite the meeting being canceled, the students continued to press Sen. Foreman on condoms, contraception, and comprehensive sex education for school children. 

Then, in a face-to-face confrontation with the students, Foreman explained what he really thinks about Planned Parenthood’s work. 

"Abortion is murder. I stand against it. I am a Roman Catholic. I am a conservative Republican. I think what you guys do stinks,” he said. 

The students, belonging to Planned Parenthood Generation Action at University of Idaho, recorded the senator's bold rebuke.

One student challenged Sen. Foreman, stating, "That is your choice." 

Foreman immediately responded: "You're d-mn right it's my choice, so stay out of my office."

He told the students that if they continued to hound him in the Capitol lobby, he would contact security.

When Foreman left the students to return to his office, one girl can be heard saying about the Senator's remarks, "I got it."

When video of the exchange was posted on social media, mainstream media slammed the politician for his comments to the students. Many ran headlines saying Foreman screamed, shouted, or ranted at the students. They carried commentary by a Planned Parenthood spokesperson who said that the senator was "unhinged" and being a “bully.”

Foreman told LifeSiteNews that he considers himself “blessed” for being given an opportunity to defend life. 

“I consider myself blessed to have been presented with the opportunity as a legislator to stand for the rights of the unborn. Abortion is a national disgrace and an affront to the Almighty – the Creator of Life,” he said.

A 30-year U.S. Air Force Master Navigator and combat veteran on jet tankers and aircraft, Foreman retired as a full colonel and vice commander of the 168th Air Refueling Wing in Alaska.  Foreman also served as a police officer for eleven years after his military service.  

The first-term Republican has been married to his wife Maria for 42 years, and they have seven children and 20 grandchildren.

A staunch pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family legislator, Foreman introduced a bill as soon as he took office that would classify abortion as "murder."  “I don’t want to tell a woman what to do with her body, and neither should the government,” he explained.  “But using that same logic, how can a woman tell her unborn child it has to die? Who represents the child?”

“I’m tired of babies dying,” he said. “It’s time to start the fight, and I’ll be the point man. I’ve been through two wars and have 11 years as a cop. I’m not thin-skinned.”

The senator and family man says he is first and foremost concerned with "doing the right thing."  “I don’t care what people think of me,” he said.  “I’m here (in the Legislature) to do what I think is best for the people.”

The politician now faces an ethics investigation after an unverified Twitter account allegedly belonging to Foreman sent a number of tweets concerning Planned Parenthood and abortion. The tweets were sent hours after Foreman's interaction with the students. 

One tweet told the students to “stop harassing me and staff.” Another suggested that if they want to talk about “killing babies,” they should see Democratic Sen. Maryanne Jordan of Boise.

Idaho State Senator Maryanne Jordan (D) then filed an ethics complaint against Foreman regarding the tweet she was mentioned in, saying that his “behavior is beneath the Idaho Senate.”

After Jordan's ethics complaint, the year-old twitter account was deleted, only to come back online to confirm that it was not associated with Foreman

Featured Image
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire


Former Vatican doctrine head: ‘Paradigm shift’ means ‘corruption’ of doctrine

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Vatican's former doctrine chief has penned an essay responding to senior Cardinals who have recently described Amoris Laetitia as a "paradigm shift" for the Church.

A “paradigm which the Church takes on the criteria of modern society to be assimilated by it” isn’t a “development” of doctrine, but “a corruption” of it, Cardinal Gerhard Müller wrote in a lengthy First Things essay. Müller is the former Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

His essay answered the question, “Can there be ‘paradigm shifts’ in the interpretation of the deposit of faith?”

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin recently claimed that the controversial Amoris Laetitia is a “paradigm shift” for the Church.

“The text itself insists on this, that’s what is asked of us — this new spirit, this new approach!” Parolin said.

Müller, citing centuries of Church history and quoting Blessed John Henry Newman’s writings, laid out why a “paradigm shift” is really a rotting of Catholic doctrine rather than a “development” of it.

“According to Newman, a true development occurs when Christianity is able to assimilate the surrounding environment, informing and changing its culture, whereas corruption happens when it is instead the environment that assimilates Christianity to itself,” wrote Müller. “Thus, a paradigm shift, by which the Church takes on the criteria of modern society to be assimilated by it, constitutes not a development, but a corruption.”

He continued:

For a development to be healthy, it must proceed in logical continuity with the teachings of the past. Is there any logical continuity between John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio n. 84—which teaches that the divorced living in a new union must resolve to live in continence or else refrain from approaching the sacraments—and the change of this selfsame discipline that some are proposing? There are only two options. One could explicitly deny the validity of Familiaris Consortio n. 84, thus denying by the same token Newman’s sixth note, “Conservative Action upon the Past.” Or one could attempt to show that Familiaris Consortio n. 84 implicitly anticipated the reversal of the discipline that it explicitly set out to teach. On any honest reading of John Paul II’s text, however, such a procedure would have to violate the basic rules of logic, such as the principle of non-contradiction. the exercise of its teaching ministry, it is not enough for the Church’s Magisterium simply to appeal to its judicial or disciplinary power as if its teachings were nothing but a matter of legal and doctrinal positivism. Rather, the Magisterium must seek to present a convincing case, showing how its presentation of the faith is in itself coherent and in continuity with the rest of Tradition. The authority of the papal Magisterium rests on its continuity with the teachings of previous popes. In fact, if a pope had the power to abolish the binding teachings of his predecessors, or if he had the authority even to reinterpret Holy Scripture against its evident meaning, then all his doctrinal decisions could in turn be abolished by his successor, whose successor in turn could undo or redo everything as he pleased. In this case we would not be witnessing a development of doctrine, but the dire spectacle of the Bark of Peter stranded on a sandbank.

Pope Francis has not yet answered a dubia, or formal request, from four cardinals asking him if Amoris Laetitia is consistent with Catholic moral teaching.

Müller explained that bishops’ conferences directives implementing Amoris Laetitia can’t be considered orthodox if they simply “declare their conformity with the pope’s presumed intentions in Amoris Laetitia.

“They are orthodox only if they agree with the words of Christ preserved in the deposit of faith. Similarly, when cardinals, bishops, priests, and laity ask the pope for clarity on these matters, what they request is not a clarification of the pope’s opinion. What they seek is clarity regarding the continuity of the pope’s teaching in Amoris Laetitia with the rest of tradition,” wrote Müller.

Using principles that Newman taught, Müller argued, is how one should properly read Amoris Laetitia:

The criteria that Newman unfolds are useful, then, to disclose how we should read Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The first two criteria are “preservation of type” and “continuity of principles.” They are meant precisely to ensure the stability of the faith’s foundational structure. These principles and types prevent us from speaking of a “paradigm shift” regarding the form of the Church’s being and of her presence in the world. Now chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia has been the object of contradictory interpretations. When in this context some speak of a paradigm shift, this seems to be a relapse into a modernist and subjectivist way of interpreting the Catholic faith. It was in 1962 that Thomas Kuhn introduced his controversial and at the same time influential idea of “paradigm shifts” into the debate internal to the philosophy of science, where the expression received a precise, technical meaning. Apart from this context, however, this term also has an everyday use, referring to any form of fundamental change in theoretical forms of thought and social behavior. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8)—this is, in contrast, our paradigm, which we will not exchange for any other. “For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11). [emphasis added]

Featured Image
Cardinal Reinhardt Marx YouTube video frame
Maike Hickson


Cardinal Marx: I did not propose a blessing for gay couples, only ‘spiritual encouragement’

Maike Hickson
By Maike Hickson
A screen-grab of Vatican News’ website shows the story of Cardinal Marx saying he thinks a blessing for gay couples is possible along with a story of him denying he ever said this. Vatican News / screen-grab

MUNICH, Germany, February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The German cardinal who caused a great stir in the Catholic world earlier this month by raising the possibility of a liturgical blessing for homosexual couples is now saying that he never supported such an idea.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx is now saying that all he meant to say at the time was that homosexual couples could receive “spiritual encouragement; [but] about a blessing of homosexual couples, and even a public one, I did not speak at all.” He made this statement on the first day of the German bishops' Spring Assembly in Ingolstadt. 

According to a February 19 report of the German bishops' official website, the cardinal said the following:

A possible blessing of same-sex couples is not on the agenda of the bishops in Ingolstadt, according to Marx. That topic first has to be carefully prepared. For this, one has now given a work order to the pastoral commission of the Bishops' Conference. At the same time, Marx opposed interpretations, according to which he is said to have recently spoken in favor of the blessing of same-sex couples in individual cases. He had merely said that he could imagine well in an individual case “that there also can be spiritual encouragement; [but] about a blessing of homosexual couples, and even a public one, I did not speak at all,” said Marx. He also made it clear that the pastoral commission will not deal with the “search for blessing opportunities.”

Faithful Catholics are left wondering what “spiritual encouragement” implies. For instance, does it imply calling the sinner to no longer engage in homosexual acts?

In the video of the February 19 press conference where Cardinal Marx spoke these words (around minute 22), he also said that Bishop Franz-Josef Bode had introduced this topic of the blessing at the last Permanent Council of the bishops' conference (a smaller group of German bishops who regularly meet) and that it thus has been already discussed. Marx added that by mentioning this topic “en passant” it only caused a form of polarization. “And then, the very big canons are being again pulled out – but I wish not to comment on that,” he explained.

This is what Cardinal Marx said on February 3 when asked about a blessing for homosexual couples, as OnePeterFive then reported:

When asked whether he could imagine such a blessing for homosexual couples, Cardinal Marx answers: “There are no general solutions; I do not consider it [such a general solution] to be right, because it is about the pastoral care for individuals.” These are cases “where we do not have a rule,” he explains. “And that does not mean that there is nothing happening.”

Cardinal Marx adds:

“This I really have to leave up to the local pastor and the accompaniment of that person. One can think about this in a dialogue — and right now, there is taking place such a discussion [raised by the Vice President of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode] — that is to say, about how we could deal with this matter, but I would say I would leave this strongly in the hands of the local pastor, in a very concrete situation, and not to demand rules in this matter. There are things that cannot be regulated.” [emphasis added]

Readers may judge for themselves what Cardinal Marx really meant by his comments. While Cardinal Marx can say that he literally did not himself mention the words “blessing of homosexual couples,” he nevertheless answered a question about such blessings. He did not say that such blessings are impossible for the Catholic Church to do, but, that there is a dialogue going on about this, that there should not be general rules, and that he wants to leave this matter in the hands of the individual pastor or pastoral worker.

In any event, the Vatican's own website, Vatican News (German), understood what Cardinal Marx meant. On 4 February, Vatican News published an article titled: “Marx: Blessing of Homosexual Couples Possible in Individual Cases.” This article then contained some of the above-quoted statements uttered by Marx. 

Ironically, now the Vatican News website reports that Marx now contradicts exactly that 'interpretation.' On 19 February, Vatican News stated in its headline: “Cardinal Marx: I Have Never Spoken in Favor of Blessings of Homosexuals.” When looking at that article, one can see, in the corner to the right, a link to the original article which still states that Cardinal Marx supported such an idea.

This story of the Cardinal commenting on a blessing for homosexual couples and then subsequently denying the overall consensus of what his words were taken by many to mean is more than a little bizarre. 

Let us recapitulate some things. First, Cardinal Marx makes the controversial and now contested statements on 3 February which immediately find international attention. Then, the Cardinal’s director of communications intervenes immediately with regard to some reports which claim that he had spoken a clear “yes” to the interviewer's question with regard to the homosexual couple's blessing, but Marx himself was not available for further interviews so as to make it clear what he had actually meant to say.

One fact remains: in that February 3 interview, he did not repeat the Church's teaching on homosexual practice and he did not say that such a blessing is impossible.

In the following days after that interview, prelates such as Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, Archbishop Charles Chaput, as well as Bishop Andreas Laun all publicly oppose Cardinal Marx and his tentative proposals. An international debate and indignation is growing over this matter, yet Cardinal Marx remains silent – only in order to deny the whole story more than two weeks later? And then he states, what he really had meant is that local pastors should give “spiritual encouragement” to such couples?

Mathias von Gersdorff, a German pro-life activist and book author, is now also shaking his head. In a post on his own blog, he comments, as follows:

Cardinal Marx' approach is strange. Did he back off in light of the international indignation and the resistance within the [German] Episcopacy? Immediately before the beginning of the [German bishops'] Spring Assembly Bishops Gebhard Fürst (Stuttgart-Rottenburg) and Stephan Burger (Freiburg) openly declared that blessings of such couples are not possible.

The whole matter seems to be mysterious. Was it a test balloon? Will the planned pastoral commission provide, after all, some surprises?

Let us wait and let us be attentive.

This sort of back peddling may remind some of Cardinal Walter Kasper who, after claiming he had the Pope's support for his 'Kasper proposal' with regard to "remarried' divorcees receiving Holy Communion, later suddenly claimed just the opposite.

Some observers are wondering whether Cardinal Marx is not now backing off because of the fact that Pope Francis is already under pressure for his comments regarding the controversy about Bishop Juan Barros and the sexual abuse scandals. Is it perhaps so, that Francis and his counselors see that this is not the time right now to push that other agenda further?

Is Pope Francis perhaps losing ground?

Other examples of such “push backs” are, first, Pope Francis' acceptance of the resignation of a Nigerian bishop, after his threats to excommunicate the priests of that diocese showed themselves to be feckless; and second, in light of some protests, Cardinal Roger Mahoney's withdrawal from his participation at a diocesan event to which he had originally been appointed by Pope Francis; third, the fact that Archbishop Charles Scicluna, upon papal order, is finally starting to meet and interview those sex abuse victims whom Pope Francis claimed – in light of the Barros case in Chile – had never raised their own concerns. Bishop Barros might soon have to follow his Nigerian fellow bishop and resign.

Thus, all of those who have fought one of these battles over the last couple of weeks might have a sense of joy that that battle was not in vain. It makes a difference whether we speak up or not. It makes a difference whether we watch carefully and comment upon developments as they come.

Let us thus continue the good fight and resist any distortion of our beloved Faith, wherever it comes from.

Featured Image
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges


Abortion centers sue to reverse Ohio’s new ban on aborting babies with Down Syndrome

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

CINCINNATI, Ohio, February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood are suing to block Ohio’s new state law that bans abortion of preborn babies because they have Down Syndrome. The lawsuit calls the law an “unconstitutional undue burden on the abortion right.”

The Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act, or HB-214, passed the legislature last year, and Governor John Kasich (R) signed it into law on December 22. Abortionists violating the ban may receive fines, jail time, or a loss of their medical license. There are no punishments for the women who abort a possible Down syndrome baby.

The new law is scheduled to take effect next month. 

The lawsuit characterizes the new law as “striking at the very heart of the Fourteenth Amendment right to privacy and autonomy,” yet neither “privacy” nor “autonomy” are mentioned or even inferred in the Constitution.

“For many families, the right decision is...abortion,” the ACLU complaint reads, calling abortion of babies with Down Syndrome “medically appropriate care.” It refers to the baby in her mother’s womb as “the products of conception.”

Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, Planned Parenthood Greater Ohio, Cleveland’s “Preterm” abortion facility, Dayton’s Women’s Med Group, and Dr. Roslyn Kade filed in the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati against the Ohio Department of Health, county prosecutors and members of the state medical board.

Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis called the lawsuit “discrimination.”

“It is a shame that an organization that claims to be the very biggest and best at defending victims of discrimination completely disregards the most vulnerable members of our society who are being discriminated against,” he said. 

Gonidakis said that a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome "should not mean a death sentence.”

“Every Ohioan deserves the right to life, no matter how many chromosomes they have,” he added.

The suit ultimately wants the law declared unconstitutional, and is also seeking an immediate injunction putting a hold on its enforcement, as well as money.

The medical journal Prenatal Diagnosis reports that up to 85 percent of pregnant women who receive a Down Syndrome diagnosis abort their child. The numbers are so high that the European Center for Law and Justice appealed to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in an oral intervention, calling the practice a “contemporary form of eugenics and racism.”

One in 691 babies is conceived with Down syndrome. However, “the advances in science and medicine that allow people with Down syndrome to lead successful lives,” Live Action explains.  “Today, people with Down syndrome receive equal education alongside their peers, and many live on their own, get married, and hold jobs.”

Addressing this concern, Ohio passed a pro-information law to give women more accurate and less stigmatizing data on the disability.

Ohio is the fourth state to prohibit abortion because of Down Syndrome and/or possible fetal abnormality.  

Indiana’s ban was struck down by a federal judge after an ACLU challenge.  North Dakota’s 2013 ban remains in force because the state’s only abortion business does not terminate past 16 weeks gestation, before prenatal testing. Louisiana’s 2016 law is not enforced while the Center for Reproductive Rights challenges it and six other pro-life statutes.

Featured Image
Pope Francis meets with Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ.
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire


Papal advisor retweets call for Church to shut down EWTN unless they fire Raymond Arroyo

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Papal confidante Father Antonio Spadaro retweeted a call for EWTN to be severely censured “until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo.”

The call for an “interdict” to be imposed on the Catholic media empire started by Mother Angelica came from Anthony Annett, Assistant to the Director at the International Monetary Fund’s Communications Department.

An interdict is essentially one step short of excommunication. It bans a person or people from accessing most Church Sacraments.

“A person who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; if he is a cleric, another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, can be added according to the gravity of the delict,” according to the Code of Canon Law (Canon 1370). “A person who does this against a bishop incurs a latae sententiae interdict and, if he is a cleric, also a latae sententiae suspension.”

Catholic Culture’s dictionary explains that an interdict is

A censure forbidding the faithful, while still remaining in communion with the Church, the use of certain sacred privileges, such as Christian burial, some of the sacraments, and attendance at liturgical services. It does not exclude from Church membership, nor does it necessarily imply a personal fault of any individual affected by the interdict. When imposed for a fixed period, it is a vindictive penalty because of some grave act done against the common good of the Church by one or more parishes. Usual religious services are curtailed, but sacraments may be given to the dying, marriages celebrated, and Holy Communion administered if the interdict is general or local (not personal). A general interdict may be inflicted only by the Holy See. Parishes or persons may be interdicted only by the local ordinary.

Annett called for an interdict to be imposed on EWTN because of a February 15 World Over segment.

“Make no mistake,” tweeted Annett, the show’s discussion of a recent Spadaro speech and ultra-liberal Cardinal Blase Cupich “represent ‘total war’ on the papacy of Pope Francis.”

Arroyo was a close friend of Mother Angelica. He is the author of numerous books. As confusion has mounted during Pope Francis’ reign, his signature show, The World Over, has analyzed troubling developments in the Church. Arroyo often does this with the help of Father Gerald Murray and Robert Royal (the “papal posse”).

Spadaro, a Jesuit who is often called the pope’s “mouthpiece,” frequently criticizes critics of Amoris Laetitia’s ambiguity or the Francis pontificate. He is the editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica.

The World Over segment covered Spadaro's recent speech at Georgetown University. Arroyo said he’d asked Spadaro for an interview but he said he was too busy.

During this speech at Georgetown, Spadaro said of the pope’s diplomacy: “The pope is light years away from the theorists of a clash of civilizations. Francis seeks to dissolve the narrative of a toxic final clash of religions that nourishes the fear of chaos.”

Fr. Murray told Arroyo those statements were “puzzling” because “it’s reducing human life to simply a game of ‘king of the hill.’ And the Church teaches the exact opposite. Human life is about fulfilling God’s will, knowing that will, and then trying to bring a society into accord with that will.”

“That involves identifying things that are evil [and] reprobating them,” said Murray.

Some Twitter users mocked the call to punish EWTN unless they sack Arroyo.

In 2015, as the “Year of Mercy” began, a Vatican archbishop suggested some criticisms of Pope Francis might result in automatic excommunication.

Featured Image
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry


Leaked docs raise question of Pope’s personal role in new Vatican financial scandal

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

ROME, February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Leaked documents obtained by LifeSiteNews connect the Pope himself to a new Vatican financial scandal and raise serious questions about his global reputation as the “pope for the poor.”

LifeSiteNews has obtained internal documents of the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, a charity with a stellar history of assisting the world’s poor, showing that last summer the Pope personally requested, and obtained in part, a $25 million grant to a corruption-plagued, Church-owned dermatological hospital in Rome accused of money laundering. Records from the financial police indicate the hospital has liabilities over one billion USD – an amount larger than the national debt of some 20 nations.

The grant has lay members of the Papal Foundation up in arms, and some tendering resignations. Responding to questions from LifeSiteNews, Papal Foundation staff sent a statement saying that it is not their practice to comment on individual requests.

Speaking of grants in general, the Papal Foundation said their mission has not changed. “The grants to help those in need around the world and of significance to the Holy Father are reviewed and approved through well-accepted philanthropic processes by the Board and its committees,” it said.

Lay membership or becoming a “steward” in the Papal Foundation involves the pledge “to give $1 million over the course of no more than ten years with a minimum donation of $100,000 per year.”  Those monies are invested in order to make a perpetual fund to assist the Church.

However, the majority of the board is composed of U.S. bishops, including every U.S. Cardinal living in America. The foundation customarily gives grants of $200,000 or less to organizations in the developing world (see a grant list for 2017 here) via the Holy See.

According to the internal documents, the Pope made the request for the massive grant, which is 100 times larger than its normal grants, through Papal Foundation board chairman Cardinal Donald Wuerl in the summer of 2017.

Despite opposition from the lay “stewards,” the bishops on the board voted in December to send an $8 million payment to the Holy See. In January, the documents reveal, lay members raised alarm about what they consider a gross misuse of their funds, but despite their protests another $5 million was sent with Cardinal Wuerl brooking no dissent.

Along with this report, LifeSite is publishing three leaked documents. Access them here, here, and here.

‘Negligent… flawed… reckless’

On January 6, the steward who until then served as chairman of the Foundation’s audit committee submitted his resignation along with a report of the committee’s grave objections to the grant.

“As head of the Audit Committee and a Trustee of the Foundation, I found this grant to be negligent in character, flawed in its diligence, and contrary to the spirit of the Foundation,” he wrote in his resignation letter accompanying the report. “Instead of helping the poor in a third-world country, the Board approved an unprecedented huge grant to a hospital that has a history of mismanagement, criminal indictments, and bankruptcy.”

“Had we allowed such recklessness in our personal careers we would never have met the requirements to join The Papal Foundation in the first place.”

The audit committee chairman’s report noted that the Foundation’s “initial $8 million was sent without any supporting documentation.”

He said the board eventually received a “2-1/2 inch thick binder of information (mostly in Italian)” but it lacked essential details. The report notes:

There was no Balance Sheet.  There was no clear explanation as to how the $25 million would be used. Normal grant requests are fairly specific about how our money will be used. Buried in the thick binder was only a one-page financial projection labelled “Draft for Discussion” showing:

2017   1.6 million Euro PROFIT

2018   2.4 million Euro PROFIT

2019   4.4 million Euro PROFIT

And on this data, our Board of Directors voted to grant this failing hospital $25 million of our hard-earned dollars. To put this in perspective, rarely have we given above $200,000 to a grant request. I pointed out that there was NO PROFESSIONAL DUE DILIGENCE, just a lot of fluff. If the numbers presented were accurate, then this commercial enterprise should go to a bank.  They don’t need our money.  If the numbers were not accurate, then a decision could not be made.

The controversial hospital

The lay members of the board have good reason to be concerned about the supposed recipient of their generosity. Pope Francis asked for the funds to be directed to the Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata (IDI), a dermatological hospital in Rome that has been plagued with corruption and financial scandal for years.

On May 15, 2013, ANSA, the leading news wire in Italy, reported “police confiscated over six million euros worth of property and bank accounts as part of investigations into alleged corruption at the Italian hospital group Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata (IDI).”

The news of Vatican financial corruption connected to the IDI hit international headlines in 2015 with a June 20 Reuters article showing the Italian magistrates suspected Vatican Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi diverted 30 million euros destined for a Church-owned children’s hospital to the Church-owned IDI.

Another ANSA piece from 2016 reported, “Finance police discovered IDI was 845 million euros in the red and 450 million euros in tax evasion while 82 million euros had been diverted and six million euros in public funds embezzled.”

In May 2017, La Repubblica – the only newspaper Pope Francis says he reads – reported on court rulings revolving around the IDI detailing twenty-four indictments, leading to a dozen convictions, some of which carried over three years in prison. The court recognized the evidence from the financial police including “about 845 million euros in balance sheet liabilities and over 82 million in diverted funds, plus the undue use of another 6 million public funds.”

‘He is the Pope, and we listen to him’

On January 19, after numerous calls and emails among lay members supporting the audit committee’s position, the Foundation’s executive committee sent a letter trying to placate the donating members.

That document, sent by Foundation President Bishop Michael Bransfield, and signed by Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, as well as several Stewards on the executive, highlights that the request for the donation came directly from Pope Francis. They wrote:

Many of us believe that, had it been us, we would have told the Holy Father that the Papal Foundation would not be able to help on this project – but we weren’t in the room with him. We can surmise what we would have done, had it been one of us, but we really don’t know. In fact, we have been explicit throughout our history that this is the Papal Foundation. We have worked in conjunction with the pope from the very beginning. We don’t approve every request he makes, but he is the Pope, and we listen to him, and we listen intently. (emphasis in the original)

Attempts to mollify big donors

The executive’s letter regrets “the significant degree of discontent” but admonishes: “If we do not have love in our hearts toward one another, we are like clanging gongs or clashing cymbals.”

“We do not believe it is in the best interest of Christ or his Church to presume bad faith or ill will…,” it adds, but allows it is “legitimate to have disagreements over prudential decisions.”

“The Papal Foundation has bylaws that put the ultimate control of the organization in the hands of the US-domiciled Cardinals,” says the letter.

The executive concedes that when a grant is “over one hundred times the size of many of our other grants, there should be near unanimity in the vote, and that is not what happened.”

The letter also notes that while half of the $25 million was already transferred to the Vatican – for the IDI – Cardinal Wuerl “has written to the Secretary of State to request, given the circumstances surrounding this grant, that the Holy See decline to accept any further monies pursuant to the grant that was approved in December.”

Moreover the executive proposes a “new grant policy wherein any grant of more than $1 million must be approved by a majority of both lay and clerical Trustees on the Board.”

A first attempt to quell the stewards was sent on January 8 suggesting that the massive request of funds for the corrupt hospital was actually a part of Pope Francis’ effort to fight financial corruption. Accompanied by a letter and reflection from Cardinal Wuerl, a “PF Stewards Report” explained that the $25 million request of the Pope for the IDI was made, “in the larger context of the Holy Father’s commitment to confront and eliminate corruption and financial mismanagement both within the Vatican itself and in outside projects with which it was involved or sponsored.”

A source inside the Vatican informed LifeSiteNews that much financial corruption continues unabated under Pope Francis even though the Pope was informed of it.

The Papal Foundation’s record

The Papal Foundation has a stellar record of assisting the Popes to support the poor, largely in developing nations. Since their first gift to Pope St. John Paul II in 1990, the Foundation’s fund has grown to over $215 million, and has given a total of $121 million in grants and scholarships.

From a look at their recent grants it is evident that the use of funds heretofore has been above reproach. The wealthy American Catholic families funded the building of churches, monasteries, schools and seminaries in impoverished nations. AIDS hospices, facilities for care of youth with physical and mental disabilities, and the like have also benefited from their generosity.

It seems this scandal is the first in the 30-year history of the organization. The executive letter states: “It is true that over the last fifteen years, if not longer, most of our donations have gone to the poor, and most of those poor have been in the poorer countries of the world.” It acknowledges that throughout the organization’s history, “almost all of the decisions of the organization were made with near unanimity of the Board.”

Featured Image
John Stonestreet and Stan Guthrie


The new Gerber baby: An image-bearer with Down syndrome

John Stonestreet and Stan Guthrie
By John Stonestreet and Stan Guthrie

February 20, 2018 (BreakPoint) – An adorable boy with Down syndrome was selected as this year's Gerber baby. That's great news. But remember, he's valuable not because he's cute!

Starting sometime in the 1920s, the Gerber Baby became a cultural icon of hand-drawn cuteness. In 2010, the baby-food company started an annual photo contest for real-life Gerber babies. One hundred and forty thousand families entered the contest this year, and the winner is one-year-old Lucas Warren. Once you see his adorable grin, you'll know why.

In addition to being Gerber's Spokesbaby – which of course isn't strictly accurate since he can't really speak yet – little Lucas enjoys another honor. He's the first child with Down syndrome to be named the winner.

At first glance, as Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote at National Review Online, "the Gerber Spokesbaby slot ... is an advertisement for baby food, (but) it can be so much more this year. Looking in the eyes of Lucas, we might see a better way to live."

Amen, and good for Gerber! In most Western countries, including Iceland, France, and even the U.S., the vast majority of precious children with Down syndrome are targeted for extinction through selective abortion. Even more, this is considered a good thing by many in the press, and even more in the academy. Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer has infamously argued that parents be allowed to kill children with disabilities like Down syndrome even after they're born.

Gerber's choice sends a crucial message, that children with disabilities are just as valuable as any other child, and they often bring love into their homes, communities, and churches that's second-to-none. So may Lucas be an ambassador, not just for Gerber, but for the joy that comes from welcoming all lives.

I'm more than happy to praise Gerber...but I don't want to praise them for the wrong reason. Gerber did the right thing, but children with Down syndrome are valuable not because they're cute or even because they often bring so much love and happiness to their families, although both of those things are true.

Lucas, like every human being, is valuable whether he's cute or not; both when he brings happiness and when he doesn't. His value is intrinsic, not a utilitarian calculation that weighs the costs with the benefits. Such a belief used to be commonplace in our culture.

Tragically, the cultural consensus is gone. Just ask Natalie Weaver, mother of 9-year-old Sophia. Sophia, because of a neurological disorder called Rett syndrome, has deformities in her face, hands, and feet. She has no motor control and cannot talk, and she lives with a colostomy bag and a feeding tube. Yet Natalie Weaver proudly calls her daughter strong and happy, despite the difficulties she lives with every single day.

Many academics, media personalities, medical professionals, and internet trolls, however, think Sophia is worthy of death, not worth the money that's needed to keep her alive. Some extremely cruel commenters on Twitter, for example, recently said that Sophia is proof of the need for abortion, even child murder. Weaver says, "I get people telling me to kill my child, to put her out of her misery."

For many, many families, caring for special-needs children is extremely difficult – sleepless nights, exhausting days, endless physical and emotional challenges, and the loss of dreams for a "perfect home" or an "ideal family."

Sophia has had 22 surgeries so far – think how tough that would be to watch your child endure that. And, of course, not every family – or mom – is as courageous, loving, or amazing as Natalie.

And it's exactly here where God is calling His people to step in. We can champion the dignity of every life in both word and deed, the cute and not-so-cute, at both lovely and unlovely moments, as parents and sibling and families, and as church communities. We can support, pray, love, care, and otherwise live as if every life matters. Because, of course, it does.

A New Gerber Baby:  An Image Bearer with Down Syndrome

Kudos to Gerber for demonstrating that every life matters. Christians recognize this because every life is made in God's image. There are many challenges for children with disabilities and their parents/caregivers. We can support them through prayer for physical, spiritual, and emotional strength, and also by hands-on help offered in the name of Christ.

Published with permission from BreakPoint.

Featured Image
Chuck W Walker /
Gerard V. Bradley

Opinion, ,

Notre Dame swallows the pill

Gerard V. Bradley
By Gerard Bradley

February 20, 2018 (The Public Discourse) – As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI's prophetic affirmation (in Humanae vitae) of the Church's perennial teaching that contraception is always morally wrong, it is perhaps fitting that contraception, notwithstanding its widespread acceptance even among Catholics, is much in the news. The news has mainly had to do with the Trump administration's courageous decision to nullify the Obamacare "contraception" mandate, at least for those employers who conscientiously object to being made providers of drugs and devices including abortifacients, as well as the Pill, IUDs, and other simple contraceptives.

The administration's new regulations provide a total exemption from any legal duty to pay for these drugs and devices or even to facilitate their use in a remote way. My employer, the University of Notre Dame, is eligible to take that exemption. In fact, along with many other religious institutions, Notre Dame sued the United States several years ago to secure precisely that relief. And note well: these institutions sued for total exemption, even though they were already beneficiaries of an Obama-era "accommodation" that relieved them of any duty to directly fund or distribute contraception or abortifacients.

In its lawsuit, Notre Dame cited chapter and verse of Church teaching. Its pleadings and supporting papers amounted to a sound, and at times moving, argument that it would betray the faith if it were to accept even the watered-down involvement of the "accommodation." The University said, basically, that, to remain faithful to its beliefs, it could not be involved in any way whatsoever with a process designed to provide contraceptives to its employees, its students, or their dependents. Just so.

Yet, in spite of its sworn declarations that Catholic faith precludes doing so, the University announced in late 2017 that it would decline the proffered exemption and instead stay the course prescribed to it by the Obama administration. This decision surprised many observers (though, truth be told, not this one). Notre Dame's choice came under withering public criticism, on and off campus, from (among others) the University Faculty for Life and the Sycamore Trust, an alumni group dedicated chiefly to encouraging Our Lady's University to live up to its stated Catholic mission.

On February 7, the University changed course yet again. In a letter to the entire campus community, President John Jenkins, CSC, announced new "steps based on Catholic principles that nevertheless provide access to some of the coverage that members of our community seek." In one "step" Notre Dame rightly repudiated any role in providing abortifacients (such as Plan B and ella) for, as Fr. Jenkins wrote, these things destroy "an innocent human life."

Sadly, however, Fr. Jenkins chose to go all-in on contraceptives. He wrote: "the University will provide coverage in the University's own insurance plans for simple contraceptives (i.e., drugs designed to prevent conception)." This "step" is really a giant leap into immorality. Under the Obama administration's "accommodation," Notre Dame did not directly fund contraception and was only peripherally involved in providing access to it. Now the University is to be sole funder and proprietor of a contraception giveaway, with only the logistics of it delegated by Notre Dame to its plan administrators. What it solemnly declared for years to be morally impossible is, suddenly, the substance of Notre Dame's free choice.

Many on campus will congratulate Fr. Jenkins for a wise and even Solomonic decision. Many others will disagree, in silence. But there can be no doubt that Notre Dame, according to its own sworn declarations, has betrayed the Catholic faith. Fr. Jenkins and all others involved in making this fateful, gravely wrong choice should be rebuked. One expects that, now, the local bishop will have no choice but to publicly do so. Leave aside the prospect that anything Bishop Rhoades could do or say would cause Notre Dame yet again to change course. His duty to protect all the faithful in his care from this grave scandal will compel him to speak out.

Fr. Jenkins's announcement is, however, worse than all that. The harm to so many persons' minds, bodies, and souls unleashed by Notre Dame's embrace of contraception is great, and perhaps incalculable. But, in the course of rationalizing his decision, Fr. Jenkins supplied a primer about how Catholics should make all sorts of morally important decisions that is not only mistaken, but catastrophic for the moral life.

Here is the relevant part of Fr. Jenkins's announcement. First, he affirmed that contraception is "contrary to Catholic teaching." But then he observed that "many [people on campus] conscientiously disagree with this particular teaching." Fr. Jenkins wrote that Notre Dame "must be unwavering in our fidelity to our Catholic mission at Notre Dame, while we recognize that among the values in our Catholic tradition is a respect for other religious traditions and the conscientious decisions of members of our community." He stated that a "tension exists between establishing policies in accord with Catholic teaching and respecting the religious traditions and decisions of the many members of our community." This "tension" is particularly acute when it comes to healthcare. Fr. Jenkins also noted that, several years after submitting to the Obama accommodation, "some of those enrolled in our health plans – an increasingly diverse group – have come to rely on access to contraceptives through enrollment in our plans." Ergo, according to the university president, Notre Dame will become a contraceptives distributor.

The grave and potentially disastrous error in Fr. Jenkins's reasoning is that nothing in it has the slightest tendency to morally justify helping others – even people we respect deeply – to do what is morally wrong, even if they happen to believe otherwise. Our moral duty to respect others' choices does not have anything to do with giving them the means to do evil. If the person working next to you shares his plan to, say, patronize a prostitute, it would be wrong to give him the cash to pay for it. There may be nothing you can do to stop a friend whom you generally respect from entering an adulterous relationship or from cooking the books of his small business. But surely one is morally bound not to give him the keys to one's apartment for his assignations or to file a false tax return for him. Indeed, everything that Fr. Jenkins says about the campus community's attitudes toward contraception would apply almost equally to abortifacients. Yet even he recognizes that paying for Plan B or ella would be wrong, no matter how much we might respect those who would take those drugs. The only reason Fr. Jenkins reversed course on February 7 was to eliminate the modest role Notre Dame played, per the Obamacare "accommodation," in facilitating access to abortifacients. By that same measure of how much complicity in others' immoral choices is too much, Notre Dame is much more obviously guilty of contraception than ever before.

In truth, one should not respect another's specific immoral choice at all. Everyone's immoral choices should be regretted, and their repetition discouraged, and their occurrences criticized appropriately. The word "respect" hardly leaps to mind to describe that complex of morally required responses. One can and should in general nonetheless respect the person whose immoral choice it is. Beyond that, speaking of "respecting" others' immoral choices has to do with the moral and prudential limits on what one may, and may not, do to stop, or just to interfere in, their wrongdoing. Your adult brother might regularly use his laptop to access pornography. Anyone who respects him should remonstrate with him about his bad habit and dissuade him as best one can. It would be wrong, of course, out of "respect" to give him the web addresses where the sordid stuff he fancies can easily be found. But it would ordinarily be wrong, too, to take his laptop and throw it away. It would surely be wrong to lock him in his bedroom until he promised to stop.

As a matter of fact, Notre Dame's practice until just a few years ago exhibited all the "respect" possibly due to those who want to contracept. Notre Dame rightly did nothing to make that immoral practice easier or cheaper. At the same time, Notre Dame did not discriminate in the workplace against those who chose to contracept. The University left everyone alone, if you will, to do as he or she wished in private.

The crucial mistake in Fr. Jenkins's rationalization is to use the hazy fog generated by a sonorous phrase – "respecting" others – to cover up what he is really doing, which is to violate in and by his own deed the moral truth that he seems to affirm (that contraception is immoral). The central truth of the moral life is that everyone is invariably morally responsible for his or her own actions, no matter what others are doing or not doing. Neither Fr. Jenkins (nor I nor you) is permitted, much less obliged, by "respect" for any other persons to choose to aid their immoral plans, because doing so makes Fr. Jenkins (or me or you) guilty of that same immorality – just as Notre Dame itself alleged under oath in its lawsuit over the course of several years. Thus Fr. Jenkins has most regrettably muddied what it means to say that any norm of morality is, simply, true.

That Fr. Jenkins chose the other day to wrap his gross disservice to all who read his words in expressly Catholic refinements is especially scandalous. He wrote, earnestly, that this situation is one that demands discernment – something to which Pope Francis has called the Church in his various writings and addresses. Discernment, which has a long history in the Catholic spiritual tradition, is, of course, a process of weighing thoughtfully considerations for and against various courses of action. Yet it also demands prayerful attention to God's guidance through the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

But the Holy Spirit is not a consequentialist. God does not want us to weigh up pros and cons of adhering to the moral truth. And the greatest respect we can show others is to bear faithful witness to that truth.

Gerard V. Bradley is Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School and a Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute, where he is Chair of the Academic Committee of the Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution.

Published with permission from The Public Discourse.

Featured Image
Ryan T. Anderson

Opinion, , ,

Parents denied custody of child for refusing support of transgenderism: here’s what you need to know

Ryan T. Anderson
By Ryan Anderson

February 19, 2018 (The Public Discourse) – Parents in Ohio lost custody of their 17-year-old daughter Friday because a judge ruled that she should be allowed to receive therapy, including testosterone therapy, to identify as a boy.

Without commenting on the specifics of this case just outside Cincinnati, Americans can expect to see more cases like it as government officials side with transgender activists to promote a radical view of the human person and endorse entirely experimental medical procedures. At stake are not only parental rights, but the well-being of children who suffer from gender dysphoria.

Here’s what you need to know.

Transgender activists maintain that when a child identifies as the opposite sex in a manner that is “consistent, persistent, and insistent,” the appropriate response is to support that identification. This requires a four-part protocol, as I painstakingly detail in my new book, “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment”:

First, a social transition: giving the child a new wardrobe, a new name, new pronouns, and generally treating the child as if he or she were the opposite sex.

Second, a child approaching puberty will be placed on puberty blockers to prevent the normal process of maturation and development. This means there will be no progression of the pubertal stage, and a regression of sex characteristics that have already developed. Puberty-blocking drugs are not FDA approved for gender dysphoria, but physicians use them off-label for this purpose.

Third, around age 16, comes the administration of cross-sex hormones: Boys will be given feminizing hormones such as estrogen, and girls will be given masculinizing hormones such as androgens (testosterone). The purpose is to mimic the process of puberty that would occur in the opposite sex.

For girls, testosterone treatment leads to “a low voice, facial and body hair growth, and a more masculine body shape,” along with enlargement of the clitoris and atrophying of the breast tissue. For boys, estrogen treatment results in development of breasts and a body shape with a female appearance. These patients will be prescribed cross-sex hormones throughout their lives.

Finally, at age 18, these individuals may undergo sex-reassignment surgery: amputation of primary and secondary sex characteristics and plastic surgery to create new sex characteristics.

To summarize these procedures (described in detail in my book “When Harry Became Sally”): Male-to-female surgery involves removing the testes and constructing “female-looking external genitals.” It may include breast enlargement if estrogen therapy has not produced satisfactory growth of breasts.

Female-to-male surgery often begins with mastectomy. The uterus and ovaries are often removed as well. Some patients will undergo phalloplasty, the surgical construction of a penis, but many do not because the results are variable in quality and functionality.

This four-stage course of treatment is the current standard of care promoted by transgender activists. But the ages for each phase to commence are getting lower. In July 2016, The Guardian reported that “a doctor in Wales is prescribing cross-sex hormones to children as young as 12 who say they want to change sex, arguing that if they are confident of their gender identity they should not have to wait until 16 to get the treatment.”

No laws in the United States prohibit the use of puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones for children, or regulate the age at which they may be administered.

Activists claim that the effects of blocking puberty with drugs are fully reversible. This turns things upside down, for virtually every part of the body undergoes significant development in sex-specific ways during puberty, and going through the process at age 18 can’t reverse 10 years of blocking it. The use of puberty-blocking drugs to treat children with gender dysphoria is entirely experimental, as there are no long-term studies on the consequences of interfering with biological development.

Activists claim that blocking puberty allows children “more time to explore their gender identity, without the distress of the developing secondary sex characteristics,” as the Dutch doctors who pioneered this treatment put it.

Another Perspective

This is an odd argument, write three American researchers, all physicians.

“It presumes that natural sex characteristics interfere with the ‘exploration’ of gender identity,” Drs. Paul Hruz, Lawrence Mayer, and Paul McHugh note, “when one would expect that the development of natural sex characteristics might contribute to the natural consolidation of one’s gender identity.”

The rush of sex hormones and the bodily development that happens during puberty may be the very things that help an adolescent come to identify with his or her biological sex. Puberty blockers interfere with this process.

Normally, 80 to 95 percent of children will naturally grow out of any gender-identity conflicted stage. But every one of the children placed on puberty blockers in the Dutch clinic persisted in a transgender identity, and they generally went on to begin cross-sex hormone treatment at around age 16.

Perhaps the Dutch doctors correctly identified the kids who naturally would persist in a transgender identity, but it’s more likely that the puberty blockers reinforced their cross-gender identification, making them more committed to taking further steps in sex reassignment.

Contrary to the claims of activists, sex isn’t “assigned” at birth – and that’s why it can’t be “reassigned.” As I explain in “When Harry Became Sally,” sex is a bodily reality that can be recognized well before birth with ultrasound imaging. The sex of an organism is defined and identified by its organization for sexual reproduction.

Modern science shows that this organization begins with our DNA and development in the womb, and that sex differences manifest themselves in many bodily systems and organs, all the way down to the molecular level.

Secondary differences between the two sexes – attributes that may be visibly altered by hormone treatment and surgery – are not what make us male or female. As a result, cosmetic surgery and cross-sex hormones don’t change the deeper biological reality. People who undergo sex-reassignment procedures do not become the opposite sex, they merely masculinize or feminize their outward appearance.

As the philosopher Robert P. George puts it, “Changing sexes is a metaphysical impossibility because it is a biological impossibility.”

What the Evidence Shows

Sadly, just as “sex reassignment” fails to reassign sex biologically, it also fails to bring wholeness psychologically. The medical evidence suggests that it does not adequately address the mental health problems suffered by those who identify as transgender.

Even when the procedures are successful technically and cosmetically, and even in cultures that are relatively “trans-friendly,” people still face poor psychological outcomes.

Notwithstanding the media hype over supposed differences in brain structure, no solid scientific evidence exists that transgender identities are innate or biologically determined, and some evidence shows that other factors are most likely involved. But in truth, very little is understood about the causes of discordant gender identities.

Starting a young child on a process of “social transitioning” followed by puberty-blocking drugs was virtually unthinkable not long ago, and the treatment is still experimental. Unfortunately, many activists have given up on caution, let alone skepticism, about drastic treatments.

A more cautious therapeutic approach begins by acknowledging that the vast majority of children with gender dysphoria will grow out of it naturally. An effective therapy looks into the reasons for the child’s mistaken beliefs about gender, and addresses the problems that the child believes will be solved if the body is altered.

As I document in “When Harry Became Sally,” mental health professionals liken gender dysphoria to other dysphorias, or serious discomfort with one’s body, such as anorexia, body dysmorphic disorder, and body integrity identity disorder. All of these involve false assumptions or feelings that solidify into mistaken beliefs about the self.

McHugh finds that other psychosocial issues usually lie beneath the false assumptions. Children with gender dysphoria may have  anxieties about “the prospects, expectations, and roles that they sense are attached to their given sex.”

Much like patients with anorexia nervosa, these children mistakenly believe that a drastic change of their bodies will solve or minimize their psychosocial problems. But adjusting the body through hormones and surgery doesn’t fix the real problem, any more than liposuction cures anorexia nervosa.

A Different Message

An effective treatment strategy would “strive to correct the false, problematic nature of the assumption and to resolve the psychosocial conflicts provoking it,” McHugh says. In the case of gender dysphoria, unfortunately, the mistaken belief is often encouraged by school counselors who, “rather like cult leaders, may encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery.”

What these young people need, McHugh advises, is to be removed from this “suggestive environment” and be presented with a different message.

The proliferation of gender clinics in America and gender identity programs in the schools makes it less likely that children will get the help they need to work out their issues. Instead, these children find “gender counselors” who encourage them to maintain their false assumptions.

This is contrary to standard medical and psychological practice, as McHugh, Hruz, and Mayer emphasize. Normally, a child is not encouraged to persist in a belief that is discordant with reality. A traditional form of treatment for gender dysphoria would “work with and not against the facts of science and the predictable rhythms of children’s psycho-sexual development.” A prudent and natural course of treatment would enable children to “reconcile their subjective gender identity with their objective biological sex,” avoiding harmful or irreversible interventions.

The most helpful therapies do not try to remake the body to conform with thoughts and feelings – which is impossible – but rather to help people find healthy ways to manage this tension and move toward accepting the reality of their bodily selves. This therapeutic approach rests on a sound understanding of physical and mental health, and of medicine as a practice aimed at restoring healthy functioning, not simply satisfying the desires of patients.

Biology isn’t bigotry. And as I explain in “When Harry Became Sally,” there are human costs to getting human nature wrong.

Published with permission from The Public Discourse.

Featured Image
Kristi Burton Brown


Two-time Olympian Miki Ando: ‘I have chosen the baby’s life over skating’

Kristi Burton Brown
By Kristi Burton Brown
Miki Ando in a professional figure skating event. (Photo credit: Miki Ando’s Facebook page)
Himawari, Miki Ando’s daughter (Photo credit: Miki Ando’s Facebook page)
Javier Fernandez with Miki Ando’s daughter, Himawari (Photo credit: Miki Ando’s Facebook page)
Javier Fernandez, Miki Ando, and Miki’s daughter, Himawari pose for a family shadow picture. (Photo credit: Miki Ando’s Facebook page)

February 20, 2018 (Live Action News) – Japanese figure skating champion Miki Ando isn’t skating her own routine in PyeongChang, but she has had plenty of reason to cheer. Her boyfriend, Javier Fernandez, won the broze medal in the mens’ figure skating competition, becoming the first man from Spain to win a figure skating medal at the Olympics. Fernandez, a two-time World Champion, was pitted against 2014 Olympic gold medalist, Yuzuru Hanyu, who is also his friend and training partner.

Described as “insanely talented,” Miki Ando had her own Olympic moments in Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010, where she placed just off the podium in fifth place. While she did not win an Olympic medal, Miki was known for being the first – and only – woman to successfully land a quadruple jump in competition. A three-time Japanese national champion and two-time World champion – who once bested South Korean Olympic gold medalist Yuna Kim – Miki is a one of those early and brave pioneers who led Japan into its modern, enthusiastic love of figure skating. For the PyeongChang Olympics, Miki was part of the Olympic torch relay for Japan.

But few know why Miki Ando is truly brave.

Motherhood: Making an Olympian Brave

In late 2012, an unexpected day came in the 25-year-old figure skating champion’s life: the day she realized she was pregnant. Miko had been skating and competing successfully for months, not realizing that her daughter was growing beneath the sparkly designer costumes. When Miki discovered her daughter’s presence, she was five months pregnant.

Japanese news sites report that abortion was a consideration for Miki, who was already preparing for a third Olympics – the 2014 Games in Sochi. But Miki could not bring herself to take her daughter’s life, not for figure skating and not for her reputation. Once her pregnancy became known, the skater was reprimanded by the public and derided as a bad example. Miki says, “Honestly, 98 percent of the people said it was so bad.”

Yet, Miki’s strength was not limited to her quadruple jumps. It extended to her mother’s heart, and Miki stood firmly in her tiny daughter’s corner.

Choosing the Baby’s Life: “It was a decision I made naturally as a woman.”

Miki Ando explained how she chose her daughter:

Skating is something indispensable that has brought me up to where I am. I could not make up my mind all the way, but I hated to make a decision to say goodbye (to the baby).

I have chosen the baby’s life over skating. It was a decision I made naturally as a woman.

Miki named her daughter Himawari, which means “sunflower.” She explained, “A sunflower follows the sun all the time. … [W]hen I see a sunflower…I feel strong and so positive. If my baby were to be a sunflower, I wanted her to follow a lot of love like a sunflower.” And according to The Japan Times, Miki Ando now “looks to be more popular than ever.” She is a TV personality in her native country, as well as a skating coach. She also continues to skate in professional figure skating events, saying, “I am a figure skater for life.”

Strength from Javier Fernandez: “He really changed my life.”

Miki credits Javier Fernandez for giving her strength to make healthy life choices after the birth of her daughter, and it seems that the man who just won a 2018 Olympic bronze medal also deserves a medal for exemplary fatherhood, as he, too, has embraced Miki’s daughter with love. Miki Ando said:

For him to be with me was probably a hard decision for him, because I have a baby and we are far away. … He came to me and asked if we could try to work it out to be together, and I was so happy… We posted a picture as a family. … He really changed my life.

“She’s a mom AND she’s a legendary figure skater.”

Miki returned to figure skating after her daughter’s birth, but she retired from competitive skating prior to the 2014 Olympics. No one knows if she would have been able to compete if she had aborted Himawari instead of giving birth to her. Qualifying for multiple Olympic Games is a feat few women attain in figure skating, and Miki had already competed in two. Prior to becoming pregnant with her daughter, Miki had been struggling with burnout and some injuries.

Regardless, this Olympic skater is a powerful example in a world that tells women success and children are pitted as polar opposites. Miki Ando has come into her own as a successful Japanese media figure, a coach, and a professional figure skater. She did not need an Olympic medal to do that. She did, however, need her daughter.

A Japanese site, Famous and Popular Japan, reported that Miki said “that although it was tiring dividing her time between training and motherhood, seeing her daughter’s face made her want to do her best.” Another site reported, “[S]he’s a mom AND she’s a legendary figure skater. Deal with it.” Miki takes Himawari with her to her skating events, and when she travels for other work, Miki’s mother watches the little girl back home.

While success with children may look different than success without them, the deceptive message that women must choose between them is harmful. No one is guaranteed the successes they most covet – no matter how much or who they sacrifice in the name of the success they crave.

Miki said: “Skating is really important to me, but I started thinking that after I stop skating, it will be a longer life. … I think it was destiny to have a baby…”

Miki Ando is an Olympian who proves children are worth choosing. And sometimes the success we never imagined for ourselves is the success we actually needed…and, simply put, there’s no reason to kill a child to achieve it. Children are never a barrier to the things that matter most in life. Little Himawari and her brave mother, Miki Ando, prove it.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

Featured Image
Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter


Religion shouldn’t be reduced to nothing but symbolism. Here’s why

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

February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – For some time it has been fashionable, especially in academic circles, to maintain that religious doctrines and rituals may ultimately be reduced to a set of basic symbols and symbolic actions that are held to be universal and interchangeable among all religions—an underlying language of the divine.

This sophisticated reductionism maintains that all religions and their holy writings represent, at bottom, the human imagination’s (more or less successful) attempt to come to grips with unfathomable cosmic mysteries. To this way of thinking, religion is a thing produced out of man’s own mind, expressing his own thoughts and desires. Hence, one may not judge religion to be true or false, or say that this religion is true or truer than that one; they are all just different symbolic systems.

Before I reply to this claim, it seems necessary to insist on a point that would once have been obvious: the Catholic Faith is not hostile to symbols and symbolic actions, but has, on the contrary, always made a broad and constant use of them. Until the questionable liturgical reforms of the twentieth century, which tended to be accompanied by a modernist and minimalist aesthetic that elevated verbal and cerebral content over more intuitive, subconscious, visceral expressions of the sacred, Catholic worship had always been a veritable pageant of symbols, which spilled over into daily life. Fortunately, much of this lost dimension is being rediscovered by younger generations who are hungry for the meaning that only such a rich panoply of spiritually-charged signs can give access to.

Examples of Catholic symbols are everywhere to hand: the water and oil of baptism, the bread and wine of the Eucharist, the candles and flowers on the altar, the oil used for anointings, the rings exchanged with the matrimonial vows, the evergreen Advent wreath and Christmas tree, colorful Easter eggs. Whenever and wherever it flourishes, Christian culture bursts over with sensual symbols of heavenly realities, outward signs of invisible grace and truth. At the very heart of our worship stand the seven Sacraments, which are perceptible signs imbued by God with the astonishing power to confer upon the recipient the very grace they signify.

Consequently, not only is the Catholic Church not an enemy of symbolism, she is a lush garden in which symbols thrive with a greater richness and variety than in the most dazzling poetry of the human imagination or the most developed rites of pagan religions. If ever there were a religion that speaks to the imagination as well as to the intellect—or rather, which speaks to the intellect by means of the imagination—it would surely be the Catholic Faith. Those who are thirsting for the sacred, who would see and hear the sublime mysteries of the cosmos and of the supernatural world, could do no better than to attend a traditional Latin High Mass (the so-called Extraordinary Form or usus antiquior). There they will see creation gathered up and offered in a sacrifice of praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the transcendent God whose word established the heavens and the earth and all that is in them.

But let us return to the claim that religion is nothing but symbolism. Once you explain the “inner meaning” of the “external symbols,” you will have shown (according to this view) what Catholicism has in common with other religions, and then you have disproved its claim to be the unique way of salvation.

A prominent supporter of this line of argument, or at least one whose ideas are often brought forward in support of it, is the psychoanalytic pioneer C. G. Jung, who developed a school of analyzing religious symbols and the contents of dreams as pre-existent archetypes with which the human mind is naturally equipped and through which it comes to grips with reality—a sort of natural religious language that can be tapped into, channeled, and shaped for the psychic health of the organism.

There is some truth to Jung’s approach. Religious language is natural to man, in the sense that it is natural to the human person to turn to God and seek Him out; there is planted in everyone’s heart a natural desire for knowledge of the deity and a natural attitude of reverence towards what is perceived as holy or sacred. At least in its uncontaminated purity, conscience gives expression to the moral law implanted in the heart, which is planted there by God. Moreover, psychological health does depend on being aware of this fundamental orientation to the divine, not only accepting it but cultivating it, following it where it leads, and never accepting half-truths but always searching for the fullness of truth. Anything less than the full truth is unworthy of man and will be instead a source of emptiness, confusion, and frustration.

Nevertheless, one must tirelessly point out that all religions cannot be equally true, not even the ones that are most ancient and most widespread, for they offer incompatible accounts of the ultimate realities—for example, of the nature of God, the source and goal of human life, the sinfulness and salvation of man, the value (and even the reality) of the body, the meaning of suffering and death, and the like. One’s heart cannot be at rest until one has discovered a coherent and satisfying set of answers to the most fundamental questions, and has seen that other possible answers are false or faulty. There is no such thing as “religion” in general; there is this definite religion and that. One must choose.

The Catholic Faith proffers facts of revelation, facts of the life of Jesus Christ and His saints—facts that have to be accepted or rejected. It is a religion based not on universal or generic symbols but on specific and decisive interventions of God in history, interventions which endow things not only with an outward symbolic meaning but with an inner transformative power.

Similarities at the level of symbolism, at times even remarkable similarities, indicate that it is impossible for all religions to be altogether false; all of them have “picked up on” one or another aspect of reality and are giving expression to their insights. The question, then, is precisely this: which religion is true, that is, which one offers the true account of reality as a whole—of man and God and their relationship?

Not surprisingly, this religion’s symbols will also be the truest, the most accurate, the most profound, the most all-encompassing; but that is because they give expression to something still more elementary, more fundamental, than symbols—namely, the realities of which the symbols are symbols. In the final analysis, one cannot have symbols suspended over nothingness. There must be doctrine, there must be a definite teaching that the symbols represent and enshrine; there must, in short, be a creed.

People in our modern world need to be reminded that there is not, has never been, and will never be someone who lives without a creed. Everyone has a creed, a system of beliefs accepted on trust, a “philosophy of life” that could, at least in theory, be articulated in propositional form. Religion is inherently doctrinal and moral, or it does not exist at all. The only valid question is: Does a man have a defensible creed or a ridiculous creed; a good way of life, or an evil way of life? Are the symbols he lives by dense and profound, or scattered and superficial?

It is good to get around the rationalist fallacy that there is such a thing as a person without religion, or a religion without doctrine. In the end, every man is religious, after his fashion, just as every religion is doctrinal, after its fashion. There are only two sorts of people: the genuinely religious and the superstitious or idolatrous. The possession and appreciation of symbols does not play the chief role in distinguishing them from each other.

Featured Image
Liberty Counsel

The Pulse,

New York abortionist in court: Protesters, go away, because ‘taking life’ empowers women

Liberty Counsel

February 20, 2018 (Liberty Counsel) – Merle Hoffman, president and CEO of Choices Women's Medical Clinic (Choices) in Jamaica, New York, who was questioned under oath yesterday by Liberty Counsel, has said that the "act of abortion positions women at their most powerful" because abortion gives women "power – and the responsibility – of taking life" so that they may control their own lives. "Merle Hoffman has acknowledged the obvious – that abortion is the taking of human life. What is shocking is that she believes killing a helpless child empowers women by enabling them to achieve their selfish goals," said Mat Staver.

In court, Hoffman admitted she collaborated with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to bring this frivolous federal lawsuit seeking to punish and silence pro-life and Christian speech on public sidewalks outside of her facility. Their "mere existence," she said, is a "crime against women." The case is being heard in a federal court in Brooklyn and resumed this week.

Liberty Counsel represents one of the 13 defendants, Scott Fitchett, Jr., a pre-K teacher who has spent Saturdays peacefully sharing the gospel on public sidewalks wherever he goes, including outside Choices.

Hoffman's abortion facility has performed hundreds of thousands of abortions since 1971. During the hearing this week, the abortionist millionaire testified that peaceful sidewalk counselors are the "American Taliban" and that "their mere existence is a crime against women."

In Hoffman's memoir, Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Boardroom, she shares the experience of her own abortion. "The idea of abortion was a valve, an opening, a way to breathe. There was no question of whether I would have one. As we crossed the Fifty-Ninth Street Bridge, I held my stomach and said aloud, 'Sorry little one, it's just not time.' My diary entry from that night reads, 'For one night I am a mother'" (emphasis added).

Hoffman further states in Intimate Wars that abortion is the taking of human life, and that is why it makes women so powerful. "Does the fetus not impede a woman's tendency to maintain her own existence?  Is it not an unjust aggressor, threatening the survival of the mother? Is not a woman's choice of abortion an act of self-defense?... I wasn't immune to the physicality of abortion, the blood, tissue, and observable body parts. My political and moral judgments on the nature of abortion evolved throughout the years, but I quickly came to realize that those who deliver abortion services have not only the power to give women control over their bodies and lives, but also the power-and the responsibility-of taking life in order to do that. Indeed, acknowledgment of that truth is the foundation for all the political and personal work necessary to maintain women's reproductive freedom…The act of abortion positions women at their most powerful, and that is why it is so strongly opposed by many in society. Historically viewed as and conditioned to be passive, dependent creatures, victims of biological circumstance, women often find it difficult to embrace this power over life and death. They fall prey to the assumption, the myth, that they cannot be trusted with it" (emphasis added).

Published with permission from Liberty Counsel.

Featured Image
Wesley J. Smith

The Pulse,

Non-voluntary euthanasia, organ harvesting: Coming soon?

Wesley J. Smith
By Wesley Smith

February 20, 2018 (NRO) – It is legal in the Netherlands for doctors and psychiatrists to lethally inject the sick, disabled, elderly, and mentally ill who ask to die.

It is not legal for them to kill patients who have not repeatedly asked to die.

But that happens anyway, and not rarely. Various studies come up with different numbers, but it seems safe to say that hundreds of patients – 431 in 2015 – are killed each year non-voluntarily, which in Dutch euthanasia-speak is called "termination without request or consent."

Technically, that's murder under Dutch law, but so what? I know of no case in which any meaningful sanction was imposed on a doctor who killed a patient without consent.

And now, in 2020 the Dutch are going to institute a "presumed consent" law, meaning that everyone is legally an organ "donor" unless they explicitly opt out. From the story:

The Dutch senate on Tuesday narrowly voted in favour of a new law to change the Dutch organ donation system to a 'yes unless' register. The new system will apply to everyone over the age of 18 and registered as resident in the Netherlands with their local authority, including foreign nationals.

The government plans to send letters to people with options they want regarding donation. Silence will be considered consent.

So, that means a patient could very conceivably be both killed and harvested without having requested it.

Oh Wesley! You alarmist! You slippery slope hysteric! That will never happen.

Right. That's what my critics also said when I predicted in 1993 that legalizing euthanasia/assisted suicide would eventually lead to conjoined killing and harvesting "as a plum to society."

For those with eyes to see, let them see.

Published with permission from National Review Online.

Featured Image

The Pulse, ,

On day one, new Irish bishop comes out strong for the unborn


February 20, 2018 (SPUC) – The new bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora used his installation mass on Sunday, February 11 to deliver a strongly pro-life message ahead of the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

Bishop Brendon Kelly, addressing a packed Galway Cathedral on World Day of the Sick, expressed concern that "human life from its tiniest origins" might be forgotten. He highlighted the plight of lives "in their weakness and innocence" which are under threat, and stressed the "immense dignity, respect and reverence that is due to every living person, regardless of ability, health, colour, size, nationality or otherwise."

Gift of Life

After the Mass, Bishop Kelly told the Irish Independent that he planned on prioritizing the preaching of the Gospel of Life ahead of the upcoming vote.  He added that his stance on abortion had nothing to do with a mistrust of women. "Without all the women in my life, where would I be or any of us? I am so grateful to my mother for giving me life and so grateful she gave life to eight other children," he said.

Abortion always evil

Several other Irish bishops have urged respect for human life since the referendum was announced. "The innate dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death, is a value for the whole of society, rooted in reason as well as in faith," said Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, the Primate of All Ireland, in a recent pastoral message.  "The Catholic Church, in common with other people of goodwill, teaches that ending the life of an unborn child, like the taking of any other innocent human life, is always evil and can never be justified."

Reprinted with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

Print All Articles
View specific date